A Toronto couple have revealed that they are raising their third child as ‘genderless’ in order to allow the baby to decide on its own gender.
Kathy Witterick and David Stocker, who already have two sons aged five and two, say four-month-old Storm should be allowed to decide his/her gender when he/she grows up.
Only the couple, their sons, a family friend and two midwives present at Storm’s birth know whether the baby is a boy or a girl, the Toronto Star reports. There is no ambiguity over the baby’s genitals.
They have faced criticism from family, friends and child psychologists who say that Storm is being treated as an experiment and his/her brothers are too young to be able to keep the secret.
After Storm’s birth, the couple sent an email to family and friends: “We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now – a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place? …).”
Their sons, Jazz, five, and Kio, two, are encouraged to make their own decisions. The boys, who like to have long hair and wear dresses, are often mistaken for girls.
They are “unschooled” – a movement of homeschooling which allows children to plan their own days without tests or homework.
The couple decided to bring up Storm without a gender after Jazz suffered an “intense” time over people’s reaction to his appearance.
Their decision was reinforced after Mr Stocker read the 1978 book X: A Fabulous Child’s Story about a child with no gender who rises above bullying.
Mrs Witterick, currently a full-time mother, told the newspaper: “When the baby comes out, even the people who love you the most and know you so intimately, the first question they ask is, ‘Is it a girl or a boy?’”
Mr Stocker, a teacher, said: “If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs.”