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Toronto parents raise ‘genderless’ baby

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  1. Jazz, Kio and Storm!. Sound like a pair of “right-ons” to me and they really should try and understand the upset and hurt they may end up causing their children in the future instead of some whacked out experiment. Poor kids.

    1. HelenWilson 25 May 2011, 9:38am

      How do you damage the kid by leaving all option open?

      The child will become aware of the gender it is between the ages of 4 & 6 like any other child as brain development opens up that particular aspect of them. No amount of blue, pink, dolls, guns or labels attached to him/her will change how the level of testosterone effected the child’s brain development in the second trimester of pregnancy that determines the brains gender in the hypothalamus.

      1. It’s a child – not an experiement. Do you have kids Helen?

        By all means bring up your children and let them be who they are but don’t place them in a potentially damaging situation. It’s cruel and I have to question the parents movitivations.

        Also, It’s not about pink/blue items. Place less emphasis on gender roles by all means but don’t treat your child as an ‘it’.

      2. It’s not the leaving all options open that bothers me – that’s a very good thing. I just don’t see why it’s necessary to conceal the child’s sex at all.

  2. martyn notman 24 May 2011, 2:11pm

    WHAT??? i suppose its not allowed to look at its genitals until its made a rational adult decision then? This is just madness, by all means instill in your kids that they can be who they want to be but calling your kid “it” until they reach the age they can decide for themselves is just loony.

    1. Julian Morrison 24 May 2011, 5:22pm

      No, the parents are not hiding the child’s sex from the child. Only from other adults.

  3. Paddyswurds 24 May 2011, 2:36pm

    Where is child protection in Canada or do they not know about these two looneys. There is nothing “right on” about this madness. I can agree vwith not pushing the pink blue or masculine feminine toys thing ok, but to call a child an “it” is plain madness.
    And this “unschooling” thing. Watch that space in 12 or 15 years . Three very fcuked up children unless someone does something rational soon.

    1. Ever read the book “Delusions of gender”? Things like that have already been tried, and failed. The process of socializing into a gender will take place, not by adults, but by children, and more heavily than the parents can imagine by now. Using “it” is failing in relationship. “My child” at least would tell the infant that there IS a relationship. If a genectic male child wants to play dolls, well why not? And the other way round. Let them dress the way they want. They WILL very quickly decide about what they feel like. Or adapt to social pressure. And if ever a child refuses to be called of it’s genetic gender, or simply feels inbetween, well, than there is another problem: TRANSgender. But you can’t “produce” a transgender person! They should let their child decide what it is, and that will be a decision falling very very soon.

  4. I find the previous comments interesting.
    Gender is a role in society.
    A person’s sex is determined at birth but can be changed.
    Gender (in the original meaning of the word) is a societal expectation of how a male or female should act.
    I have no problem with what this couple are doing.

    1. Eddy - from 2007 24 May 2011, 9:05pm

      Well said, Ian.
      These two parents have the courage of their convictions and they are right. Of course, there will be “intense” times for this child in future, but all children have “intense” times. I know parents here in the UK who have stuck their necks out and encouraged their children from birth not to be homophobic. It’s much the same sort of thing. Going against the grain, rather than “going with the flow”, can cause difficulties because of other people’s expectations but in the end it can make for stronger and wiser human beings.

  5. The real problem I have here is with society and why should parents bow down to what society tells them they should do. Admittedly they might get bullied but surely people get bullied for all sorts of things and I think/hope it won’t turn out to badly.

    1. The problem is that this child has to function in the very society you are talking about so are his/her parents really helping this child?

      1. friday jones 24 May 2011, 11:13pm

        When the child grows up that former child will be just as much a member of society as anyone else, and will be in a position to lead the pack rather than just follow the crowd as a role player.

        1. Jock S. Trap 25 May 2011, 9:58am

          Excellent comment Friday.

  6. I find most of the comments about this story, whether they be on this site or others, to be extremely narrow-minded and petty. Would folks really advocate calling child Protective Services on a couple who allow a child to explore his or her own identity, free from cultural preconceptions? I suppose for most of the world, one size fits all. Girls must be ” girl-like” and boys must be ” boy-like.” Is it too confusing for most of you to allow that people can have their own identity, free from the concept of gender? Does it make you think too much to have to step outside your pink or blue box? Are your own children too busy playing with dolls or trucks to be bothered to think about who they are? How sad for you, and your own children. I hope someday they realize that there is more to who they are than religious, cultural and advertising baggage being pushed on them.

    1. If it was a sincere act we’d never know

    2. Beautifully said.

  7. Nothing short of child abuse

    1. Could you expand, in detail, as to why you think that way?

    2. Jock S. Trap 24 May 2011, 3:47pm

      Why, Martin?
      Because is doesn’t conform to what society expects?
      Or what religion expects?
      Who set the rules then?
      Hardly child abuse bringing up children in an open minded enviroment.
      Only a closed minded person would think so.

    3. You know Jock, my old son. Is it just me or do you have an unhealthy fixation with religion, you seem to bring it into every other post. Are you still in the closet?

      1. Jock S. Trap 25 May 2011, 10:00am

        Wow Adam, what a great way to avoid answering the questions.
        I guess ignorance is bliss where you come from.

      2. As long as it conforms to the whims of radical social engineering ,it must be a good thing?

  8. This is the future. I reckon we’re seeing something here that will be normal in 500 years time.

    1. If its going to take that long we all know its going to take longer :<
      Humans are a young species and most are still as dumb as bricks. Give it 1000 years maybe, or a new sentient species…

  9. Idiots.

  10. Stuart Neyton 24 May 2011, 3:43pm

    This story is wonderful.

    What a fantastic way to raise their kids

    1. Eddy - from 2007 24 May 2011, 9:06pm

      Good for you, Stuart!

  11. Jock S. Trap 24 May 2011, 3:43pm

    All this couple are doing is allowing their children to grow and whats wrong with that?
    It’s society that dictates yet we are individuals, children to.
    To be honest if these children are in a loving, stable, committed home free from harm what business is it to anyone else how the children are brought up?
    Sound to be like they will end up well balanced, open minded individuals to me.

  12. While I agree with some of their points, I think they might be on the brink of possibly encouraging unhealthy behavior. I’m concerned that this may lead to psychological disorders later on in life.

    I’m all for teaching your children that there are no boundaries for his/her gender and that if they don’t fit into society’s cookie cutter ideals, that it’s okay. The only limits are what they decide for themselves. I just think this is the wrong way to go about instilling that value.

    However, I 100% disagree with the “un-schooling”. Children need to be educated to grow and expand mentally. They need the structure and discipline to shape them into productive adults. And, they need that social interaction to grow as an individual among their peers.

    The fact that the parents are basing this whole child experiment off of a book written in the 70s scares me the most. Lots of things have changed since then in the realm of psychology and healthy child rearing.

    1. Jock S. Trap 24 May 2011, 3:50pm

      I suppose yes I agree with your comments about education, not necessarily through school but a decent home education at least.

    2. Julian Morrison 24 May 2011, 4:39pm

      Children who are “unschooled” (educated by allowing them to run with their interests at whim) end up completely normal well-socialized people.

      1. Thank you!

        No one can possibly, legitimately criticise these parents’ method of home schooling without knowing deeper details about what their sons actually fill their time doing or how they compare to other kids their age.

        1. I understand that point in it’s entirety. Home schooled children do tend to perform at a higher level compared to other children. However, the method of “unschooling” essentially gives the child the reins to run with. Which that may work out if the child is self motivated, has a grasp on how to gain knowledge, and parents with enough resources to supply the child with all that they need for any subject. On the other hand you have children who would rather spend their days playing video games and watching TV if it were up to them, and/or parents who just don’t know what to do. Most kids are not that self motivated and that’s where a little structure pays off, it gives them the push in the right direction. I’m not against homeschooling, but if a parent is not going to commit to shaping their child and provide them with at least the basic skills to get by, they are failing that child. Unfortunately, until more extensive research is done, we will not know just where the “unschooled” stand.

          1. you may be right but I personally reckon children arent as a general rule unmotivated in third world countries children are very motivated to lean in fact if you stop them learning I’ve heard (though not from personal experience) they get very upset so maybe it is the fact kids are spoon fed from a very early age that causes this laziness when it comes to self improvement

          2. @ Hamish: it’s not always easy to formulate general rules about behaviour in what you quaintly call the ‘third world’, but in many developing countries formal education is seen by many as a desirable luxury (as opposed to a tiresome interruption of idleness) and a way to improve one’s socio-economic status – not often the case in countries where the majority of people don’t have to really struggle to have a roof above their head and food on the table.

          3. What do you mean “Quaintly call third world” it is the generally used term for a developing country, Developing counry is about its progress comopared to western society, more offensive in my view, where as third world directly refers to its economic status. However I do agree it may be merely because we don’t have to struggle that our motivation for education is so low or there may be other factors I odn’t know I’ve not seen anything that could say either way.

          4. generally used term for a developing country
            .
            It isn’t really, any more. (And you’ll find that Third World just referred to countries not aligned with either the NATO or communist blocs.)

      2. Perhaps you could provide some statistics/evidence to prove your statement (from a credible and unbiased source). I have been searching most of the day (between tasks and calls) and have come up empty handed. Thank you. I’ve come across a few stories, but nothing concrete. It seems that there just isn’t enough data to support the claim either way.

    3. friday jones 24 May 2011, 11:17pm

      An induced psychological disorder would be far more likely to result from the rampant abuse, trauma, and neglect that so many children in this world tragically face, rather than overt nurturing that happens to not fit some religiously-accepted traditional pattern.

  13. Julian Morrison 24 May 2011, 4:37pm

    What there parents are doing is preventing OTHER ADULTS from knowing the child’s physical sex. Not the child itself.

    What the fuss is about here, is that OTHER ADULTS think they have a right to police a child’s gender expression, in every way from pink/blue presents to expecting less physicality from a girl child (yes, adults do this, unconsciously even if trying to be fair). And the parents have stymied them and said “let the child choose their own gender expression”. Hence the wailing and gnashing of teeth, even from people in this thread who bloody well ought to know better.

  14. Wow militant parents alive and well. Kinda like Angelina Jolie kitting her daughter up in lads clothes. I’m assuming Angelina is hoping for a gay daughter to go with what she refers to as her ‘rainbow’ family. Why not let the kids decide for themselves instead of the parents foisting their liberal agenda on them?

    1. From the sound of it, allowing the kids to decide for themselves is exactly what these parents are doing. I doubt they’re forcing their sons to have their hair long or to wear dresses, and I doubt they’re going to force Storm into anything he/she doesn’t want.

      Most kids, even transgender kids, know what gender they are and what feels “right” to them by the age of 6 or 7.

      Gender is a fluid concept, same as sexuality and a lot of other things that have, in the past, been shoved into rigid moulds within society.

  15. I just wonder whether while their intention is to allow the child to grow up and express its gender however it likes, they’ve gone so far that they’re inadvertantly placing extra emphasis on gender – both for the kid and others – in a way they’re ostensibly meant to be against. Gender identity will now become a central plank for the raising of the child – making it more of an issue rather than less – rather than literally just allowing the child to grow up and find its own way without judgement from the parents.

  16. Brave parents. Lucky child. What a world of difference will it be for him/her growing up. Unlimited possibilities. Hard job thou but all my blessings with all of them.

  17. Incidentally (and I’m just asking because I’m genuinely interested, not because I’m trying to be facetious or anything), if gender is a social construct, why do people generally end up mostly in either the ‘female’ or ‘male’ camp, as even those who alter their birth-sex will likely end up more-or-less conforming to the social ideas (dress, etc.) about a specific gender – or is it unconscious cultural pressure that makes us do that? I only wondered because the parents here are waiting until the child decides, but there still seems a presumption someone will eventually choose to be either predominantly male or female.

    In a completely free environment, would most people live in-between male and female, or would most still come down far more on one side or the other (even if there were no pressure as to which side to conform to)?

    I should probably read up on all this, but reading this story just made me wonder.

    1. In a completely free society? Please show me one.

      As someone who is transgender/sexual I have to say that my gender is innate and does not match the sex assigned to me at birth. And that my innate gender doesn’t always match with how I present. I’ve seen it discussed, and this makes sense to me, that there are three forms of gender. The one assigned at birth, the one a person identifies as, and how they present/conform to expectations of gender in a social sense. Most people identify as the gender they’re assigned at birth even if they don’t conform to society’s expectations of that gender. Is that what you mean?

      1. Yeah, I realise there is no completely free society, was just wondering where we’d end up in the spectrum between gender and sex if there was such a society – as the parents seem to be hoping for. I think what you say makes a lot of sense, but just wondering where we’d all end up in the arena of gender if there weren’t pressure to conform one way or the other – and whether the gender people identify with would be largely one way or the other, or somewhere in the middle. I’m a gay male, I identify as very much male, but of course can’t tell how much I’ve been pushed in that direction but societal pressure – I’m just very interested in where I’d have ended up in there were no social pressure.

    2. I think it’s fundamentally because the ‘Gender as social construct’ theory falls down every time it’s open to scutiny. People espousing it do almost as many backflips and twists as the creationists to justify their theory. Some gender related behaviours are social constructs for sure but then to go on to say that all gender is a social construct flies in the face of the science.

      1. I’ve never seen any research into gender and the effects of society but if you could show me some I’d happily read them.

        1. Much of the work on ‘Gender as social construct’ is based on the work of John Money. Unfortunately his ‘major success’ retransitioned to his original gender and later suicided. It’s on Wikipedia
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Money

          1. Thanks I must admit that kinda makes me think it will probably choose its own sex role but no harm in giving it a go surely his brothers show that if allowed to buy anything he doesn’t stick to his gender role

  18. The fundamental point that these parents are so obviously missing, is that certain traits or characteristics are specific to each sex (yes sex, not gender) as being male or female is so much more than what we have ‘between our legs’. It’s instinctive, hormonal. No amount of open-mindedness can change that.

    1. PumpkinPie 24 May 2011, 7:25pm

      Makes no difference to their aims. Their eldest child is comfortable in clothing deemed “unsuitable” for males and has been subjected to abuse because of it – due to the prejudices of others. All they’re trying to do is give their kids the best start in life.

      1. martyn notman 24 May 2011, 8:39pm

        -and its sad that they have had abuse because of it, in an ideal world it wouldnt matter. Sadly we dont live in that ideal world so it does. This is an important issue, and these things need challenging, but i just dont think its fair to use little kids who dont know better to do it.

        1. Jock S. Trap 25 May 2011, 10:04am

          But we cannot expect society to change unless we are prepared to stand out and change it.

          1. martyn notman 25 May 2011, 12:16pm

            yes and as an adult i am prepared to do that- its my choice. Inflicting it on a child who doesnt know any better is just as bad as inflicting a perceived sexuality on it…

          2. Jock S. Trap 25 May 2011, 3:24pm

            I think it’s more allowing the children grow for themselves with their own identity.
            Don’t see any forcing on at all.
            In the end this will be looked on as those eccentric parents but I have no doubt the children will grow into decent, well balanced individuals.

  19. PumpkinPie 24 May 2011, 7:23pm

    Makes perfect sense. So much sense, in fact, that the rest of humanity sounds positively barmy by comparison. Good on them.
    .
    Loving the baseless scare words above, by the way. Especially “experiment”. Ooh! Terrifying! Complete personal choice on gender expression and freedom from the gender expectations of others – clearly, this should have been tested on lab rats, before human children were were exposed to such dangerous levels of positivity! Honestly, you bunch of paranoid weirdos… :p

  20. Doesnt matter at the end. In a few months just by looking at Storm´s face its gonna be pretty obvious which is the sex, hence people will start treating and refering to “it” as such, but now in terms of gender. Im sorry for this parents, but they cannot hide nature itself!. It took Nature millions of years to actually make a difference both in physical and behavioral terms.

    1. Eddy - from 2007 24 May 2011, 9:14pm

      But think below this level, Vince.
      So let’s say by the age of seven the child has a face that most people take to be masculine, and let’s say by the age of seventeen the child has a “dark blue” sea of masculine stubble on the face. You say that that will be nature asserting itself, nature saying “This human is a male!”. But the human with the stubble may love the stubble but NOT have a strong sense of “I am a MALE!”. The six foot six human with a hairy body and strong facial stubble may actually FEEL something else INSIDE, and be happy with the exterior and the interior.
      Challenge yourself! Try to think of such an “all male-looking” person who is perhaps as gentle as a lamb and loves nothing better than knitting and keeping house.
      Why, you’ve surely already come across such people!

      1. Hi Eddy, I agree with you, but I think that nowadays knowing a child sex doesn’t necessarily changes the way we relate to them, I mean, I think the times of either blue or pink or footballs/toy-guns or dolls are kind of retreating. So there is nothing really new in what these parents are doing in terms of clothes or toys as lots of people are adopting neutrality as a must (or a fashion) long time ago. The only novel thing here is that they don´t wanna tell the world. Sadly, this world is not well prepared to such a thing and I would guess this may only bring problems to the child.

    2. In a few months? When I was five years old and had short hair I was being called a ‘little boy’ despite the fact that I have a vagina.

      1. well, of course there are cases and cases, but on average, even when the children are around two years old, most people will correctly guess the sex of a child, and this will condition the relation and hence the child behavior. I think the parents have a good message to send out to the world, but I would never use my child to do so.

  21. oh my god what is wrong with them, i mean im open minded but that is just too much! you shouldnt play with someones sexuality its something too precious, it defines you as a person. If hes a man then let him be a man, if its not then a woman, i ont tjink thats healthy for him/her, poor baby =(

    1. Jock S. Trap 25 May 2011, 10:07am

      Sorry but sentences with the comment ‘I’m open minded but…’ usually means your not that open minded at all.
      ;)

    2. Look up the difference between ‘gender’ and ‘sexuality’

  22. If gender and sex are two completely different traits of a person, as seems to be the consensus, I fail to see why keeping the sex of the baby a secret does anything to impact on them raising it as “genderless”. As far as the article shows, they seem to be raising their two sons as not being forced into conforming to any gender already. Not revealing the sex seems an odd thing to do in relation to what they’re trying to achieve. The child will know its own sex, and will know what society expects of someone of that sex (at least to the extent any ‘unschooled’ child can), regardless of whether the parents keep it secret or not.
    Fooling a child into thinking it can choose to be male or female in absoloute terms without instilling into them that they are biologically of a certain sex is if anything cruel, because it’s just not true.

    1. but the child will know the sex the article is saying that adults or other people in society will automatically if not purposefully treat it differently because of it’s gender. So they are using a this time of genderlessness to let it decide on how it wants to behave without the pressures of society to conform to certain behaviours

    2. Eddy - the one from 2007 onwards 25 May 2011, 11:38am

      Lulu, to an extent you are right to say that “The child will know its own sex, and will know what society expects of someone of that sex”. However, there is a world of difference between the child putting two and two together and a child being constantly TOLD what sex he or she is, and HOW he or she ought to behave, and WHAT THINGS are correct for him or her to be attracted to, and so on. This is the point.

      1. Whether they are told directly “You should conform to these rules” or indirectly “Boys should conform to these rules, girls to these others” is irrelevant as they will have the exact same effect, seen as the child knows whether it is biologically male or female. Rarely do we see someone being told directly what they should conform to, it is nearly always that groups are shown to conform to certain ideals and the individual will always know which group they belong to (at least in terms of biology, such as these).
        There seems to little if any benefit to this decision, compared to how they are raising their previous two sons already. There are however going to be some undeniable effects in that the child will be treated unusually because their sex is a secret, and there is a risk (not certain, but still a chance) that being treated in such a way will have an adverse effect on the child. For this reason I would oppose such an approach.

        1. Eddy - the one from 2007 onwards 26 May 2011, 2:24pm

          Lulu, you wrote: “Rarely do we see someone being told directly what they should conform to, . . .”
          Nope, you’re very very wrong on this, I am afraid. I have worked as a teacher for many years and I have witnessed children and students being TOLD and CHIDED by their parents or guardians as to how they should behave because of their gender.
          The worst examples I have witnessed were in the 7-yr age-group. Most of the children in this age-range had been SO told how they should behave (according to gender) that they scolded each other vehemently at school, like little Hitlers, for stepping outside the prescribed behaviours of their respective genders.
          No doubt, however, there are some schools, probably in affluent liberal middle-class areas, where this does not happen to such an extent.

          1. I’m definitely not from an affluent, liberal, middle-class area (I would have thought visitors to this website would know better than to stereotype to such an extent) and from my own personal experience would disagree with the how you portray early school life, but still it remains irrelevant to this case. The child isn’t going to school, so this is all hypothetical; if they were going to attend school without anyone knowing their sex or assigning them a sex (pretty difficult without universal WCs, or when changing for sports), as far as your argument goes they would witness the widespread reinforcement of strict gender roles, and consequently be just as influenced by them, as they are fully aware of their own sex. The child isn’t going to school, and clearly doesn’t have the sort of parents you talk about, so regardless of whether their sex is a secret to others or not they won’t experience the ‘chiding’ you seem to have seen. The sentence you disagree with is unimportant.

  23. I love this story it’s sparked some really good debates quite an interesting thinking point

  24. Reading through the comments of posters made me reflect on my initial reaction t this situation. Whilst some are generally supportive vs opposed, I agree thinking outside of the pink and blue box is a positive attitude to have and encourages open minded thinking. Hiding the pink and blue boxes and basically saying figure it out for yourself on the other hand is nothing but cruel. Society concludes a child sex at birth where as sexual identity is normally awareness or inclination during puberty. It”s traumatic for most even when educated with facts coming to terms of accepting yourself and reaction to life choices.No child should be subjected to a Freudian experiment like this which could subject this child to a life long psychological damage and is tantamount to abuse no matter how well intended. Children of any sexual identity can how ever be raised to think openly in a prejudice free home or environment, but pleas don’t confuse prejudice or bigoted thinking with sexual identity.

    1. Eddy - the one from 2007 onwards 25 May 2011, 11:46am

      Steve, your conclusion that these parents are being “cruel” to their child presupposes that their child will be vexed by not having an answer to “the” big question of whether the child is a boy or a girl. Your presupposition, in turn, presupposes that the child will be occupied (possibly even obsessessed) by “the big question”. I can’t imagine that. I can’t imagine the young child thinking, in some kind of adult way, “Jesus! Holy FCUK! What the HELL am I!” No. The child will notice that some children are called girls and others boys, and that the girls tend to do X and the boys tend to do Y. The child will then slowly make up its own mind. And, with the freedom its parents will have granted it, it will also have the time and space to delay its conclusion. It may, for the rest of its life, in fact, say, “Well, I think I am part girl and part boy, despite the fact that I have a vagina, or despite the fact that I have a cock”. And the child will decide.

      1. @ Eddy, I don’t presuppose anything! By way of example just as a computer does not perform without software… a child does not develop or mature without knowledge. A child in any environment learns and discovers from life experiences and recognize the difference in the sexes as they develop.. it is natural we all learned and discovered our identity from questioning. How ever to raise a child in an atmosphere of androgyny is both cruel and potentially harmful. Every child’s development is crucial from birth, you nurture it help it teach it and inspire it, from that hopefully will develop a secure feeling of self worth and confidence. A child’s early development is no social experiment. Positive loving parenting teaching non judgmental attitudes and acceptance seems a more logical way than hiding the pink and blue boxes. I don’t presuppose that any of us need to be taught we are boys or girls or that our inclinations as we mature tell otherwise about preferences or partners.

        1. Jock S. Trap 26 May 2011, 10:45am

          There’s nothing cruel or harmful, potentially or otherwise.
          The children and family know so they will guide.
          What this is doing is stopping outside influence so that Storm can grow with a unique indentity.
          I do understand it to a degree.
          It’s surprising how others can ‘interfere’ mentally into a childs indentity which then become a list of others not there own.

        2. Eddy - the one from 2007 onwards 26 May 2011, 2:27pm

          Steve, it’s all right occasionally to jump to a pre-supposition. You did, and we all have. Please consider my above reply again and try to perceive your pre-supposition.

  25. Oscar WIlde 25 May 2011, 1:05am

    Hmmm – I’ll have to think about this one. If the oldest child came home and said “I want to get my hair cut and stop wearing pink” would the parents agree with the child’s request?

    If the parent’s answer with a response downplaying the necessity to conform to societal norms then it’s abuse – they are making the choice for the child and are really just satisfying their need.

  26. If it was an intersex child this might (would) make sense but to treat the child differently because of some theory? This is just silliness. If the child presents with cross gender behaviors ( and this will become quite apparent if it happens) then again this might be appropriate but please, in the absence of any of this, the poor kid should be left alone and treated like any other child.

  27. I’m in two minds about this. I think I get what the parents are hoping to do, but I don’t undersatnd why that necessitaes concealing the child’s sex from adults. What? The child can only be genderless by some trick – ie hiding its sex?
    I’ve come across children whose parents seem to be doing a similar thing, although they weren’t explicit about it, in that they’re very careful not to limit their child with gender roles or imply that their child had to dress/behave in a certain way. But every one of these children’s sex was known and no big thing was made out of it. Each child was confident enough in themselves to do/be what they liked.
    Yes, other adults might be a problem, but surely they’d be in a minority? Who’d go up to a boy and say ‘You shouldn’t be wearing pink’ or to a girl and say ‘Trucks are for boys’? Not many adults, I don’t think, and a confident child would correct them anyway.
    As for subtle gender messages from society/culture, they’d still be a potential problem anyway.

    1. I have a 1 year old daughter who sometimes wears obviously girly clothes, but sometimes not. I’ve had random strangers get quite upset with me for “tricking” them into thinking she’s a boy on those days when her sex isn’t clearly labeled by her clothes. Many adults do and say these things. Many people commenting on this story are saying these things.
      Why must you see it as a trick? It shouldn’t be the most important fact to know about a small child, so there’s no good reason for anyone to need to know.

      1. Yes, adults mistaking a child’s sex isn’t uncommon, especially when they’re young (i’ve noticed many people seem to rely on hairstyles to judge a child’s sex) but usually their reaction is one of embarrassment not an interrogation about the child’s sex or why they are wearing/doing what they are.
        My point is that one can still raise a child in a genderless way without hiding their sex. I know parents who do and the idea of hiding their child’s sex would never enter their head. They don’t broadcast it unnecessarily but they don’t conceal it. And if they are ‘challenged’ by adults or questioned by adults who’ve been confused about the child’s sex, then they answer in a matter of fact way and that is usually fine. That way the questioning adult might begin to understand and question their own ideas about gender.
        Assuming that all adults are so bigoted that they couldn’t accept a child as they are unless their sex is concealed is wrong. It’s also unworkable in practice, in my opinion.

    2. Jock S. Trap 25 May 2011, 3:38pm

      I understand what your saying and agree in part.
      I think this is more about treating the children as equals regardless of as being boy or girl.
      It can be quite striking even the way adults tend to treat children differently practically from birth.
      Differences and inequality can start from others from a very young age and that is more habit of society than anything else.
      People aren’t aware they do it it’s just channelled in that how we treat boys and thats how we treat girls.
      I agree it probably would be a minority of adults that have problems with this but it’s Very unusual of other young children to feel the same.
      Very young children are usually the least discriminating until they are old enough to hear what there parents are saying, or other adults.
      It is interesting though that again that it will mostly be adults that have a problem with this around the world and not other children, well of a certain age.

      1. I completely agree that society can treat girls and boys differently and can give different expectations, but that’s something that maybe older children pick up, and, hopefully ignore and be themselves. For younger children the main ‘behaviour setters’ if you will are their parents and close relatives. As the parents in this case seem very aware of the dangers of directly or indirectly implying that certain behaviours are gender appropriate and others not, then it’s likely their children would grow up pretty free and confident that they can be who they like.
        I also think that raising a genderless child is an opportunity to educate. Although many adults seem keen to police gender, many of these will stop when it’s drawn to their attention (lots don’t realise they’re even doing it), or, indeed, when they are asked not to. I don’t believe it’s necessary to conceal a child’s sex to get this effect – the freedom for them to be themselves. Not making a big deal of it seems best to me.

        1. Jock S. Trap 26 May 2011, 10:52am

          I do agree, Iris.
          It’s an interesting subject.
          I think your right though about raising a genderless child being an opportunity to educate and esp that adults seem keen to police it.
          At the end of the day I think it will only be adults that have the biggest problem with this but sure most will get over it.
          I would hope Storm would grow very open minded and balance though sometime I guess nature can take a turn with the best and the worst.

  28. And I know gender is more complicated than my simplistic pink and trucks – I was just using a quick, brief example.

  29. Whilst I agree that it should be an individual’s choice as to their gender expression, I’m undecided without further information whether this will help or hinder the child with respect to pressure from society. I’m open to learning more about how the situation turns out in the future and hope for the best.

    However, the thing that annoyed me was this wording: ‘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’. If the point is to allow the child to discover their own gender identity and expression, why is it simply worded like it’s being kept a secret, not a question awaiting the child’s answer? They may know the child’s ‘apparent’ gender, but the whole point is that they are not 100% certain.

    1. Good point, Sam.

  30. And, quite right – a child’s sex isn’t the most important thing about them. But actively deciding to conceal it is drawing attention to the very thing one’s trying to show is unimportant, so it can be counter-productive.

    1. Sorry, the above reply was to deadpan.

  31. I am of exactly 2 minds about this. While I applaud the intent & can see the benefits of allowing a child to make his/her own choice, I also see that the parents have gone overboard & the very issue they are trying to avoid can rebound on them if/as the child begins to suspect something sinister, as kids do around secrecy. I am hopeful, however, that the thought put into this decision, & the obvious support for any realization the child comes to will overcome any problems. The best news is that, for the most part, kids know who they are (e.g., one of the women I know knew she was a girl at age five & very calmly asked her mother when her penis was going to fall off!), & this one very well could feel more strongly about it *because* of the support given. And it could very well happen before school starts & therefore noproblems!

  32. I wonder how the parents would react if Storm turns out to be a feminine girl or a masculine boy? I wonder if they are prepared for that or if they really hope to be raising an androynous being, which is a projection of their own ideas and should not be imposed upon a child.

    One problem with not telling other adults is creating barriers in relationships with Storm. It seems to be pushing other people away when they really just want to welcome a new being on earth. What about the grandparents, aunts, uncles. Society is not perfect, but this seems very isolating, which is damaging. It seems to me like these parents are putting their political ideals above cerating a loving community for this child. No child should be called IT.

    1. Jock S. Trap 26 May 2011, 10:55am

      I think the point is they are supportive of however Storm grows.
      Weither Storm turns out a feminine girl or a masculine boy or vice versa or neither they are letting Storm identity grow.
      I do believe this is for Storm not the parent.

  33. Boys are taught, at a relatively early age, to stand when they urinate; girls remain seated (it is a function of biology but nevertheless also a gendering activity). How will these parents act when it comes to toilet training? One way or another, they cannot escape from gendering their child in this act, and so all of the rest of their ostentatious performance of radicalism will fall like a pack of cards.

    1. Yes, I was wondering about the practicalities of concealing Storm’s sex too. I know the article mentioned that Storm’s brothers may be too young to keep the secret (and personally I’m not sure if it’s fair to ask them to do so or to put such a focus on the subject), but if there’s only a limited number of adults who know this secret then how concerned are the parents about maintaining secrecy? Are they laidback and thinking ‘Well, if someone finds out, so be it, but we won’t broadcast it’ or will they be limiting the contact their baby has to avoid people accidently finding out, eg in a nappy change or whatever? What if Storm themselves tells someone? Will that be OK? What if another child finds out? Will they be sworn to secrecy?

  34. I am a trans woman. I intend on raising my future children in a similar way. The aim of this approach, as far as I am concerned, is to permit a child to become the person they want to be. This can best be achieved by letting them tell me who they are, and by shielding them from other people telling them who they should be. In our current society, irrespective of a person’s age, we are told that our genitals define our gender. I want my child to grow up safe from such coercion.

    The most important lesson this approach is trying to teach a child is that they are the ultimate arbiters of who they are. If they come home one day and have chosen to be male, irrespective of whether they are doing so because they are being coerced, their decision should be respected. But they should always be reminded, before or after any decision, that their decision is the most important, and they can change their mind if they want to.

  35. There are lots of niggling technical details being pointed out – how to deal with flows of information etc. This is derailing from the main point which is that in order to let a child make a valid choice they have to be protexted from the coercion our society tries to force upon it.

    To those who talk about how the child will probably end up “normal”, and that this will simply be a whole load of hastle they shouldn’t have had to deal with. This point is an expression of cis-privilege, as it centres the situation on cis people and assumes they are normal. Trans people go through much worse trauma at the hands of the world than simply spending the first 5-10 years of you life figuring out who they are, and many wish they had been given the opportunity. There are certain challenges in life which should not be avoided but tackled in order to grow as a person. I think raising a child without giving them this freedom is abusive.

  36. FeministSmithie 26 May 2011, 4:32pm

    Odd that an apparently progressive mother would choose the patriarchal ‘Mrs’ title.

    1. Nice that she has the freedom to choose, FeministSmithie. I’m sure it was her choice, and so should be respected.

  37. At least the kid will probably get a documentary made about him/her/it in the future. But what happens when the kid wants to go to the toilet in public, does he/she/it need its own genderless bathroom so no one will guess if its a boy or girl? Is the kid not gonna be able to wear pink or blue, just in case people will guess that he/she/it is he or a she? Why conceal the gender the kid’s born with, its born that way, isn’t it? Sounds absolutely insane to me.

    1. Norman Carson 3 Apr 2012, 1:17pm

      Eddy Two:
      you are damm right this whole story is insane. What is the world coming to? It will be intertesting to see this child devlop in later years.
      he will get taesed alot I think in school if only the parents realize what they are doing to it. And I say it literally…

  38. I think this is very interesting experiment that will help understand issues of gender and sex, but…
    But I don’t believe thees parents love their child. At least one thing they love more then “it”: their ideas about gender.

  39. Brave family, hopefully what turns out to be a brave kid. They have a lot of work ahead of them, but that is our future. At least, I hope for it.
    One without gender boundaries or bigotry, a world wide melting pot of every shape size, type, age, race, sexuality, etc. We as a people can expand and ascend so much, we only need release ourselves from the bounds we have put ourselves in out of fear.

  40. wow! i’ve heard of letting a child pick a name or religion but sex??? lol that is weird…

  41. Norman Carson 3 Apr 2012, 1:14pm

    What kind of parents are these people?
    How can you raise a generless child? Either he is a Male or a Female that’s it. If he ‘s got a penis or a vagina then we will all know what sex it is.
    get real parents and take another look. You might just set damage mentaly to the child when he gets older. I know that for a fact…..

  42. which washroom will Storm go in? Whichever Storm choose?….ummm not as an adult. Storm can be charged entering the wrong washroom.

  43. Oh my oh my, what’s the world coming to!!

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