We previously followed the bizarre story of Pop — a child being raised genderless by his Swedish parents. Now, Canadians Kathy Witterick and David Stocker are raising a five-month-old child, named Storm, and are hiding his gender to raise the child as an “it.”
Witterick and Stocker would not even tell the grandparents the gender of storm in their crusade against gender stereotyping.
The parents told friends that their decision was “a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime.” In the article below, they are quoted as saying that “[t]he strong, lightning-fast, vitriolic response was a shock” and that “Storm will need to understand his/her own sex and gender to navigate this world (the outcry has confirmed it!).”
This appears more driven by the parents’ social engineering efforts but no leading children psychologist or expert has supported such a course, which can have highly negative consequences of the child’s development. This seems much more about the parents than their child.
I will acknowledge that I have written columns (here and here) that squarely put me on the nature side of the nature/nurture divide. However, this seems better suited for a topic of fun debate at a dinner party than a serious plan for raising a child. It also raises the question of whether the best interests of the child warrants an intervention by the government — given the general view that this is in fact harmful for a child. I tend to favor parental rights in such cases and would support the right of these parents in this case. That does not, however, diminish my strong emotions in hearing about this case and the potential harm to this child. This strikes me as a couple taking a radical, low-grade concept of social engineering and using their own child to prove their point.