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Baby Storm: Is gender freedom abuse or blessing?
The Today Show had an interesting discussion this morning about a Canadian born baby, Storm, whose parents decided not to disclose gender. Apparently there are only seven people who know the sex of the four month old infant. These include the obvious; doctors, mother and father, two and five year old male siblings and a family friend.
Jayme Poisson, journalist for the Toronto Star, recently broke the story after spending a few days with the family. David Stocker and Kathy Whitterick of Toronto, Canada, made the decision to keep the sexual identity of their newborn a secret after parenting experiences (some would say experiments) with their two older children. Jazz and Kio, are allowed to wear pink, dress as girls, wear their hair long, and grow and play in other 'nonconventional' ways.
It appears this flexibility is already shaping the eldest child in some not so positive ways - he has asked to attend a private school because other children ask why he wears pink and dresses differently. Whether he will be more accepted in a private school remains to be seen.
How much are we shaped by the world around us, our families, our own sexual identities? How far would you go in allowing your child to be non stereotypical?
Although the overwhelming response has been one of outrage and the opinion that this is much more about the parents than it is about the good of their children, the question remains - is it possible to grow up happier without an assigned sexual gender?
Dr. Harold Koplewicz, leading child and adolescent psychiatrist, says no. "....an infant is not born as a clean slate...we can't pretend there are no differences between the sexes...." Koplewicz insists keeping secrets of any type are confusing and negative to a child's self esteem. In this case, not only would 'genderless' four month old Storm be harmed, but expectations from the parents for the two siblings of Storm to keep this secret is harmful as well.
What are your thoughts? How progressive should parents be in assisting their children in being whomever they want to be, regardless of sex?