Canadian Mother Raises Baby Without Gender

In a moment of surprising sanity, a Canadian couple with a newborn baby has taken the surprising step of deciding to raise it without a specified gender, allowing the newborn child to grow into gender socialization on its own without allowing the ideas and prior assumptions of others to be placed on it. It’s what some are calling a remarkably evolved act—cutting straight to the core of how people are socialized in our culture and locked into identities at an early age, identities that they themselves did not choose and then may feel compelled to “act up to” throughout their lives, potentially leading to neurosis.

The Washington Post reports:

TORONTO — A Canadian couple defended Friday their controversial decision to keep the sex of their baby a secret. Kathy Witterick said her 4-month-old baby Storm should be able to develop its own sexual identity without having to conform to social stereotypes or bow to predetermined expectations associated with gender. Witterick said in an e-mail Friday that the idea that “the whole world must know what is between the baby’s legs is unhealthy, unsafe and voyeuristic. We know — and we’re keeping it clean, safe, healthy and private (not secret!).”

Witterick said Storm has a sex which those closest to him or her acknowledge and said they don’t know yet about the baby’s color or dress preferences. Witterick and her husband have also been criticized for the way they are raising their other two children. Five-year-old Jazz and two-year-old Kio are well aware that they’re boys, but have been encouraged to shun gender norms and express themselves in whatever way they wish. Witterick said Jazz has the right to choose his clothes and hairstyle and said he chooses freely to wear pink despite criticism.

What do you think—what might the larger social ramifications of this courageous and liberating act be?

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