02/06/2011 08:30 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Do You Believe It's Possible To Raise A 'Genderless' Child? (And Could You Be Bothered?)

Do you believe it's possible to raise a 'genderless' child? (And why would you bother?) Getty

Do you believe that everyone knowing that you are male or female has limited your choices in life?

If so then you might have preferred to be raised by Canadian parents Kathy Witterick and David Stocker whose latest child, four-month-old Storm, remains 'genderless', as his PC extreme parents have decided to keep his or her sex a secret.

When Storm was born the couple told friends and family of their choice in a message which reads: '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? ...).'

I would contest that by their decision his parents have given him/her not freedom or choice, but instead have condemned him/her to being misunderstood and mercilessly bullied. Any emotional scars inflicted by a childhood in which everyone is aware of your gender pale into insignificance in comparison to the issues that are being stored up for poor little Storm.

Sure she/he may be freed from the tyranny of gender stereotypes, but he/she will probably also grow up to be too scared to go to a mainstream school like his/her five-year-old brother, Jazz.

Being brought up outside the norms of society isn't liberating, it's miserable and lonely. As an adult you might feel that your principles are more important to you than acceptance by the mainstream, but to impose that isolation onto your children is tantamount to cruelty.

It's not as if Storm not knowing his or her gender alters the fact of it, so it seems futile to attempt to keep something so fundamental a secret – in fact by doing so you attach even more significance to it, and open up the poor child to torment from his/her peers.

I am all for allowing children the chance to choose their interests and passions regardless of gender, for example my oldest son, Jacob, takes ballet classes and happily dons his leotard in a class full of little girls in pink tutus. Just because he knows he is a boy, he isn't prevented from following what is considered a more feminine discipline.

But you can take things too far as the Witterick/Stocker family illustrates. It's one thing supporting freedom of choice, it's another denying nature and using your children to prove your own wacky theories. Not least because I am pretty sure they are onto a losing wicket in any case. In my experience, as the mother of four sons, boys will be boys no matter how you raise them.


To a man my boys can't touch a stick without it becoming a gun to be pointed at anything and everything. This despite the fact that I have never allowed toy arms of any kind in the house. They have all become irrationally excited at the sight of diggers and tractors from long before they could talk and yet none would bat an eyelid as we strolled past aisles of sparkly pink Barbies and fairy costumes in a toy shop.


I don't believe this is because I always admitted to all and sundry that they were boys from birth, I think it is because no matter what I do my boys are all male, and they have a right to have that acknowledged and accepted, rather than hidden as if it were some dirty secret.

Storm's parents appear to believe they are doing their children a favour by appropriating their childhood to carry out some experiment in pushing traditional ideas of gender.

This is both selfish and damaging and, worst of all, pointless because all the children are bound to find out what's going on between their legs sooner or later.

Do you think trying to bring up a child 'genderless' is silly?
Do you think children are gender stereotyped by parents and our society?
Do you think boys will be boys, girls will be girls?
Tell us what you think....