July 1, 2022

Storm at heart of gender controversy

A couple in Toronto has kicked off a controversy over gender and parenting by keeping their third child’s gender a secret.

A couple in Toronto has kicked off a controversy
over gender and parenting by keeping their third child’s gender a secret. Kathy
Witterick, 38 and David Stocker, 39, say that four-month-old Storm will be able
to decide for him or herself what gender he or she wants to identify with. After
the birth they explained to relatives and friends: “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? …).”

They already have two children, Jazz, 5, and
Kio, 2, who are boys. Witterick and Stocker are also trying to avoid forcing them
into the constrictions of a single gender identity: “As a result, Jazz and now Kio
are almost exclusively assumed to be girls,” Stocker told the Toronto Star. It’s
up to the boys to correct mistaken impressions.

“Everyone keeps asking us, ‘When will this end?’”
says Witterick. “And we always turn the question back. Yeah, when will this end?
When will we live in a world where people can make choices to be whoever they are?”

The gender experiment seems to be one dimension
of Witterick’s educational philosophy of “unschooling”, an offshoot of
the home-schooling movement which allows children to learn whatever they like.

The couple’s unusual decision for Storm provoked
a lot of comment, almost none of it supportive. Even Time magazine’s health reporter
Bonnie
Rochman
, said “The way Storm’s parents handle the de-genderizing (is that a
word?) of the youngest member of their family is confusing at best and creepy at
worst.” ~ Toronto Star,
May 21

Michael Cook
gender