Parents in Canada have decided to raise a ‘genderless baby’ – in “a tribute to freedom and choice”.
Kathy Witterick and David Stocker already have two boys, Jazz and Kio, but with their third child, called Storm, they have decided to keep the child’s sex a secret.
But Glenn Stanton, a family researcher, said the parents’ thinking was purely “storybook”.
Mr Stanton said “the parents want to opt into this kind of utopian idea that ‘oh we can just let our child be free'”, but he said, “that is completely to misunderstand what it means to be human”.
In answer to a question on “gender neutrality”, Harold S. Koplewicz, a leading child psychiatrist, pointed out that “when kids are born they’re not a blank slate”, and they do actually have a male or female brain.
He pointed out there “is a reason why boys do more rough and tumble play” and why “girls have better language development”.
Dr Koplewicz called the parents’ move “misguided”.
When Storm was born, the couple sent an email to friends and family saying: “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? …).”
The couple were unsure how to refer to Storm, and considered just “Z”. However Storm’s mum now calls the baby “she”, imagining the “s” in brackets.
The baby’s genitalia are not ambiguous. The family has only allowed a handful of people to know Storm’s sex.
Last year the BBC reported the tragic story of a baby boy, Bruce Reimer, whose parents were persuaded by an academic to raise him as a girl.
The traumatic events were re-told in a documentary which revealed that the troubling case had been falsely hailed as a “success” in academic and medical papers.
Sadly Mr Reimer fell into deep depression and eventually committed suicide.