The name Storm is gender-neutral, but it’s also listed as a synonym for controversy in some dictionaries. And at just four months old, blond-haired, blue-eyed Storm and its (sic) Canadian family have opened up a debate that is getting traditionalists and liberals understandably excited.
Kathy Witterick, 38, and David Stocker, 39 are parents raising their three children in Toronto, Canada. They feel children are pressured at far too tender an age by strict social norms of gender and are taking their beliefs about parenting and gender stereotypes into new realms.
According to a front-page article in the Toronto Star last week, the only ones who know the baby’s gender are the couple’s sons, Jazz, five, and Kio, two and a close family friend and two midwives present at delivery.
Not even granny or grandpa knows.
“If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs,” explains Stocker.
Unsurprisingly the article has become the newspaper’s most popular online story ever and drawn a range of support and criticisms from all over the world.
In an email to friends and family shortly after Storm was born, the couple made their intention clear:
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 also allowed Jazz and Kio to choose their own clothes, hairstyles, and toys from the get-go. “As a result, Jazz and now Kio are almost exclusively assumed to be girls,” says Stocker.
That’s Jazz and Storm in the photo above.
The couple certainly aren’t the first to attempt raising children in this manner but are the first ones to seriously spark off this debate.
Witterick romanticises it:
In fact, in not telling the gender of my precious baby, I am saying to the world, ‘Please can you just let Storm discover for him/herself what s(he) wants to be?!
The couple aren’t breaking any laws with their free-thinking approach; one just hopes the issue will now move toward the impact all the media attention is going to have on the children.
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