The parents of ‘genderless’ baby Storm have defended their actions after being heavily criticized for their decision.
Kathy Witterick and David Stocker gave an interview to their local newspaper the Toronto Star, announcing their decision to keep baby Storm ‘genderless’, allowing him or her to develop their own gender. The article caused outrage, with many criticizing the couple and their decision. They also criticized the couple’s upbringing of their other children: five and two year old boys, who are allowed to dress as they like, and are “almost exclusively assumed to be girls” according to the children’s father.
In an email reponse, Miss Witterick wrote that the four-month-old infant was just learning to recognize themselves, and to impose a gender identity on the child would be inappropriate. She also wrote that the idea that the “whole World must know what’s between our babies legs is unhealthy, unsafe and voyeuristic.”
Even the child’s grandparents do not know the gender of their grandchild, and said they had grown weary of trying the situation to others.
The main criticism of the couple is that they are imposing their own ideological values onto an infant and small children, without worrying about the ridicule their children will face due to this. Other criticisms include the argument that the couple have turned their children into a social experiment, watched by the World.
Witterick also hit out at those who had criticized her; “The discussion that emerges not only “outs” people (in their rush to judge, they demonstrate prevailing views), but also has the effect of helping people examine whether they truly do believe the status quo to be the best we can do. Is this the best we can do to grow healthy, happy, kind, well-adjusted children?”
MSNBC reported the chief psychologist and head of gender identity service for children at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Dr Zucker, explaining why he thought the story was so popular – it creates anxiety in people who are now wondering how they have become who they are.
“The reason this story has gone viral and been of so much interest is because it has activated an ongoing discourse of how does a child’s gender identity actually get formed?”
“There would be people on one side of the spectrum who would say that gender identity is completely hard-wired, and even if you don’t sex a child they are going to develop a gender in accordance with their biology. And then there are people on the other half of the spectrum that say that gender identity is completely influenced by socialization.”