I am not sure that I totally get the point that these parents are trying to make with their decision to keep their third child, Storm’s gender a “secret”. However, I agree that it is an interesting concept and only time will tell what the overall effects will actually be on “Storm”.
As far as I am concerned, I believe in going along with certain cultural norms. I believe that there are enough issues to overcome in one’s life, answering questions about one’s gender need not be one of them.
That being said, I do agree with the concept of “free to be you”and that a child should be encouraged to play with whatever toys that they enjoy…girls certainly can play with “boy” toys and boys should feel free to play with “girl” toys. One’s expression of their gender should be entirely on their own terms, but not accepting a gender…I am not sure what that is about and how it adds to a child’s sense of self.
This concept reminds me of a time years ago when friends of mine decided not to raise their children in any particular religion. They felt that as their children got older they could make that choice for themselves. I know this is entirely different than the gender issue but ignoring religion did not make a whole lot of sense to me back then and still does not now. Children, in my opinion, can benefit from religion and also can make choices later in life.
I guess this piece concerning Storm’s gender makes me think more about how we socialize our children and make them feel comfortable in their own skin and genitalia, how we encourage them to be themselves whether they are boys wearing pink or girls wearing a hard hat. My own personal feeling is that we can do that within the norms of present day society.
My questions concerning this situation are…
- Is it worth putting this gender neutral lifestyle on a young child?
- Who will ultimately be there to deal with the “fallout” of this decision in the long run ?
- Is this more of a burden than having a gender identity right from birth?
I so do not have a clue as to the answers to these questions! I wish Storm a good life and look forward to hearing his/her perspective on his parent’s decision in a few years.
“The couple has been experimenting with gender identity for years and their 4-year-old, Jazz, is already well-acquainted with the ridicule of those who don’t understand why he has long hair and likes the color pink. Jazz and Kio pick out their own clothes and decide whether or not to cut their hair. Just this week Jazz picked out a pink dress which he says he loves because it “really poofs out at the bottom. It feels so nice.” Jazz also keeps his long hair in three braids, two in the front and one in the back. He loves to paint his fingernails. He also wears a sparkly pink stud in one ear. His choice, his parents don’t even wear jewelry or nail polish. Society has conditioned us to think this is feminine behavior that probably means the little boy is “gay”. But stop and think about it. Why is pink a feminine color? Why is nail polish girly? Because society tells us it is. Yet, when you give a child freedom to choose what they want to be, what really is wrong with a boy liking sparkles? They’re sparkly!
Jazz’ younger brother Kio keeps his curly blond hair long too and loves the color purple. “As a result, Jazz and now Kio are almost exclusively assumed to be girls,” says Stocker, adding he and Witterick don’t out them. It’s up to the boys to correct assumptions about their gender.
That may be why the third time around, the Stocker and Witterick figured they could really give their child a blank slate by not sharing his or her gender. “We thought that if we delayed sharing that information, in this case hopefully, we might knock off a couple million of those messages by the time that Storm decides Storm would like to share,” says Witterick.