The Stockers have just had their third child, Storm, a beautiful, healthy, bouncing baby. They’re keeping the child’s sex a secret from the world so that Storm may grow to develop his or her own identity without the social expectations of masculinity or femininity. The family has two other sons, Jazz and Kio, whom they have given complete freedom with identity. Jazz loves his long hair and his sparkly dresses, and Kio adores purple.
After receiving media attention and outrage the couple has declined further interviews. The response they’ve gotten from the public and the media has been mixed. Some are convinced that they’re setting their child up for bullying and a lack of self-identity. Without the direction from his/her parents on how he/she should act and dress, how can Storm grow up like a normal child?
From a transgentleman’s point of view, I am completely and totally supportive. A lot of transfolk have expressed that their gender identity was such a struggle to find because of social pressures placed on them for being a boy or girl. If they hadn’t had those gender stereotypes placed on them, maybe they would have been able to discover their true identity earlier. If we weren’t judged and reprimanded for expressing masculinity or femininity regardless of our sex, then maybe our gender identity wouldn’t be so hard to find.
I applaud this family for what they’re doing with Storm. If the world weren’t so focused on “boys do this, girls do this” then maybe we wouldn’t have so much gender dysphoria in our society. We would learn to develop our own sense of identity without the expectations placed on what’s between our legs. I know that I, personally, wouldn’t have gone through so much confusion and inner chaos when I was younger if I hadn’t been raised with the idea that I would be rejected if I didn’t act and dress a certain way.
I can see the validity in the negative responses to the genderless baby. It’s true that the baby might be teased and Storm might have trouble with his or her identity without the structure of gender stereotypes. However, studies have shown that children raised in unconventional ways have developed into strong, confident people. Some hold the view that the parents are being selfish by using their child as an “experiment,” with one commenter comparing Storm to a lab rat.
There hasn’t been a study on raising genderless children. I can only speculate, from someone whose life has been a mass of doubt and uncertainty because of gender, that Storm will grow and develop into whomever Storm wants to be — without the constraint of gender roles.
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