You may have heard about the kerfuffle over an email sent by a Canadian couple announcing the birth of their third child. In part, it said:
“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 child’s name has proved to be prescient. Since the news went public, the parents and their family have been in the centre of a storm of speculation, gossip, ridicule, and criticism. They’ve been called kooks, child abusers, weirdos, and (I’m not kidding) global warming supporters. In fact, given the reaction, I think they’ve proved their point. People are far too absorbed with gender, when – to prepubescent children (and particularly to a four-month old) – it is an almost entirely moot point. Should the child know his or her own gender? Sure. Does everyone else need to know? Why on earth should they?
It is beyond ridiculous that people are so fascinated by this, and so certain they have a right to comment and to demand that ‘the authorities’ interfere. Is the act of refusing to discuss your child’s gender with those outside your immediate family circle an act of child abuse? Not on any planet I can think of. Get a grip, people. To my mind, the only grounds anyone has for intervening in the life of a family is if the parents are starving, beating, or neglecting the child – physically, emotionally, or intellectually. And even then, guidance and support are a lot more likely to benefit most children than attacks on their parents.
While I disagree with many of their parenting choices (read an article written by the mother and see if you can guess which ones), and am pretty sure that they’d disagree with many of mine, I support their right to make choices. I daresay their kids won’t have any more (or – perhaps – any fewer) hangups than any other middle-class brats growing up in the ‘centre of the universe’ Western child-rearing culture.