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Raising a Gender-Neutral Child - Is it Harmful? - Page 3

Poll Results: Do you think raising a child genderless is good or harmful?

  • 18% (28)
    I think it's good thing.
  • 59% (91)
    I think it's harmful.
  • 22% (34)
    I have a mixed opinion (please explain in your post)
153 Total Votes  
post #41 of 55

I guess I read the article differently from many people. I didn't get the impression they were raising a gender-neutral child, just that they were going to follow their child's lead about what his or her gender would be. Once Storm felt ready to declare a gender, and/or let people know his or her sex, then Storm would do so. Until then, they were keeping knowledge of Storm's physical sex restricted to close family members. To me that's a far cry from acting as if Storm doesn't have a gender.


Also, only telling close friends and family Storm's physical sex 'for the time being' isn't the same as keeping it a secret. Storm will know, people who change his or her diaper will know. At four months old, to whom else does Storm's physical sex matter??? They said they'll keep information about Storm's sex within the family as long as everyone's comfortable with it, so it sounds like they're well aware that they won't be keeping this up forever, or even very long, and have no intention of making their older children shoulder a burden they don't want. 


I think there are a lot of fears being read into what this family is doing: fears that Storm won't be allowed to express any natural femininity or masculinity he or she might feel. I do think some people have swung to that extreme in reaction to polarized gender roles. But I don't think that's what Storm's parents are doing- they seem to be all about child-led self-expression. I can't find fault with that.

post #42 of 55

Has anyone read the short article/story "X: A Fabulous Child's Story"? It's a feminist piece meant to point out how much emphasis is placed on gender roles in children. It's great and I think it really sheds some light on the importance of being able to let go of gender roles. The child "X" in the story is raised in the same way that Storm is being raised. His/Her sex is kept from everyone except for the child and his parents of course, but in the end it allows the child to be whoever they want to be. I think it's a cool idea. :) As long as it's a happy, healthy child I don't think that the fact that the gender is "secret" should matter.

post #43 of 55

i posted a link to the story in post #11. 



post #44 of 55

~*In the End the Child will have the Final choice about what they want to be. Not even the parents can stop this.

The only thing that people Need to to worry about is that this child parents will support them. The Parents can not raise the child to be both or

neither Gender he or she will eventually fall natrually in his/her own place. They Will favor over one or the other. This isn't really anyone else buisness either.

I honestly Think This is just another reason for people judge someone. *~


post #45 of 55
If they didn't want it to be anyone's business or for anyone to have an opinion about it, they shouldn't have done a public interview and have their information published. eyesroll.gif
post #46 of 55

I think that what this family is doing has been sensationalized by the media, and reactions (nor just here but everywhere) has been caught up in confusion about sex and gender.


It seems to me that what Storm's family is doing isn't hiding the baby's gender or raising Storm to be gender-neutral.  All they're doing is not making assumptions about Storm's gender based on Storm's sex.  They're not hiding the baby's gender, because they don't know the baby's gender yet, only the sex.  They're not "raising a child genderless", because they don't know yet whether Storm is genderless.


I also don't think we can make any judgments about it being terrible for the older brothers to have such a burden of secrecy.  I haven't seen anywhere but in speculation that the family is putting any pressure on the older kids to keep it a secret.  I think it's more likely (though obviously I don't know for sure) that the family atmosphere is such that Storm's sex just isn't a big deal to the older kids the way it is in most families.


I didn't vote in the poll because it doesn't accurately reflect the world - I don't think the parents are "raising a child genderless", as I've explained above.  There should be an "Other" option for those who disagree with the question asked in the poll.  Plus, I think the title of the thread isn't appropriately impartial - it's leading us to rah rah about how awful it is world gone mad etc.

post #47 of 55
Originally Posted by mimim View Post

Originally Posted by Lillitu View Post

I am astonished that more people did not say a "good thing". WE are one of the most polarized cultures about gender on the planet- we indoctrinate our kids at a young age what it "means" (to our transient culture) to be a boy/man girl/woman.


I wrote a blog post about how I am raising my son a while back and it expresses my opinions: http://parentingbythelightofthemoon.blogspot.com/2010/10/raising-human-in-gendered-world.html


I also wrote about it later in a blog carnival on natural parenting: http://parentingbythelightofthemoon.blogspot.com/2011/04/carnival-of-natural-parenting.html


I will raise my son to be a HUMAN first.

Really, the sex of a child is absolutely irrelevant, but I notice that you just said my SON. It seems too much to you to leave him free of sex identification, correct? However, I totally agree that we should raise humans, not boys or girls. I applaud your effort in freeing your child of gender restrictions and I wish more people would do so.

No, you misunderstand me. I call him my son, yes- but that does not mean the same thing to me as it does to you, evidentally. I am not holding onto some gender snippet by using that term any more than using a gender neutral term. I find inventing language gets tiring and cumbersome and not everyone understand it. To me, "son", "daughter" and "child" are interchangeable, and they mean the exact same thing.


I know it is hard for people to wrap their brains around this- after all, we have all been indoctrinated from a very early age to think that these are essential differences and that they are huge. They are neither. I applaud people for allowing some breathing room for their kids like these parents have.

post #48 of 55
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

And, then, beyond that.. what's wrong with being a man or a woman?  I'm not a dress wearing, manicure getting girly girl.. but, I really like that my husband is a basketball loving, tool slinging manly type guy.  (occasionally I wish I'd married a computer geek... but, only when I need help with my computer)


What's wrong with a sports loving man, or a skirt wearing woman with long highlighted hair?  It seems as if that is becoming less acceptable.  But, what if that really is who you are?  


Why not just have lots of toys available to kids?  Let THEM decide?   Why is it when someone says "My son is all boy" that people get so offended?  

I think you are the parents in this article agree- they are letting their kid decide rather than them or the public making choices on their behalf by disclosing their kid's gender to the world.


Are you actually offended by their choice? When I hear people saying "What's the matter with being a man or a woman?" I hear people being defensive- because they feel that somehow other people's choices somehow negate theirs. We can all exist with differing choices!


post #49 of 55
Originally Posted by Lillitu View Post

No, you misunderstand me. I call him my son, yes- but that does not mean the same thing to me as it does to you, evidentally. I am not holding onto some gender snippet by using that term any more than using a gender neutral term. I find inventing language gets tiring and cumbersome and not everyone understand it. To me, "son", "daughter" and "child" are interchangeable, and they mean the exact same thing.

I understand what you are saying and I really respect your position on this. I was thinking of what it means to other people when you identify him as your son. It changes their behavior toward him, which is what this family is trying to avoid.

And actually, I have read up on this a little more and I think my reservations have been assuaged. The impression I have is that they will let the kid reveal his or her sex and choose her or his own gender. My feelings are less mixed now.

I remember when my first two babies were born and somebody immediately said "it's a boy." I was still on "it's a baby." When I had my last baby, I told everyone to not announce the sex, that I would tell them when I was ready. It took me a good hour even think to check. It just wasn't very important. I kind of wish I was brave enough to keep it a secret for longer.
post #50 of 55
There is also this family: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jun/22/swedish-parents-baby-gender
post #51 of 55



we dont have a word for 3rd gender. one has to either fit one or the other - boy or girl - there is no language for other.


i wonder how countries like india is treating this news esp. since they have official recognisation of m, f and e for eunuch. of course that is the sex. 


i commend the parents for trying - for breaking the mould. i see no harm in this. they have done a fine job with their other kids.


it seems the rest of the world have a huge problem with it. 


i can totally support the parents decision. they are caring parents not cold hearted scientists. 


as usual media got hold of something and sensationalised it completely. 

post #52 of 55

I don't think it is harmful or helpful.  I hope parents love, accept and encourage their kids to be who they feel they are. 

post #53 of 55

I didn't answer the (too simplistic) poll.


I think that not telling anyone what sex your baby is (and that's what we're talking about - they don't KNOW the gender, only the physical sex, none of us know the gender of our children when they are 4 months old, most children only know when they are getting towards 3, and some not for a lot longer) is benign.  It is LIKELY that the sex and gender will match, but not guaranteed.  So long as the parents answer any questions the CHILD has honestly, i do not see what the big deal is.


If however they are trying to hide from Storm what sex s/he is, that is different.  I think that is potentially harmful.  If Storm asks i would hope they would tell him/her what physical sex s/he is.  I think not doing so could be harmful, just as telling a transsexual child they are what their genitals say they are over and over could be harmful.


I'm not convinced they wanted the amount of hype they got, not convinced they meant to do anything except prolong the short period of non-stereo-type-specific expectations of those around Storm which most babies only get before they are born, or increasingly before the scan that identifies their sex.  Maybe they just didn't want gifts like this.

post #54 of 55

there was a study done (forget where and what source - I heard about it on woman's hour on BBC radio 4 a few years ago)  where there was a shocking difference in how women talked to their babies depending on gender.


Girl babies were talked on some massive proportion amount more by their mothers than the baby boys were. 


I guess if we move beyond thinking gender we will just talk, coo and chuckle with love...to baby

post #55 of 55

can we next make a poll about whether or not polling about people's parenting choices is harmful or helpful?  kthxbye

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