A Contemporary "Child X" Experiment: Toronto Parents Decide Not to Reveal the Sex of Their Baby, Despite Criticism

Baby Storm and another sibling. Storm’s parents faced criticism of their parenting of all their children when they decided to raise Storm genderless.

Many if you were interested, or surprised about Lorber’s reference to a 1972 article in Ms. Magazine that discussed the possibility of raising a genderless child, a child who would grow up free from the gendered messages and pigeonholing that takes place from the moment we’re born. While that article was a fantasy in 1972, it might be a reality for a pair of parents in Toronto.

Last year (2011), Storm’s parents decided not to reveal Storm’s sex. The only people who know are Storm’s siblings and the two midwives who oversaw Storm’s birth. While some were supportive, the couple faced criticism, not just from neighbors but from the right-wing news media.

Over the weekend, read the full article about Storm and Storm’s parents here.

QUESTIONS

Be prepared to discuss the following questions in class on Monday:

  1. How does criticism of Storm’s parents’ decision reveal what Lorber says about the importance we ascribe to a two-gender system in Western culture?
  2. What kind of gendering messages do you remember receiving as a child (e.g., about “proper” behavior or speech, dress, your looks, etc.)? At the time, how did you respond to these messages? What do you think of them now?
  3. How do you think this two-gender system shapes our understanding of “compulsory heterosexuality” (Rich’s term) and therefore homosexuality in our culture?
  4. How can other aspects of our identities – e.g., race and class – complicate our sexual identity? Think of Lorde’s essay “Age, Race, Class, and Sex.”
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