A Canadian couple are going to try - and I have severe doubts about the wisdom of their choice. This was tried back in the 1970s by some feminist parents - what they found was that their boys were still in many ways boys, and ditto for the girls. Much of gender is culturally constructed, but their are many biological elements that are inborn and only alterable by a conscious adult.
A blog at Forbes takes a decidedly mixed view of their choice. Parent Central has a long article on the topic that I will post some of below this one.
Here is some of the article from Parent Central - I recommend the whole piece. They are allowing the children they have to decide their own gender identities by allowing them choose their own clothes, talking with them about cultural gender norms, and so on.
A Canadian couple is raising their 4-month old to be genderless. As Parent Central explains in a long article about baby Storm “while there’s nothing ambiguous about Storm’s genitalia, [the parents] aren’t telling anyone whether their third child is a boy or a girl.”
“When the baby comes out, even the people who love you the most and know you so intimately, the first question they ask is, ‘Is it a girl or a boy?’” says [mom] Witterick, bouncing Storm, dressed in a red-fleece jumper, on her lap at the kitchen table. “If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs,” says [dad] Stocker. Witterick and Stocker believe they are giving their children the freedom to choose who they want to be, unconstrained by social norms about males and females. Some say their choice is alienating.
“Those People Should Be Charged with Child Abuse”
No, that’s not a comment about the Witterick-Stockers. It’s what my Jewish husband says when he sees Ultra-Orthodox parents and their children walking to one of the many Shuls in our neighborhood on Saturday morning. He says these things to rile me, but there’s a deeper truth under his provocations.
When parents decide that they are going to raise their children outside mainstream culture, most of us are horrified. “How will the children ever be able to fit in?” we ask. “Their parents are condemning them to a lifetime of confusion and a near future of harassment and bullying. Those children should be taken away from them. That’s more than irresponsible parenting.”
“That’s child abuse.”
Free to Be, You and Me
Unsurprisingly, the Witterick-Stockers were both raised in liberal homes. According to Parent Central, “Stocker grew up listening to Free to Be … You and Me, a 1972 record with a central message of gender neutrality.”
Far from radical.
It’s far more common for parents to restrict their children’s opportunities than it is for mothers and fathers to open up to their kids every possibility imaginable. Think Christian home schoolers, the Amish, and Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. These are people who deliberately press upon their children their own strict ideologies expecting that they will spend an entire lifetime inside a culture that is counter to one they would otherwise inherit as their geographic destiny.
The Witterick-Stockers say they are not inculcating but unschooling their children. Unschooling is
an offshoot of home-schooling centered on the belief that learning should be driven by a child’s curiosity. There are no report cards, no textbooks and no tests. For unschoolers, learning is about exploring and asking questions . . [a] fringe movement [that] is growing. An unschooling conference in Toronto drew dozens of families last fall.
And Gender Bias?
Gender bias is what the Witterick-Stockers are all about – or, more accurately, all against. They are, they say, raising children for a utopian future in which no ForbesWoman would exist. Because it wouldn’t have to. We wouldn’t have anything to report on – no pitiful showing in the Fortune 500 or the AmLaw 200.
Exxon and General Motors and Pfizer would have as many women as men on their Boards and in the C-suite. Women’s jobs would pay as well as men’s. We wouldn’t have to talk about “comparable worth” or wage equity anymore. No one would judge a person by the color of their skin, their sexual preference or their gender.
But is this the way to go about it?
May 21, 2011Read the whole article.
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“So it’s a boy, right?” a neighbour calls out as Kathy Witterick walks by, her four month old baby, Storm, strapped to her chest in a carrier.
Each week the woman asks the same question about the baby with the squishy cheeks and feathery blond hair.
Witterick smiles, opens her arms wide, comments on the sunny spring day, and keeps walking.
She’s used to it. The neighbours know Witterick and her husband, David Stocker, are raising a genderless baby. But they don’t pretend to understand it.
While there’s nothing ambiguous about Storm’s genitalia, they aren’t telling anyone whether their third child is a boy or a girl.
The only people who know are Storm’s brothers, Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2, a close family friend and the two midwives who helped deliver the baby in a birthing pool at their Toronto home on New Year’s Day.
“When the baby comes out, even the people who love you the most and know you so intimately, the first question they ask is, ‘Is it a girl or a boy?’” says Witterick, bouncing Storm, dressed in a red-fleece jumper, on her lap at the kitchen table.
“If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs,” says Stocker.
When Storm was born, the couple sent an email to friends and family: “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? ...).”
Their announcement was met with stony silence. Then the deluge of criticisms began. Not just about Storm, but about how they were parenting their other two children.
The grandparents were supportive, but resented explaining the gender-free baby to friends and co-workers. They worried the children would be ridiculed. Friends said they were imposing their political and ideological values on a newborn. Most of all, people said they were setting their kids up for a life of bullying in a world that can be cruel to outsiders.
Witterick and Stocker believe they are giving their children the freedom to choose who they want to be, unconstrained by social norms about males and females. Some say their choice is alienating.
In an age where helicopter parents hover nervously over their kids micromanaging their lives, and tiger moms ferociously push their progeny to get into Harvard, Stocker, 39, and Witterick, 38, believe kids can make meaningful decisions for themselves from a very early age.
“What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It’s obnoxious,” says Stocker.
Jazz and Kio have picked out their own clothes in the boys and girls shttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifections of stores since they were 18 months old. Just this week, Jazz unearthed a pink dress at Value Village, which he loves because it “really poofs out at the bottom. It feels so nice.” The boys decide whether to cut their hair or let it grow.
Like all mothers and fathers, Witterick and Stocker struggle with parenting decisions. The boys are encouraged to challenge how they’re expected to look and act based on their sex.
“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.