Parents keep child's gender identity a secret 'storm'

June 01, 2011|By TIM ROWLAND |
  • Tim Rowland
Tim Rowland

Just when you think the far right has a monopoly on wingnut status, along comes the far left to up the ante.

I don’t really have a beef with either side — their antics generally amuse the 80 percent in the middle, and there’s a lot to be said for that in this often humorless world of ours.

But when they start bringing the kids into it, well, I don’t know.

You can always tell the children of left-wing parents, because they have names like Butterfly and Truth. Kids born to right-wing parents are more apt to me named Ordnance or Ripsaw.

But up until now, parents have generally been pretty good about allowing the child to have an identity based on gender. There have been exceptions of course, but the boys traditionally go out for the team, and the girls traditionally go out to the mall.

This might be about to change — at least if a Canadian couple has their way. At the recent birth of their child, Storm, they decided to withhold the baby’s sex from one and all.

According to Yahoo News, the birth announcement 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? ...).”

So Storm’s identity remains mostly cloudy.

All right, I can understand that maybe in the interest of, you know, just to make sure that, or at least — no, I take it back. I don’t understand any of it.

Is this supposed to be a Johnny Cash situation? The baby grows up tough and mean because everyone thinks the boy is a girl? But if I read this couple correctly, tough and mean isn’t the goal.

The couple said withholding the gender of the baby “gives Storm the freedom to choose who he or she wants to be.”

Well — not really.

I mean, early on I chose to be Johnny Unitas, but it didn’t work out.

In my view, all this does is unnecessarily complicate Christmas. Maybe that’s the point, but if you don’t know whether to get the little critter a toy doll or a toy dinosaur, the tot is likely to wind up with a handful of gift cards.

I remember when I was 10 I wanted a Kenner EasyBake Oven. My relatives looked at me askance, but they got it for me anyway. I was all excited until I discovered that the heat source wasn’t 220 volts, it was just a light bulb, at which point I never used it again. So these things have a way of working themselves out.

The Toronto parents do have one idea I would have dug as a kid: Their children do not go to school, nor are they home-schooled. They are “unschooled,” meaning that the child’s curiosity dictates the curriculum.

As one parent put it, education is “not something that happens by rote from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays in a building with a group of same-age people, planned, implemented and assessed by someone else.”

Whatever that means, I agree with it 100 percent. I like to think that I’m unschooled in the sense that when I was growing up, by rote or not, I didn’t pay any attention to anyone between the hours of 9 and 3.

So on one hand, I kind of admire what this couple is trying to do; on the other, I’m just counting my lucky stars that I’m not their kid.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at Tune in to the Rowland Rant at, on or on Antietam Cable’s WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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