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FIRST-PERSON: Genderless children & the real culture war

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
ARLINGTON, Va. (BP)--The concept is utterly ridiculous: a "genderless" baby.

Yet, that's what parents Kathy Witterick and David Stocker in Toronto hope to raise -- a baby of undefined gender, free from society's "constraining" expectations.


Their baby, who bears the androgynous name "Storm," was born four months ago. Instead of the usual pink or blue birth announcement, Kathy and David sent a message to family and friends that 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? ...)."

And, they've kept the secret of Storm's biological gender since then, dressing him or her in ambiguous colors like red, and avoiding the use of limiting pronouns.

The parents believe that by acknowledging the child as male or female, they will be limiting Storm's ability to "discover for him/herself what s(he) wants to be."

Once Storm is old enough to define who he or she is, then the parents will honor that choice. Until then, they refuse to divulge whether Storm is male or female. The parents, however, have revealed the baby's sex to Storm's two brothers, Jazz (5) and Kio (2).

No worries that Jazz or Kio will relate to Storm in stereotypical fashion; they are far too busy defining their own gender identities.

Jazz, for example, wears his hair in three long braids, likes dresses, and wears nail polish. Kio prefers the color purple, and he too wears his hair long.

The parents admit that this gender self-definition can be difficult for the kids -- most people assume Jazz and Kio are girls, which upsets Jazz. Although sometimes he doesn't correct people who think he's a girl, other times he wants his mother to tell people that he is indeed a boy.


What's the matter with these parents? Have they no friends or nearby adults with sound judgment who could shake them out of their gender-blind utopia, and tell them to affirm their children's God-given identities?

They have placed a confusing and unnecessary burden on their own children: telling them to ignore the significance of their own bodies and sexual anatomy, and charging them with the task of figuring out who they "really" are based on vague feelings and day-to-day clothing preferences. And, all before they are old enough to watch PG movies.

It would be comical if it were not so damaging to very real children.

And, it would be easy to dismiss if it were not the leading edge of a wave of "gender variant" nonsense washing over educators, doctors and psychologists. It's seeping under the doors of our schools and into our children's classrooms under the guise of anti-bullying seminars and gender-diversity sloganeering. (The National Education Association even has a "National Diversity Training Cadre" to help schools implement its diversity tool kit.)

This gender nonsense serves as a strong reminder that the cultural war over same-sex "marriage" is not really about pension benefits and hospital visits for long-time same-sex couples. At heart, it's a culture war over whether human beings get to redefine the contours of normal sexuality, overriding natural anatomy and reproductive purposes.

In short, ignoring God's design for human beings.

Good parents teach their children to celebrate the identity that comes built in: male or female. Each child's innate masculinity or femininity is a stable platform that supports rich individuality, distinctive style, and personal talents.


That's not a limitation. It's a gift.

And, it's heartbreaking that Storm's parents can't see it.

A baby gender cake is a harmless trend that puts a new twist on finding out the sex of a child. Raising a "genderless" child, however, is a perversion of the divine miracle of giving birth and raising a child.

As parents, we must teach our children that their identities are no mystery to God. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." (Jeremiah 1:5). And we must embrace who we are -- male, or female -- as God's perfect design for us. "You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." (Psalm 139:14).

Rebecca Hagelin is a pro-family advocate, speaker and author. Her latest book is "30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family." Sign up for her e-newsletter at

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press


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