Culture Challenge of the Week: Gender Nonsense
The concept is ridiculous: a "genderless" baby.
Yet that's what parents Kathy Witterick and David Stocker 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?)."
They have kept the secret of Storm's biological gender since then, dressing the baby in ambiguous colors such as red and avoiding the use of limiting pronouns.
The parents believe that by acknowledging the child as male or female, they would 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, 5-year-old Jazz and 2-year-old Kio.
No worries, however, 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 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 he is indeed a boy.
What is 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 children by 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. All before they are old enough to watch PG-rated movies.
It would be comical if it were not so damaging to these 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 the association's diversity tool kit.)
How to Save Your Family: Affirm Your Child's Innate Masculinity or Femininity
This gender nonsense serves as a strong reminder that the war over same-sex marriage is not really about pension benefits and hospital visits for longtime same-sex couples.
At heart, it's a 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.
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." (Psalms 139:14)
Good parents teach their children to celebrate their built-in identity, 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.
It's heartbreaking that Storm's parents can't see it.
• Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at email@example.com.
© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.