Earlier this month I read about a Toronto couple who were keeping the gender of their 4 month old baby (called Storm) a secret so that they could raise "it" in a gender neutral environment with the idea being that the Child can dress, play and act how it wishes without society forcing the Child to conform to gender norms in what the parents call a "Tribute to freedom and choice." However, I would disagree and say that this is infact a rather astounding tribute to stupidity of the highest order and I will attempt to explain why.
While growing up, children are affected by both nature and nurture and will therefore end up as a product of the two. What the Parents of this Child are trying to do is to exclude the nurture factor altogether and are attempting to raise the child purely on nature. However, when it comes to nature alone we find that the Male brain and the Female brain are infact different and are subjected to different hormonal environments. This is can be seen in clinical tests which have proven that while Men are better at tests that involve spatial awareness and logic, Women tend to do better in tests that involve language and communication. As for the differences in hormonal environments this can be easily seen by looking at the early years of high school. From about first to third year in high school where hormones are raging most Boys tend to become very aggressive and fight with each other a lot, while girls tend to be very "bitchy" and emotional conflicts tend to happen regularly. This is simply nature at work and as both Boys and Girls mature things tend to smooth out very rapidly and everyone gets along much better. Little baby Storm will inevitably go through exactly the same process where his body will clearly tell him exactly what gender he is whether he or his parents agree or not.
The reason I refer to Storm as "he" is because it should be made clear that no question mark really does hover over the head of Storms gender because one look at the child and you can instantly tell that it is a baby Boy. If I am indeed wrong on that then I can only conclude that it is one of the most aesthetically displeasing baby girls I have ever clapped eyes on. The bottom line is simply that this is not - no matter what the Parents might say - an exercise in being individual. It is infact a pretty cruel experiment where poor Storm is the Guinea-Pig. The practical implications of this should be apparent right away: the poor boy will free isolated in school since he may find he does not fit in with either the girls or the boys and he may also find it strange to engage in social situations later on in life. More Parents should realise that there actions will have serious consequences for their Children as they grow up. This can be illustrated with Parents who give their Children ridiculous names and similarly Storm's Parents should realise they are treading a very fine line between pushing boundaries and all out social suicide for their son.
Even if everything went well for Storm and his upbringing was a success (even though I'm not sure how you would define success in this case) I very much doubt that he would be any happier than had he received a traditional or normal upbringing. Therefore an exercise such as the one his Parents are embarking on is entirely fruitless and futile in the grand scheme of things.
In conclusion I would once again like to clarify that I am all for being individual but that there is a fine line between being individual and just being plain weird. There are countless Men and Women who do not follow the crowd and are yet perfectly "normal" and strong in character. This is because they do not need a PR stunt such as this to put forward their "Tribute to freedom of choice" in a move that benefits absolutely nobody.
Having said that I wish Storm the absolute best and every success in the future!