Storm: The Genderless Baby
Of course, we do not mean a curiosity of nature, an abnormal baby devoid of sex. Storm is quite a normal baby but its parents have decided to keep its gender secret until it comes of age to decide by itself what it wants to be: a boy or a girl! The only people who know its sex are the parents, Storm’s two elder brothers, Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2, and the two midwives who helped to deliver Storm.
Storm was born on the January 1, 2011 from a Canadian couple, David Stocker and Kathy Witterick. The email they sent to announce the birth read:
“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? …)” The reason the parents give for their decision is that parents promote gender stereotypes. “What we noticed is that parents make so many choices for their children. It’s obnoxious,” says Stocker.
Many wonder whether they themselves are not making an ‘obnoxious choice’ already for the child.
Various reactions have come from different people, grand parents, friends and the general public. While some are supportive others question the pertinence of such action.
“Never has an article left me so upset. These parents are turning their children into a bizarre lab experiment,” wrote Heather Reil in an email.
“The world around us has been set by thousands of years of social evolution. To try to undo this evolution through your child is very selfish and very inconsiderate to the child,” said Wayne Leung.
An atheist acquaintance of mine at university used to tease believers about their God and once he told me: “Looks like your God is no better than the other deities who ask for gifts or bribes such as human sacrifices, incense, coconuts and flowers. Why does He ask men to keep a beard?”
“Our God does not ask any of such things of humans. He tells us not to think that the meat or the bloods of the animals we sacrifice reach Him, but our piety does. Learn that wearing a beard is not a law in Islam. It is recommended to encourage masculinity and manhood in men. That is why men are also not allowed to wear satin cloth or gold jewels,” was my reply. It seems that some 1400 years ago our Prophet (SAW) had already anticipated the time of effeminate men and masculine women. (Or were there already effeminate men and masculine women?)
Tremendous efforts are being made by proponents of human homosexuality to prove that homosexuality exists in nature among animals. Some fifteen hundred species have been observed and the results tend to prove that it does exist.[pullquote_left]To say ‘it is my life and I do what I wish with my body’ is unacceptable for a Muslim[/pullquote_left]
One main reason put forward in favor of homosexuality is that it is considered as a natural tendency in some people. God knows the number of natural tendencies that human beings may be subject to, even bestial, suicidal and criminal ones. Islam teaches us self-restraint, not to yield and give way to them. It is our responsibility to control our nafs (venal desires) and to lead a life that contributes to the betterment of society. To say ‘it is my life and I do what I wish with my body’ is unacceptable for a Muslim because he knows that every act of his has repercussions on the society of which he is part. This is a precept of our religion, not to consider only our pleasures but to care about their consequences on others, too.
Here are my thoughts on Storm’s parents’ decision to bring him/her up as neither a boy or a girl:
1. It is a transgression of God’s law.
The Creator is the only one to decide the sex (and gender) of a child as illustrated by this verse from the Surah As-shurah:
“To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He bestows female offspring upon whom He wills and bestows male offspring to whom He wills. Or he bestows both males and females, and renders barren whom He wills. Verily, He is the All-Knower and able to do all things. (Verses 49-50)
2. The ultra liberal tendency of the present dominant civilization entails excesses which defy the laws of nature.
In any community that has not developed the fear of God (taqwa) men feel free to act without any fear of retribution.
3. Man being a gregarious animal is destined to live in society.
The idea of umma and qawm (community) is central in the Islamic thought.
No man is an island. He is influenced by society and in turn influences the making of society. The aim of Islam is to produce an ideal society and to achieve this end; children should be molded to be responsible citizens, not oddities.
4. Contrary to thousand of years of human evolution,
the present society is encouraging the development of individuality in opposition to a sense of belonging to a community.
Individuality is valued at the expense of society and already we see how many communities are paying a high price with youth violence, drug addiction, prostitution and so on as a result of the propagation of such a way of thinking.
5. It is the duty of parents to guide the first steps of their children. They are too inexperienced to make responsible decisions. More than any other animal, children need the guidance and support of parents to develop a balanced personality.
Parents are responsible to provide an environment conducive for the proper development of their children.
In Islam, children are considered as gifts of God and a responsibility. This is beautifully expressed in a paper on Islam and Parenting (Islamic-worldnet):
“The soul of your child is like an uncut precious jewel entrusted unto your care by Allah. To you is given the awesome responsibility of shaping that jewel into a beautiful form, pleasing to Allah.”
Abdool Rahman Dauharry
Abdool Rahman Dauharry is Rector of Victoria College, Mauritius. Formerly, language and literature teacher, he also taught Islamic Studies at secondary level.