Thursday, November 11, 2010

You Son's Gayness is Not the Issue

This blog post has been making quite a stir around Facebook and elsewhere:

In it, a mother proclaims her support for her son wanting to dress like a girl, and the likelihood that he will possibly (probably?) eventually become gay.

After reading it, I proceeded to scroll down through the hundreds of comments, the overwhelming majority of which were in complete support and adoration for this mother. Similarly, there have been many Facebook friends posting a link to the blog, accompanied by supportive statements.

Well, perhaps needless to say, I would very much like to disagree with her, but I am going to attempt to do so in a way that is contrary to the few other Christian commenters who I think are coming across as mean-spirited, hateful, and unfortunately counter-productive (however good-intentioned).  See below.

Parental Responsibility Regarding Homosexuality

In response to this blog:

First of all, you are taking your son to a church preschool, but you're surprised that the adults there don't approve of your son's costume? Maybe you personally don't have any morals regarding sexuality (I was hesitant to make the purchase, not because it was a cross gendered situation, but because 5 year olds have a tendency to change their minds.). But how on Earth could you be surprised that Christianity (and the people that adhere to it's teaching) does?

If you dressed your teen-aged daughter in a bacon bikini and sent her to a fundamentalist Muslim school, would you be surprised and offended if the adults there do not smile and accept her with open arms? Or would you expect there to be some sort of backlash and rebuke (and even fear for her safety) from what you know is contrary to their teachings about modesty and disgust for pork?

So why is it different for Christianity? The Bible is pretty clear on what God thinks of homosexuality (it's a sin), so if you don't agree with it, then don't let your son go to a CHURCH preschool. Or if you DO want him to still go to the school, then please respect the beliefs and morals that accompany the associated religion, no matter which one it is.

Then as we got closer to the actual day, he stared to hem and haw about it. After some discussion it comes out that he is afraid people will laugh at him. I pointed out that some people will because it is a cute and clever costume. He insists their laughter would be of the ‘making fun’ kind. I blow it off. Seriously, who would make fun of a child in costume?

Boo doesn’t want to get out of the car. He’s afraid of what people will say and do to him. I convince him to go inside. He halts at the door. He’s visibly nervous. I chalk it up to him being a bit of a worrier in general. Seriously, WHO WOULD MAKE FUN OF A CHILD IN A COSTUME ON HALLOWEEN?

Maybe you were home schooled (lack of social exposure?), or maybe you were so popular (and isolated?) that you never experienced children making fun of each other. But if so, then let me provide some clarity: Kids make fun of each other. At every chance they get. You can attribute this to whatever you want to (insecurity, establishing natural social division, or perhaps just plain evil), but that's just the way it is, and has always been.

If you don't know this, then you are either seriously ignorant, or in incredible denial. But if you DO know this, then you purposefully misled your son to believe that it didn't exist, despite his very valid fears about it.

If my daughter had dressed as Batman, no one would have thought twice about it. No one.

I had to think about this for a while, because while it IS true, I had a hard time figuring out why. But I think I got it. At this point in his maturity, your son doesn't have any masculine qualities to combat his feminine appearance. So he looks very much like a girl.

However, at this point in a girl's maturation, she still looks very feminine (no facial hair, no bulging muscles, smooth skin, probably long hair, etc), even if dressed up as Batman. If, however, a woman did appear very masculine (have you heard the term "butch"?), then she would in all likelihood be made fun of, just like a boy who looks like a girl. That doesn't make it right, but it certainly isn't unexpected either.

Just as it was heartbreaking to those parents that have lost their children recently due to bullying. IT IS NOT OK TO BULLY. Even if you wrap it up in a bow and call it ‘concern.’ Those women were trying to bully me. And my son. MY son.

There is a significant difference between bullying and trying to persuade, convince, or even lovingly rebuke. And there is nothing in the situation as you described it that indicated anything but these ladies gently trying to provide clarity to you about the situation you put your son in.

If a set of purple sparkly tights and a velvety dress is what makes my baby happy one night, then so be it. If he wants to carry a purse, or marry a man, or paint fingernails with his best girlfriend, then ok. My job as his mother is not to stifle that man that he will be, but to help him along his way. Mine is not to dictate what is ‘normal’ and what is not, but to help him become a good person.

Making your child happy is certainly a part of being a mother. But it's also your job to TEACH your child. About how to survive, about right from wrong, and about the laws, both legally AND socially that govern our society. And it IS your job to dictate what is 'normal', because he has no idea what that is yet. Now, if he chooses to deviate from what you taught him, then that is up to him. But you still have to TEACH him first.
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