Thursday, November 11, 2010

Boy + Pink (does not) = GAY

When I saw this post entitled My Son is Gay, written by the parent of a five-year-old boy who wanted to dress as Daphne from Scooby Doo (and the flack adults gave her), it not only made me furious, but it reminded me of a post I wrote almost two years ago about my own son.

So I dug it up from my archives and decided to re-post it. In light of all the gay bullying going on, I think both of our posts stand the test of time.

Here it is:

My little guy is the sweetest. He's a hugger and very loving. I wouldn’t trade that for the world. So I want to cherish him and his gentle disposition as long as possible.

He has varied interests like all kids do. He likes shiny, shimmery stuff, like mommy’s jewelry, and always touches and samples the pieces I make out of my home business. He also creates his own jewelry from string and beads, and proudly wears it. But he also loves Star Wars, Legos, dinosaurs, Sponge Bob, and wrestling with his daddy.

He’s not picky about what he wears to school. There was only a handful of times that he wanted to wear something specific like his bright orange crocs or his bright yellow polo short because he said it was fancy.

Speaking of fancy, they read the FANCY NANCY book at school and were having a tea party the next day. My son was very excited about it.
He decided to wear a “fancy” shirt for the event.
When I picked him up from school I was told that the tea party went well and that the girls were brought costumes and hats to wear. My son was beaming, told me all about it, and said he was allowed to wear one of the purple outfits.

So now I come to my point. I think without realizing it, we adults help shape our boys and girls. Yeah, there are things that are definitely inherent in them. Boys are generally more active and use large motor skills. Girls are generally better with fine motor skills, and enjoy crafts and "mothering" dolls early on. But there are exceptions on both sides.

I think the teachers should have brought the boys costumes too. But they probably didn’t think about. Thankfully they're good teachers and let him choose one.

Here’s another example. At our haircut place, the kids get a prize at the end of the cut. My son turns a handle on this machine and out pops a prize. The prize this last time was a sparkly bracelet. He was thrilled. The women behind the counter saw her "mistake" and quickly tried taking it back from him. She offered him the boy’s prize instead- a train whistle. She apologized profusely to me. This stunned me. Did she think I'd be angry?

Anyway, I asked my son to pick b/w the two prizes. What do you think he picked? That’s right, the sparkly bracelet, which he promptly put on his wrist.
Now, I'm not saying I haven't also been conditioned to think this way. We all are, call it generational or societal. It just happens!

The other day my son came home wearing a clip with a feather attached that he “made”. He wanted to wear it out to dinner that night and for a moment I winced (mainly b/c other people can be cruel). I had to ask myself what the big deal was. He did end up wearing it, and the earth did not cave in!
So what has my son taught me about life? Chill out, and enjoy making memories, because these moments are fleeting. Also, no matter what comes your way, you will get through it. THERE ARE WORSE THINGS THAN YOUR CHILD FAVORING A "GIRL" TOY for God's sake!

After all, boys like sparkly and shiny things too, and maybe even the colors pink and purple!

They like to dress up and act things out. What’s so wrong with that?

And if my child ends up being gay? I will cherish him as FIERCELY as I do now (maybe even more so).

I just happen to be LUCKY enough to have two gay relatives in my life!

Why am I lucky? Because without them, I wouldn't have a CLUE about resilience, tenacity, acceptance, and unfortunately--how very cruel the world can be!

THANK YOU S. and A.--for showing me what unconditional love really is!


Unknown said...

Boys will be boys, it doesn't matter what they wear, if they want to dress in pink or wear bows let them!!!

Great post!

Matthew MacNish said...

This post is ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS! I love it. I only have two daughters but I also have a nephew who stays with us a lot. He's four, so he is HEAVILY influenced by my daughters, and loves to dance and play with dolls and dress up and do girly stuff with them. Why in the hell would I worry about that? I WAS my big sister's doll for the first several years of my life, and I'm not gay, and even if I was I would still be just as awesome as I already am (which is really awesome).

My nephew also loves Star Wars, and LOTR, and Harry Potter and plenty of "normal" boy stuff. He was Darth Vader for Halloween for goodness sake.

Sorry for going on so long, but I love this post.

End rant.

Felicity Grace Terry said...

I so agree. Funny to think that traditionally pink was considered a boy's colour and blue a girls. I think kids go through many different phases as they grow anyway and just because we dressed one way/played with such and such a toy does not mean we will turn out to be X/Y OR Z. Take me, no one loved their dollies more than me but I knew from an early age I didn't want children. Then there was my sister who wanted nothing more than a toy garage and cars (she never got them)and was never out of jeans who went on to have children. I could go on, in fact I think I will but that's a whole other post.

Unknown said...

I LOVE this! I will be tweeting it immediately. Thank you so much for sharing.

LisaDay said...

You are right, boys can be boys and girls can be girls but I think it's lovely that my guy shows care for dolls and wants to have coffee parties.

Strange reaction from the hairdresser. I would imagine someone once yelled at her.


Liz Mays said...

I think that flash of "what will people think?" goes through our heads at first, but then most of us realize that we don't really care!

Like you, whether they're gay or straight matters not to me. I want them to be happy and healthy and my love is unconditional!

Lydia Sharp said...

This post seriously could have been me writing about my own son. It's THAT accurate to my experience and my own feelings.

My son is just like yours -- his tastes vary greatly. But he's a kid, only 6 years old... he's still learning about himself.

Hell, I'm 32 and still learning.

Great post! Thanks so much for sharing this.

Maddy said...

Kudos to you and the mom from the "My Son is Gay Post". I can't believe she's had 43K comments on her post! We live in a world filled with terrorist attacks, violent crimes, financial chaos and a little boy putting on a "girl's costume" has everyone up in arms?! That's ridiculous that this is what people focus on. It's a truly sad!

Leah (aka Mary_not_Martha) said...

I also saw the original post "My son is gay" and wrote a post about the effects on kids with parent bloggers" (for later next week). I think your son is adorable. I have four boys and once in awhile there's a surge in "pink sparkly" stuff but it doesn't last. Eventually they decide on their own it's not for them. I can't imagine anyone talking down to me as a little girl if I was to do tomboy things or wear a boys article of clothing - where's the creativity people?

Amparo Ortiz said...


Excellent post. This is one battle I refuse to back down from--who the heck are other people to tell us/our loved ones how to be? So lame...

K. M. Walton said...

Christina, I knew I liked you for good reason! Open minded, open hearted people are the only kind of people I let into my life...intolerant, ignorant & judgemental people don't do any human being any kind of good. We were all put on this earth to love.

storyqueen said...

Christina, I just loved this post.

And I love that you let your son be who he is. How horrible the world would be if we were all the same.

Well done!


Laura S. said...

Beautiful post! Why is it okay for little girls to play with trucks and wear black and blue but not okay for little boys to wear pink and play with dolls? Boys should know about nurturing, too! To little kids, a toy is just a toy and a color is just a color. It's the adults who make children differentiate between "girl things" and "boy things." Sad!

Stefanie Wass said...

If we all just loved one another and stopped JUDGING, the world would be a better place. Thanks for this post...and the adorable pictures of your son! What a cutie!

Sharlene T. said...

What a lovely post! In the animal world, the males are the most colorful. Isn't that true? So, why are we surprised when our boys love bright, sparkly, things? Don't we all? I think it's very important that boys are allowed the freedom to develop their skills in beauty and color, to enable future careers expansion. Thanks for the re-post... Come visit when you can...

Melissa said...

Your son has a right to do and wear whatever he pleases. He's a kid, let him be a kid. Personally, I'm worried about any kid who DOESN'T like shiny things. Are they CRAZY? Shiny things rock. So do sparkles.

There needs to be more moms like you in the world. You need to love your kids no matter what.

I'm glad I have a mom who never gave up on me, even when I was a crazy kid. I'm thankful everyday that I have a mom who gets my quirks and never tried to change me. When I was younger, teachers, doctors and a few family friends (who are no longer family friends) tried to make my mom put me on Ritalin, they kept saying there was something wrong with me. That my attention span was too short, I had too much energy, whatever. My mom basically told them to go screw themselves. I'm perfectly fine. Better for it. Actually.

I went through some rough things and other people wanted my mom to just give up on me. She never did and I'm way stronger for it. She just loved me.

Moms need to do that.

Little Ms J said...

So sweet.

Melissa Gill said...

What a great post. (Although getting choaked up at work is almost as bad as bursting out laughing). But I think this is such a hard issue. I remember when my neice was 2-5 she loved Thomas, Spiderman, Incredible Hulk, anything boy. She even wore little boys spider man briefs for a couple of years. Then her little friends started telling her they were "boy things" (she doesn't run with that crowd anymore.)

My nephew on the other hand loved the color pink which I was totally down with because that's my fave. But after he started school he rapidly changed to green.

I don't know who's responsible for assigning these gender roles, etc, to kids, but it feels sort of like swimming against the tide.

But thanks for sharing and for letting your kid be who he is. He'll be a more confident man for it, no matter what.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Your son sounds gorgeous. You are right to cherish every memory. :)

Talei said...

I agree with so many comments here. And you know what - my son sounds exactly like yours. He love sparkly things, he loves my pretty dresses, tells all the time, he loves pink and orange - and blue and green and lego and lord forbid has just discovered transformers!! I buy him pink shirts because I love them. He's only young and exploring the world.

Absolutely agree with you, and I thank my little one for teaching me unconditional love every day.

Krispy said...

Too true. Gender and gender roles are all social constructs.

There needs to be more awesome parents like you in the world. Srsly.

Meredith said...

Such a great post. The gender divide is so ingrained in society that sometimes it's hard to step back and realize that it doesn't matter. Love that your son taught you that lesson!

Lourie said...

I love LOVE this post. It's so true. We need to let these sweet kids be who they are. And if a boy likes and a girl likes to climb trees (ME) it doesn't mean a darn thing other than they are free spirits. Oh to be so free. Great post!!

Pamela Gold said...

I'm the mama to three wonderful boys. I'll admit that I kind of cringe if I see any of them lean toward something a little bit feminine but they have their own likes and dislikes and who am I to judge? If they are comfortable then I am comfortable. Happy is happy. End of story!

Laura Pauling said...

Funny thing is - no one reprimands a girl for being a tomboy - or thinks she's gay! Good for you not bringing up a paranoid son!