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The saddest thing about the anti-homosexuality stance held by conservative groups is that it no longer remains an issue of debate for adults, it has permeated into schools, playgrounds and even kindergarten.
There was a time when it was perfectly fine for little kids of any gender to hold hands or hug each other while playing. If a bunch of five year old girls played house, no one gave a second thought that one of them role played daddy or grandpa or brother. Boys could play girl games with their sisters and girls would play boy games with their brothers, it was no big deal. Of course there might be a bit of chuckling or teasing, but nothing serious. Parents, friends, family, neighbors, everyone knew kids were just being kids and over time they grow up to be alright. Why sometimes even moms who had no daughters would try to dress up their sons, do their hair take them shopping while dads who had no sons would try to get their daughters into sports, cars or other guy stuff.
It is a whole different world now. The rhetoric against homosexuality has become so strong that even kids as little as three and five are being picked on. The perception is that its not only wrong to be gay, but wrong to act in any way shape or form like the opposite gender and if this behavior is not curbed now kids will turn gay. It's not just gay teens who are bullied and harassed, but kids of all ages for just doing something different. Tyler Clementi may have been an adult but the recent spate of suicides in America was mostly kids between the ages of 8 to 13. Seriously people, picking on and teasing little kids to the point of suicidal depression. No one should have to go that through really. Even those who don't feel suicidal are growing up messed up and confused if they conform outside, they are alienated from their siblings and cousins of the opposite gender, if they connect with siblings/cousins then they get picked on at school. Kids are no longer playing, having fun, doing what they want but are constantly trying to behave in ways that conform and they don't get picked on. In the thread about suicides I had posted an article on how a five year old girl who like Star Wars and had Star wars bags, water bottlers everything started to ask for a pink water bottle because kids in school were harassing her for not being girlie.
If people want to discourage homosexuality, fine. If people believe girls and guys should behave in a certain way fine. However, I think the line should be drawn with kids. There is absolutely no reason for kids to be harassed or bullies. There is absolutely no reason why kids should be so worried if they are acting or not acting in a certain way. People should just let kids be kids and take a stand when others harass or encourage harassment of kids over such things.
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Or he's not. I don't care. He is still my son. And he is 5. And I am his mother. And if you have a problem with anything mentioned above, I don't want to know you.
I have gone back and forth on whether I wanted to post something more in-depth about my sweet boy and his choice of Halloween costume. Or more specifically, the reactions to it. I figure if I'm still irked by it a few days later, I may as well go ahead and post my thoughts.
Here are the facts that lead up to my rant:
So a few weeks before Halloween, Boo decides he wants to be Daphne from Scooby Doo, along with his best friend E. He had dressed as Scooby a couple of years ago. 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. After requesting a couple of more times, I said sure and placed the order. He flipped out when it arrived. It was perfect.
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?
And then the big day arrives. We get dressed up. We drop Squirt at his preschool and head over to his. 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? So he walks in. And there were several friends of mine that knew what he was wearing that smiled and waved and gave him high-fives. We walk down the hall to where his classroom is.
And that's where things went wrong. Two mothers went wide-eyed and made faces as if they smelled decomp. And I realize that my son is seeing the same thing I am. So I say, "Doesn't he look great?" And Mom A says in disgust, "Did he ask to be that?!" I say that he sure did as Halloween is the time of year that you can be whatever it is that you want to be. They continue with their nosy, probing questions as to how that was an option and didn't I try to talk him out of it. Mom B mostly just stood there in shock and dismay.
And then Mom C approaches. She had been in the main room, saw us walk in, and followed us down the hall to let me know her thoughts. And they were that I should never have 'allowed' this and thank God it wasn't next year when he was in Kindergarten since I would have had to put my foot down and 'forbidden' it. To which I calmly replied that I would do no such thing and couldn't imagine what she was talking about. She continued on and on about how mean children could be and how he would be ridiculed.
My response to that: The only people that seem to have a problem with it is their mothers.
Another mom pointed out that high schools often have Spirit Days where girls dress like boys and vice versa. I mentioned Powderpuff Games where football players dress like cheerleaders and vice versa. Or every frat boy ever in college (Mom A said that her husband was a frat boy and NEVER dressed like a woman.)
But here's the point, it is none of your damn business.
If you think that me allowing my son to be a female character for Halloween is somehow going to 'make' him gay then you are an idiot. Firstly, what a ridiculous concept. Secondly, if my son is gay, OK. I will love him no less. Thirdly, I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off.
If my daughter had dressed as Batman, no one would have thought twice about it. No one.
But it also was heartbreaking to me that my sweet, kind-hearted five year old was right to be worried. He knew that there were people like A, B, and C. And he, at 5, was concerned about how they would perceive him and what would happen to him.
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.
It is obvious that I neither abuse nor neglect my children. They are not perfect, but they are learning how to navigate this big, and sometimes cruel, world. I hate that my son had to learn this lesson while standing in front of allegedly Christian women. I hate that those women thought those thoughts, and worse felt comfortable saying them out loud. I hate that 'pink' is still called a girl color and that my baby has to be so brave if he wants to be Daphne for Halloween.
And all I hope for my kids, and yours, and those of Moms ABC, are that they are happy. 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.
I hope I am doing that.
And my little man worked that costume like no other. He rocked that wig, and I wouldn't want it any other way.
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