June 21, 2007

Not The Only Gay Babies In The Village Voice

leather_baby.jpgFirst off, I think I have to call BS on the Village Voice's cover story on gay toddlers: it's horribly written, full of unnecessarily incendiary mock-shock that is an insult to the paper's supposedly progressive and aware heritage. You'd almost think it had been bought by a bunch of alt-niche marketing suits from the provinces. [D'oh!]

From the start, where a dad calls PFLAG--who doesn't return his call!--because his 3-yo son has a Barbie doll, the only thing murkier than the relevance of "sexual identity" to discussion of a preschooler is any sense of what, if anything, the level-headed parents of a kid with even the slightest gender atypical behavior is supposed to do.

[In case you don't read the article, the short answer seems to be, "nothing really, just be supportive, make sure they know they're loved and that everyone's unique/different in life."]

The Voice makes a huge deal about the squeamish silence of the Gay Community on the issue of gay kids, or kids who will eventually grow up to be gay. Frankly, I'd rather have heard more about the childhood memories and experiences, good and bad, of gay people, especially gay parents, who have experience playing for both teams [parent and kid, of course, what did you think I meant?]

After all, every gay today is somebody's son or daughter. And for that matter, every TG today is somebody's son and daughter, but that's a separate issue.

Oh yeah, the leather baby cover photo by David Yellen: WTF??

Queer In The Crib [villagevoice]
You know it's bad when the Gawker comments sound more reasonable [gawker]


Oh, what an awful article. I really don't think that there's much you can tell at that age, and parents worrying about it - or embracing it, whatever - may just be more confusing.

At 4 years old, my son's favorite colors were pink and purple (he wanted up to paint his room pink), he loved sparkly things, tried on dress-up heels and boas, wanted to wear my necklaces, loved butterflies and pretty flowers, and had a treasure box of "jewels." He also loved trucks, trains, and superheroes, digging in the dirt, and rough-and-tumble play. He had several girls he liked to play with, as well as boys. I considered it all just experimenting with his world.

Once he'd been in kindergarten for a few months, though, he became thoroughly inducted into gender stereotypes, declared pink and purple his *least* favorite colors and drew pictures of pirates and monsters. Which is what I expected would happen. (And why we didn't paint his room pink.) I mean, absent cultural stereotypes, wouldn't anyone like sparkly things, butterflies, and rainbows? Anyway, we'll see what happens as he gets older, but I love that he felt free to explore the world as a preschooler, and I don't consider favorite color or choice of toy to be predictors of anything.

Yeah, the beginning was pretty ridiculous. I also don't really even know how much I can buy into the second part. Was the childhood of the gay adults really "gay", or are they just re filtering it based upon their current understanding of themselves? It seems to me that most smart kids will ask questions and role play in situations that could seem gay. Most children have childhood friends of the same gender that they are very close to, and will ask why they can't marry their best friend. If you constantly have fun and adventures with your friend, then as a child, of course you would think that living them would be the best possible world.

I think as a preteen you really start to develop a sexual identity, but I really don't think this is something that parents should be involved in (aside from being supportive). I kind of get the feeling this is another way to compete with other parents. My kids is mensa, a piano prodigy and gay!

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