Off Topic: Your 5 year old may or may not be gay??

4 Nov

“My Son is Gay. Or Not.” is the title and first line of one of today’s Freshly Pressed blogs on WordPress.  A mother, who clearly loves her child, wrote about how she was fully supportive of her five year old son as he dressed up as Daphne from Scooby Doo for his preschool Halloween party.

And I agree with her. At five years old, kids are creative, expressive, interested in everything around them, and just want to have some fun. If my son wanted to dress as Daphne for Halloween, then so be it. This mother even wrote about how some of the mothers at the preschool approached her and told her how inappropriate his costume was, to which she responded that really it was none of their business.

This woman has over 7,000 comments (update: 35,000) to her post, with most being, “how awesome! you rock as a mom” and similar. I think that’s the easy comment to make, after all; this woman stuck up for her kid. But something about this post really bothered me; I had to reread this post several times to figure out why. What really bothered me about the post was her choice of title. And I can’t believe more people don’t have a problem with it.

Here’s what I commented on her blog:

I can’t overstate how happy I am that you are letting your son just be who he is. He’s five years old, for goodness sake! Halloween is about fantasy and dress up. Anything ‘out of the ordinary’ at five years old is surrounding gender roles…not sexuality.

But something has been nagging me for the past hour since I’ve read this:
The title of the post. And it’s like a rock in my stomach.

This post is about your five year old being who he is, and close minded parents A, B, and C. This isn’t about sexuality at five years old (though I have no doubt whatsoever that you’ll love your son no matter what.)

What if your son finds this blog when he’s older, having no prior knowledge of it? I think, no matter how accepting and loving I am of my son (and I am), he would be so hurt. What if he didn’t read the whole post, but instead finds an archive of the “Freshly Pressed” page – all Freshly Pressed has regarding your post is a picture of your son dressed as a girl, and the title, “My Son is Gay.”

I can imagine my son would be hurt or humiliated, with either “I can’t believe how embarrassed I am by this post” or “I can’t believe my mother outed me when I was five years old to thousands of people.”

If I wrote about this, my title wouldn’t be “My Son is Gay. (Or not.)” It would make more sense if the title were, “So what if he’s dressed up like a girl?” or something similar, because then you’re not addressing the sexuality of a five year old, but instead gender roles.

If her son ever finds WordPress’s Freshly Pressed Archives, here’s exactly what he’ll see:

I’m sorry, but I could not do that to my son. 7,000+ people, however, have failed to consider this. Read her post and some of the comments, then tell me what your thoughts are.

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3 Responses to “Off Topic: Your 5 year old may or may not be gay??”

  1. Mrs. C November 4, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    I read this today, too, and I’m glad you wrote about it! I was curious about your opinion. I think the title is really supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek thing, against Moms A,B, and C. I don’t think she was thinking of her son when she wrote that, and I agree that it was probably a poor choice of title.

    That said, wow, did this article make me stop and think! Would I have a problem with my son dressing up like a girl for Halloween? Absolutely not! I agree that gender norms are completely ambiguous at that age. Would I worry about my son being teased incessantly? Absolutely. People can be so cruel (adults, especially), and I think that 5 is a really young age to potentially have to deal with that. I think I would have talked to the kid more when he had that initial hesitation, just to see if he understood why he was hesitating and what he was afraid of. I just think that’s a really young age to deal with potential bullying and confusion over sexual orientation.

    All around, though? Awesome mom for being so accepting, and to hell with those other moms!

  2. Posky November 5, 2010 at 3:00 am #

    I read the article and loved the sentiment behind it but did slip in hysterics with the title and photo. It was just too ridiculous. I figure if her son chose that for his Halloween costume, he’s going to have a pretty good sense of humor about all of this when he gets older.

    I think she chose that title to get extra attention. It worked but I share your disease about it. It almost seems like she’s exploiting her child, doesn’t it? At any rate, it’s a great story and I’m glad she’s proud of her boy and okay with whatever he is.

    • wittywife November 5, 2010 at 6:51 am #

      I agree – I think she chose the title for attention. I don’t think she meant any harm at all. I still think, though, that the title is a bit much.

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