Friday, February 11, 2011

Queerty explores raising a "slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous" kid

Inside every strong lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex or questioning adult is a bullied, abused, ostracized, yet fabulous kid. Part of the coming out process is overcoming all of the negatives that are such a huge part of growing up different. We always wonder how much better our lives would have been - would be now - if we had only been raised with more compassion and understanding.

Queerty has taken on this very issue with a feature called Raising My Rainbow, written by a mother of two, whose younger son likes dolls, dresses and being a fairy princess. My first reaction upon hearing about this story was that this was another mom who was exploiting her possible gay kid to achieve fame. So I read this week's post and was very happy to be wrong this time.

First of all the mom in question does not use her real name or the names of her kids and does not show her son's face in the pics she posts. She explains that she became a member of PFLAG after her own brother came out many years ago. This is a mom whose life experience has taught her to accept her son for who he is and to make no excuses or apologies. But that's not to say there aren't some awkward moments in their lives.

As the mom points out, she learned from her PFLAG experience, that when someone comes out, the whole family has to come out. In letting her younger son, C.J., be himself, she feels guilty about setting up her older son for teasing and harassment at school.She writes about an incident at the local playground:
C.J.’s Brother comes over to me. “MOM! C.J. is calling you!” he says with little patience and big attitude. I look up at C.J. and wave, when, in his loudest outside voice, he screams in declaration: “I’m a princess! The most beautiful princess in all the land. I’m Rapuznel letting my hair down.” He proceeds to let his imaginary yards of tendrils down the side of the tower.

Gasps and giggles galore come from the South Orange County Mommy Mafia and their little maniacs.

“Yes you are baby!” I shout back in support. Seriously, what was I supposed to do? What was I supposed to say? Who cares if my son is the most beautiful princess in all the land?

C.J.’s Brother does. He cares. He wants to leave immediately. I give him the standard “five more minutes” and he sulks on the bench for all of them. We get in the car and he is upset. “I’m sorry,” I say.
C.J.'s mom goes on to describe the difficulty in guiding her older son through the pitfalls of having a little brother who's different and what to say to his friends when they ask if C.J. still likes "girl stuff". She suggests that it might be okay to say "no" if he doesn't want to deal with it. When he reminds her that she has always told him that lying is wrong, she explains to her older son sometimes it might be okay to lie, like when celebrities tell a lie to protect their privacy. Maybe not the best example, but you get the point.

She talks about putting away C.J.'s "girl toys" when his older brother's friends come over. She asks, "While we protect C.J.’s brother are we teaching C.J. to hide his true self? Is this an opportunity to teach someone else’s child about celebrating uniqueness in others? Is that my place?"

It's a difficult balancing act  when trying to make sure the needs of both her boys are being met and this mom seems to do it very well. Only time will tell. Check out the full story here.

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