The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Too Much? Too Young? To Gay

I had one reaction upon watching this video.

Once upon a time I was that little boy, in more ways than I could begin write about here. If I could give a word of advice to his parents it would be this:

Let him be who he is.

Accept him for who he is.

Be on his side.

Even if you don’t fully understand.

Of course, the video doesn’t necessarily indicate that this boy is gong to grow up to be gay. But so what if he does?

Whomever and whatever he turns out to be, he will be better and stronger for his parents having done the above. He’ll have the confidence that who he is is worthy of love and respect, no matter what anyone else says. And he won’t get that by them teaching him that he has to be something else or someone else to be worth of that.

If my experience is any indication, he probably doesn’t need anybody to tell him that he’s going to face all kinds of hostility and harassment. That’s probably already started by now. He’s probably already felt it by now. There are already enough people who think that’s what he needs, like the folks at NARTH. And if that were enough to force him or convince him to conform to some accepted standard of masculinity, he probably would have by now.

It’s not “too much Beyonce” any more than it was “too much Diana Ross” when I was growing up, or “too much Lena Horne,” or “too much Dorothy Dandridge,” before my time. It’s not that he doesn’t have a father in the home or a male role model in the home, or that there’s an ineffective male role model in the home. I had my dad at home, and a more traditional male role model I can’t imagine.

The reality is, more than likely the boy can’t help it. I couldn’t. I knew it. And though my parents tried to encourage me towards more acceptably masculine behavior, it didn’t work and it left me more hurt and frustrated than I might have been otherwise. Instead, it reinforced what I was experiencing elsewhere, and the result was that there wasn’t anywhere I was accepted just as I was. Not even at home. I couldn’t count on anyone to be on my side. The loved me, and did the best they could, but what happened happened.

Nothing will break this boy’s spirit more than requiring him to compete in an arena he’ll never be equipped for, judging him by a standard he’ll never measure up to, and then ridiculing him when he inevitably fails. Teach him shame, and he will be ashamed. Teach him that he deserves ridicule and somewhere deep down he’ll accept it.

Love him, and he will love himself. Respect him, and he will respect himself. Appreciate him, and he will appreciate himself. What’s more, teach him that who he is and the gifts he possesses have value, and he will not be convinced otherwise no matter what anyone may say or do to him later. He will know who he is and know that it is good. He will have a foundation. Thus his family will have helped him to stand up to almost anything.

Will he have a hard life? Unfortunately, it’s possible he will. But it will be even harder if he has to go it alone, even when he’s surrounded by his family and community. He’s too young to be abandoned. He’s too young to go it alone, and asking him to do so — to be someone other than who he is, or risk losing support — is asking too much.

Believe it or not, “I love you, now change,” is not unconditional love. However young he is, he’s old enough to know that.

Long story short, I survived. It took a lot of pain and loneliness, and more years after that to heal from it all. Time and energy that might have gone to something else if I’d had support and acceptance from the beginning.

I remember when I was older and we were visiting relatives in southern Georgia, a younger cousin of mine made a show of parading around in his mother’s high heels. He thought it was funny, and got a few laughs, but mingled among those laughs were admonitions to his mother to put a stop to his behavior, up to an including “whipping his ass.” I heard echos in the comments on this video.

It’s not right to judge this child or anyone for that matter but if I was this son’s father I would not be proud or impressed. I’d say he needs some prayer or therapy, whichever you believe in!

hahahaaaaaaa yall are right … he is going to be a homo…

This lil boy is going to grow up to be a homo. Yall are right he needs a FATHER in his life. To much goddamn time on his hands. And his moms thinks this shit is cute. I would of smaked the piss out the kid and tell him to go put some goddamn 2 Pac.

I also thought of this kid, whose story I blogged a while ago.

A 21 year old Tampa man is charged with murder after his 3-year old son was pummeled into unconsciousness and then died.

Ronnie Paris Jr. went on trial for his own life this week in a Tampa courtroom. The toddler’s mother, Nysheerah Paris, testified that her husband thought the boy might be gay and would force him to box.

Nysheerah Paris told the court that Paris would make the boy fight with him, slapping the child in the head until he cried or wet himself. She said that on one occasion Paris slammed the child against a wall because he was vomiting.

The court was told there had been a history of abuse by Paris. Prosecutor Jalal Harb said that in 2002, the Florida Department of Children & Families placed the child in protective custody after he had been admitted to the hospital several times for vomiting.

He was returned to his parents Dec. 14. A month later he went into a coma and was rushed to hospital. Six days later he was removed from life support and died. An autopsy showed there was swelling on both sides of his brain.

“He was trying to teach him how to fight,” Nysheerah Paris’ sister, Shanita Powell told the court. “He was concerned that the child might be gay.”

My freshman year of college, I came out (again) on campus in a pretty big way. Word got back to my dorm, and all the guys on my hall knew. My R.A., a black student, called me into his room to see if I was OK and if there was anything he could do. He made a remark that stayed with me.

“It’s hard enough being a black man, but to be gay too?”

My response was, “I don’t have any other way to be.” You work with what you got, and do the best you can.

My guess is that this boy doesn’t have any other way either. What he needs is to know that somebody’s got his back. Not further reinforcement that he should be someone other than who he is.

If that much could start with even this one kid, the result might be just a little less unnecessary pain and suffering in the world. That would be something. Wouldn’t it?

5 Comments

  1. OMG that video brought back such intense memories. When I was a little gay boy age 10, I used to watch the Red Skelton Show (what did I know from comedy at that age?) and when the dancers did their thing (as they did on all “variety comedy shows” in those days) I would dance along with them, alone in front of the TV.

    One day, as I was dancing, my mother passed by the door to the living room, and decided to stay there and watch me dance, surreptitiously she thought. I saw her though. And I was mortified, since I knew this wasn’t something my parents would be particularly proud or supportive of. But I didn’t stop dancing. And when they dancers on TV were finished, I turned and bowed just as they did, only in the direction of my mother, so she could see I knew she had been there watching. I wasn’t going to show the shame I felt. But it took me years to allow myself the pleasure of dancing again.

    There’s a book by Laura Huxley (the wife of Aldous Huxley) called “You Are Not the Target,” in which she has an essay on the positive effects of dancing naked in front of a mirror for an hour a day.

    I celebrate the little boy in this video. May he grow up surrounded by people who make him feel so natural that simply being himself doesn’t take an act of courage, but is merely the natural response to love and freedom.

  2. That kid is freakin adorable. Gay or not, he could grow up to be one hell of a dancer.

    But those comments reveal how a lot of homophobia is really about gender normativity rather than sex. Take a kid who is probably too young to have any sort of well-developed sexuality, film him dancing in an ‘unmanly’ way, and people call it gay and sinful. I think the ‘root’ of homophobia is good ol machismo and misogyny.

  3. I guess I just don’t get it. I see an adorable little boy who loves to dance and sing to a song he obviously loves. So????

  4. These are the children that get hurt the most.

    Protecting these little flamers (who may not be gay when they get older but have that spring in their step that indicates true vivacity and joi de vivre) is why so many people are fighting homophobic bullying and education about sexual identity in schools from an early age.

    The truth is that bigots WANT kids like this beaten into submission, beaten and taunted until they hang their little heads and the spring drains out of their step. They see violence as a necessary mechanism of social control: killing off the sissies and tomboys and forcing them to conform to meaningless, joyless stereotypes.

    Singing and dancing or beating and mocking?

    I think any decent person cam see what the right thing to do is. This little guy is against God? Not my God.

  5. I just get so upset by comments like the ones that I see on that board.

    First off I watched it and to me I don’t think there was anything about it that I would make me label the kid as gay. I’ve taught dance to lots of boys this age. Some turned out gay, most not, but really too young to tell and I would never judge based on dancing ability. One of my best students turned out to be a womanizing jerk.

    But mostly I think these comments come because he is emulating a woman. Boys should be ashamed of thinking there is anything worthy to be emulated in women. I mean they are nothing but sex objects right? Virgins or whores. It’s completely degrading to pretend to be one if you are male. Do you think that if this was a little girl emulating the way Shaq dunked there would be this spewing of scripture and rush to decide that she was a lesbian? Hell no. We would all laugh because it was cute. I mean men are worth emulating. Male actions are worthy of admiration. I mean some may cluck that she should be perusing more feminine hobbies like Barbies or the easy bake oven but I don’t think we would see this kind of open hostility.

    This turned into a full length blog post…seems a rant came out of me about gay marriage and feminism and I didn’t want to be all off topic here. If interested please read at my blog.

%d bloggers like this: