22 March 2013

What I Talk to My Sons About When We Talk About Love

Next week is a big week for the United States Supreme Court.  On Tuesday they will hear oral arguments regarding California's proposition 8, followed by oral arguments involving a challenge to DOMA.  I understand the Supreme Court should not be in the game of setting public policy.  But where public policy is Constitutionally invalid, they should not sit idly by and hide behind the political process.  I worry about the country my kids will inherit.

And this blog is about my kids.  My kids, like all kids, love to play dress-up.  And when they play dress-up, one of my sons likes to wear the most sparkly, fru-fru, taffeta-based, dress-up clothes available in a given box.  Recently, at a family gathering a relative (a relative I know to be an evolved, progressive person) made a comment about this preference along the lines of "so, he's already reaching for that rainbow?"  The relative then quickly backtracked and apologized, asking if they'd offended me by insinuating my son was gay.  I was horrified by the comment.  Not because of what the person might have been saying about my son, but because of the attitudes they apparently thought I possessed.  My boys are young--5, 3 and an infant.  Frankly, I think they are far too young to have formed a "sexual identity" or to have fully determined how they will integrate whatever gender roles to which they have been exposed.  I don't deny that people are born gay or straight, but I think all such major personality traits are part nature and part nurture, and I think we over-sexualize children when we try to figure out such things long before they will be dating.  That being said, Toddling Mom and I try not to pigeon-hole them.  And the models we provide, well, I have a lot more experience putting on makeup than my wife (she hates it, I feel no need to explain my own history with cosmetics here), we split domestic duties in a pretty modern fashion, and, the boys know that she has a law degree and went to work "just like Daddy" and switched careers to become a SAHM.  I like to watch sports and yell at them, while my wife thinks they are all too tame (she always complains when a quarterback slides, and don't get her started about the victory formation). Anyway, we try not to box them in (I did crush my three-year-old when I explained he won't ever "have a baby in his tummy" but I don't think he believed me when I said boys can't nurse babies).

My only hope for them is that one day, each of my boys will find love, that they will find someone to share their life with like I have found in my wife.  I hope they will be married, and I hope they will have a family.  I get the zero-population-growth argument, but c'mon? My kid's kids?  They're worth it.  All of this feels unlikely enough that limiting their options doesn't seem fair.  On The West Wing, one of my favorite shows, one of my favorite quotes is when the President says, about the governments role in the gay marriage debate, "We shouldn't be defining love, and we certainly shouldn't be ill-defining it."  I don't want my boys to grow up in a world where we institutionalize bigotry.  I love that the first President they are likely to remember is the first black President.  I hope they never remember a world where people weren't allowed to marry or raise children because they loved the wrong person.  I find it disconcerting that someone might read this and believe I am mistreating my children, but I hope that is changing.  I hope the world will become less polarized  as they grow up.  So to the conservative Justices, I say, follow your party's credo: lets shrink the role of the federal government, and reverse the trend of over-regulation.  Get out of my bedroom.

1 comment:

  1. ...have I mentioned how much I love you lately????


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