Friday, 7 February 2014

A Son Who Loves Dolls

Lori Duron. Apart from being an American blogger who published her first book last year, she is the mother of two amazing sons: Lego-loving, football-playing Chase, and C.J. who, to put it in his own words, is 'a boy who likes all girl stuff'.

About two years ago, I stumbled upon her blog, Raising My Rainbow, and instantly got addicted. Now I know her family the way you know characters from a favourite book which you can read over and over again. In her blog, and later in her book of the same name, Lori writes about everyday incidents in her life and general issues in the lives of families having gender non-conforming kids. It is absolutely heartening to read about her 'adventures in raising a gender creative son', and you will be in love with her kids before you know it.

Her younger son, C.J., loves playing with dolls, twirling around in a tutu, designing his own dresses, and having all things pink and sparkly - stuff that our brain, being tuned to social norms, instantly associates with girls. This woman, though, does not care about making her son conform to gender norms, and I have come to respect her greatly for it.

Even before finding out about her blog, I had condemned gender norms. But back then, I had only ever come across stories of adults who were a part of the LGBTQ community. Her blog took my level of disgust towards homophobia to a whole new level, because it tells the story of a toddler having to explain himself to the world. No child should ever have to do that. Children should feel loved and safe from prejudice at home, at school, in the park, in public places, and everywhere they go, irrespective of their gender or sexuality.

One very important thing that Duron places emphasis on in her book is empathy. She says that if you think teaching children about sexuality isn't appropriate, you can at least teach them to empathise with all human beings, no matter how different they are. This mother is trying to create an environment for her sons where they are not only accepted but also loved for who and what they are. And after a great deal of effort, she has been - to an appreciable extent - rewarded with success. She could not have done all that alone, though. Her friends and family supported her - especially her husband, who was by her side every step of the way. And she's not the only such mother out there. There are several families like hers, families who consider it their duty to love their child, without trying to change him/her.

Unfortunately, they still find themselves at the receiving end of negative remarks from a number of individuals and organisations. Yet, they haven’t given up. They haven’t buckled under the pressure. They’ve stood tall and shielded their kids from the narrow minded society. The only reason they have been able to do this is that they understood that it it's not their child who is flawed; it’s the social conventions.

Makes you wonder - how many parents in a country like ours could do that? How many families would be ready to share their effeminate boy's life with the world instead of hushing it up like a dark secret?
My guess? Next to none. Not nearly enough.

Today, we have skyscrapers, funky automobiles, high-grade technology, and our economy is growing, if not rapidly. But as far as our mind-sets go, we might as well be living in the Stone Age. People see homosexuality as a weakness, a disability - an illness, even. They say it's just another trend - a phase - as a result of which we are exaggerating penny-wise issues. Well, ‘they’ need to open their eyes, as well as their minds. This is not a phase that will pass with the passage of time; this is our respect for the right of every human being to be who they are and love who they want to.

People shun gender non-conforming persons and believe that they are not normal, in the name of religion, nature, humanity, you name it. If you are religious, maybe you should remember that God created them, just like He created you, and contrary to what you might imagine, He will not reward you for treating fellow human beings like scum. If you think gender creativity is even slightly unnatural, let me remind you - these people are also nature's creations, just like you are. Their hormones, feelings and sexuality are no more synthetic than yours. And if you believe they are any less human, let me tell you - they are more human than you could ever imagine being, and they are that much the better for being true to themselves.

I’ll leave you with something to ponder over. Renowned author Ernest Gaines once raised this question: ‘Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable with two men holding guns than holding hands?’

7 comments:

  1. I have a very good friend who is gay. He's really open and proud of it, which makes me feel really happy as he seems to be extremely comfortable in his skin. Also, it makes all of his friends like him even more as there is absolutely no awkwardness to deal with. His confidence and sense of pride is worth a mention.

    However, he hasn't opened up to his parents yet. He says he will let them know later in life when he is financially independent and living all on his own. This shows how the current generation of our country is becoming really supportive of people from the LGBT community. As we guys grow up, and become parents, I think things might improve a little, if not much.

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  2. Also, Tea-Bubbly! As you haven't put up your email id anywhere on the blog, I'll have to ask you to write me an email and get in touch :)

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    1. I agree, our generation is way more pro-homosexuality than the preceding ones. But that does not include the majority of people from our generation. Even if we talk about urban areas only, there are many homophobic youths out there. So, I feel that for people of the LGBTQ community to reach that level of comfort and security in our country, more than one generation will have to go by. We are taking baby steps. But, I suppose baby steps are not nothing.
      And sure, I'll email you, Jalebi Man. :)

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  3. Hats off to Lori Duron!! Nice piece of information :)

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  4. People breathe with their noses, there exist some who breathe with their mouth. Yes, breathing with the nose is healthier than doing it with the mouth. It does have risks. But who gives a damn to that. Today we have many people who are different from what we usually see. Why we perceive them as different is because it opposes god's design. But while going deeper into the meaning of god, He always inculcated the meaning of love, not clothing or sexuality.
    Some conventional believers do have faith in the doctrine that homosexuality is a waste of energy that is meant to produce progeny. It is time for the world to change this mindset, empathise with them and spread the message that it is love and kindness that matters in the end, not how one dresses or who one sleeps with.
    Well done Baboon. I would love to read the book that you have endorsed above.

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  5. That is a wonderful example you just gave there!
    In fact, one very important thing that Duron places emphasis on in her book is empathy. She says that, if you think teaching children about sexuality won't be appropriate, you can at least teach them to empathise with all human beings, no matter how different.
    Thanks a lot for reading and appreciating, Nak! And I think you should definitely read the book! :)

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