Go read the post Casey wrote about getting beaten up as a little boy for being quiet and liking to read and make up little songs, and then come back and read this response I wrote to him. There are some other good responses on his page too. This just makes me feel so sad and angry on behalf of our boys and men.
Oh man what a sweetheart you are! That was so moving Casey, you made me cry, and I really don't cry that much these days. Having lived through so much hurt through these last few years, has kind of lowered the threshold for me, or should I say raised it *shrug* ?
I have a ten year old son, and watching him go to school and come home wounded over and over again is so fucking painful. Stuff happens to him all the time, and I am forever going after people's jerk children like some kind of angry lioness in defense of a cub.
Just today he came home depressed because a little kid on the bus called him a fucking asshole, because he wasn't waiting where he used to, when the school secretary told him he couldn't stand there any more and had to move. Argh! There was a little girl a few weeks ago who refused to sit next to him and then kicked him several times because he's "gross". Of course then another kid turned to her and called her a bitch. And this is on a special school bus that is really a van driven by retired police officers, and their families.
It is so shocking to me how differently the other kid's parents are choosing to raise them. They are so typical and traditional and backwards.
Beau is such an amazingly wonderful little being. He used to be so pure and full of hope and love. If I could be the ruler of the universe I would force everyone to evolve and raise their kids more fairly and equally. I try really hard to support his own natural inclinations and instincts, within reason. It's not like I'm going to let him pierce his nipples and drive a Harley, but when he wanted to bleach and dye his hair blue in second grade, I let him.
My husband had just lit out with his stripper girlfriend, blew off his birthday, and didn't even bother to call or come by for months. So for the first time in his whole little life, his father was just simply gone, and his mom was weeping, and things pretty much sucked. So when he got this idea, and it seemed like it would give him something fun and different to focus on, I was all for it. But of course people freaked out!!! It was like a kind of litmus test/search for enlightened, tolerant, open-minded people. the parents who celebrated his uniqueness were the good guys, and the parents who judged us as being bizarre were in turn judged by us as being uptight conformists.
I have worked so hard to keep his universe sex and race-discrimination free. His first run-in with sex discrimination happened in preschool. One day when he as about four or five he asked if he could take his little baby boy doll to school because his teacher had told the kids to pick a favorite toy for shopw and tell. So he took his doll and when it was his turn to stand up and talk about his favorite toy, the other five year olds laughed at him and called him a fag.
Four and five year olds knowing the word fag, at the best preschool in all of Los Angeles! A preschool so exclusive the Sultan of Brunei's kids went there, and people try to register their kids as soon as they're born. The same preschool OJ Simpson's kids, and Val Kilmer and Bob Townsend and so many other industry heavyweight's kids went to, I'm just too tired to try to remember any more to list here. (I don't know what made me think these parents would be more enlightened. OJ Simpson certainly wasn't, but we all thought he was then. He was always so kind to all of us. His son Justin was a total bully. One time, in grammar school when he dropped some change, Beau innocently picked it up and handed it back to him, he threw it as hard as he could at his face.)
I mean what were their parents doing to them? How many words could they have known by then? Did they use flashcards; Mommy, Daddy, Milk, Cookies, Fag!? Beau was so sweet with that doll. He had LEGOs and trucks and Hot Wheels and God knows what else, but he had wanted that doll when he saw it. It was a little boy baby doll and he liked to put it to bed and bathe it and feed and generally take care of it. it was so great because he was getting a chance to learn to be a good doll parent. Then because some stupid fucked up homophobic parents come along, and decide to follow the same old weed choked paths of their own parents, and teach their little tiny children that girls can have dolls but boys should have guns and trucks, my little guy gets picked on and labeled.
Well, he was no dummy, he got burned, came home crying, and that was the beginning of the end of his ever letting anyone know he liked girlie things too. Shit, it's so unfair, we want our men to be loving and sensitive and be great dads and husbands, who can share their feelings, but we beat the hell out of them as kids if they cry or show any sensitivity. It's soooo wrong!!!!!!
I'm really sorry to go off here, I just get so mad when I hear about sweet, sensitive obviously talented, artistic, creative little kids like you who get beat up for being different. Oh man that makes me sooooo mad. I want to strangle someone, really, I'm sorry, I want to be pacifistic and understanding but this stuff just makes me go (I'm taking off my boots here and hope you'll get the reference) bezerk! I'm so sorry you had to live through that. Poor little lamby-pie. I don't really believe in linear time so I'm going to imagine myself going to your schoolyard and hovering around you and shooing away the bad kids. Then if anyone manages to come over to you and be anything but nice, I'm going to follow them home and pull their hair and kick them in their shins and give them really bad nightmares, so there.