Handsome in Pink

Let’s make a law that gay people can have birthdays, but straight people get more cake – you know, to send the right message to kids. – Bill Maher

My son likes pink. A lot.

He also likes to wear his sister’s plastic high heel shoes around the house and will carry her purse all sassy-like on his right shoulder.

Clip-clop. Clip-clop.

As we get ready for dinner and we ask him which cup he wants, it’s always the purple one.

With flowers on it.

The other day our amazing Au Pair, Heather, went to pick up Nico from school. She was wearing this pink sweater with Red hearts on it. Here is what it looks like.

      Heather’s Sweater. Forever 21.

The first thing out of Nico’s mouth when he saw Heather was, “Heather, I love your sweater. I just love it!” He brought his hands to his cheeks to express his enthusiasm as well.

He likes the Disney Princess fork the best.

He only has recently said he likes blue, most likely from peer pressure from his Dad. When his father is not looking, he still opts for pink or purple.

His favorite game is to play kitty cat. When asked what color kitten he would be, he says purple.

The other day he was sitting with Heather in her room trying to style her hair with a flatiron.

On the other hand, he also likes to throw around a ball, play catch and kick a soccer ball.

The way I see it my son is a well rounded kid. I like to think of him as a Renaissance Man of sorts. Or like, a Renaissance Baby. Whatever.

John and I have wondered. He is three years old now. And he has plenty of time to figure out where he is going. The display of some of these feminine traits in him does have us questioning his orientation from time to time.

We are not too worried either way. He is most likely mimicking his older sister at this point. Regardless, I have come to the peace with the following:

If my pink loving, red heart cardigan sweater loving son ever comes to me or his father and tells us that he is REALLY into wearing the red heart cardigan sweater, we will support him no matter what.

No matter what sweater color he chooses to love.

No matter who he chooses to love. I just pray, pray, pray that they are good, kind, loving people who will love him the way he deserves to be loved. Please, God, Please.

I know I am jumping the gun here, but when I have spoken to a few friends who are gay about when they knew, some said that they have memories as early as 3 or 4 of knowing they were different. One of my friends told me he remembered wanting to play with his mother’s clothes and wanting to put on makeup and play dress up.

I kind of look at the facts.

1) Wants to wear my clothes? Em, not so much

2) Wants to put on my makeup? Hell Yeah.

3) Dress up. Tinkerbell anyone? Check.

He hasn’t come out in any of my business suits or anything yet, but I am keeping a close eye on it.

It makes me sad to think of parents who disown their children when they finally learn or acknowledge this truth. I imagine it’s an extremely hard thing, not just for the child, but for the parents, who feel that some moral or societal compass supersedes the relationship between parent and child.

I saw this letter the other day, and I imagine a lot of what I would say would pretty much be in line what John Kinnear, author of the blog “Ask Your Dad” wrote in his piece called “Dear Hypothetically Gay Son.”

Dear Hypothetically Gay Son,
You’re gay. Obviously you already know that, because you told us at the dinner table last night. I apologize for the awkward silence afterwards, but I was chewing.  It was like when we’re at a restaurant and the waiter comes up mid-bite and asks how the meal is, only in this metaphor you are the waiter and instead of asking me about my meal you said you were gay. I don’t know why I needed to explain that. I think I needed to find a funny way to repeat the fact that you’re gay… because that is what it sounds like in my head right now. “My son is gay. My son is gay. My son is gay.”
Let me be perfectly clear. I love you. I will always love you. Since being gay is part of who you are, I love that you’re gay. I’m just trying to wrap my head around the idea. If you sensed any sadness in my silence last night, it was because I was surprised that I was surprised. Ideally, I would have already known. Since you were an embryo, my intent has always been to really know you for who you are and not who I expect you to be. And yet, I was taken by surprise at last night’s dinner. Have I said “surprise” enough in this paragraph? One more time… surprise!
OK. Let’s get a few things straight about how things are going to be.
    1. Our home is a place of safety and love. The world has dealt you a difficult card. While LGBT people are becoming more accepted, it is still a difficult path to walk. You’re going to experience hate and anger and misunderstandings about who you are out in the world. That will not happen here.  You need to know with every fiber of who you are that when you walk in the front door of your home you are safe and you are loved. Your mother is in complete agreement with me on this.
    2. I am still, as always, your biggest defender.  Just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you’re any less capable of taking care of/defending yourself. That said, if you need me to stand next to you, in front of you, write letters, sign petitions, advocate, or anything else, I am here. I will go to war for you.
    3. If you’re going to have boys over, you now need to leave your bedroom door open. Sorry kiddo. Thems are the breaks. I couldn’t have girls in my room with the door shut, you don’t get to have boys.
    4. You and I are going to revisit that talk we had about safe sex. I know it’s going to be awkward for both of us, but it is important. I need to do some research first, so let’s give it a few weeks. If you have questions or concerns before then, let me know.

 

That’s enough for now.  Feel free to view this letter as a contract. If I ever fail to meet any of the commitments made herein, pull it out and hold me to account.  I’ll end with this: You are not broken. You are whole, and beautiful. You are capable and compassionate. You and your sister are the best things I have ever done with my life, and I couldn’t be more proud of the people you’ve become.
Love,
Dad
P.S. Thanks to a few key Supreme Court decisions and the Marriage Equality act of 2020 you’re legally able to get married. When I was your age, that was just an idea. Pretty cool huh?
*******************

Nico has a long way to go before figuring these things out for himself. Hypothetically, if he were to tell me he was some day, I would wrap my arms around him and hug him as tight as he would let me and let him know with all my heart that he will still always be my favorite son.

(Easy since I don’t have any others).

It would sadden me that people would be quicker to judge him and that his path might be harder than for other young men, but I would be as supportive and as loving as I could be. Both John and I definitely would.

As John Kinnear says above, “I will go to war for you.”

Anyway, since this is all so darn “hypothetical,” you really never know what the future brings. For all I know, Nico will be into some goth chick with piercings on every appendage. There are some horrific heterosexual scenarios that could also hypothetically play out where I would just as gladly prefer he say the words, “Hey Ma, I’m gay.”

I am at peace with whatever decisions my children make in regards to their sexuality. I don’t want to have to picture the act or anything, but I don’t want to do that with heterosexual sex either. What kind of pervy mom would want that anyway?

Ewww.

XOXO,

Kiran

13 Responses to Handsome in Pink

  • Uma Ramesh says:

    Wow, you are gutsy! While I like to think I am open minded, I am not sure what my reaction would be if it were my children! It is sad but I am being totally honest here. Of course I would love them and be there for them but it would take time for me to get used to the idea.

    • Masala Chica says:

      You know, Uma. I don’t know if it’s that I am gutsy, or crazy, or off my rocker. I just know the pain that many of my gay friends had in coming out. I have seen a few live through denial and remain miserable, even marrying and living a “false” identity. I would never want my kids to be anything other than what they are.

      I mean, I don’t want them to be sociopaths or anything – but it’s important for me to want to say this. Even if it is preemptive and probably something I am not going to face.

      Getting used to the idea is one thing, but pure love and acceptance is another thing. My kids may go down paths, not just with their sexuality but perhaps career choices, relationship choices, political choices that I never saw them going down, and I may not agree with those choices or even understand them, so everything they go through once they become autonomous beings will really require us to “get used to the idea.”

      But one thing that would never go away is my support, my love and my mama bear instinct to always protect and fight for them.

      And I think that’s what I am saying.

      I think.

      ;-) Kiran

      On Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 8:13 AM, Masala Chica

  • Dave says:

    Good to be open minded, but way to early to read into anything. Drew, my youngest, plays princess dress up with his sister, loves to have his toes nails painted, and ny far has the best hair in the family. But he is 5! He has no concept of gender roles yet, and I am not in a hurry to introduce my biases to him.

    • Masala Chica says:

      Hey Dave,

      Yeah it’s early days and Nico will probably hate me for writing this post one day. But he can’t read for a while, so I think I am in the clear.

      I think that this goes back to being a “hypothetical” for me. But it’s important for me to say. I have watched friends whose parents have really struggled. Heck, I had one friend whose parents sent him to a church’s “deprogramming” camp, where they could excorcise the gay out of him.

      That’s a hard life to live.

      If my kids are truly kind, have values, are moral and loving, have strong character and are smart – and most important – healthy? Well – I would consider myself to be a truly lucky parent.

      Honestly? I really don’t think Nico is gay. My point is more that I will let him have the purple cup, wear his sister’s heels and use pink to color dora’s hair. In time, he will become his own person and know what he wants.

      When my kids are older though, they will know where I stand on this. Friends will know where I stand on this. And maybe people who are going through this themselves may see a different viewpoint.

      In the end, just love your kids. It may not always be easy, but who ever said parenting was? Kiran

      On Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 11:05 AM, Masala Chica

  • Her Mommyness
    Twitter:
    says:

    Wow, That is a bold thought. I dont think my line of thought would be that clear if it were my own kid coming out. I really dont know how I would react. In the end I think love for my child will surpass anything, but I dont know if I have the courage to think about it just yet.

    • Masala Chica says:

      Oh, Shefali, if you stick around, you may realize that I AM nuts. I think about all sorts of situations before they happen.

      I don’t know if it’s so much a bold thought as it is truly how I feel. I have watched too many people lie for too long about who they are to ever want my kids to live a life like that. I think it would be *bolder* to say that I would want my children to live a lie, if they ever come to this, because the truth makes ME uncomfortable.

      A parent’s acceptance to a child is incredibly important, regardless of what stage of your life you are at.

      Here is a letter that was posted on Reddit that a father sent to his son. The person who posted it wrote, “5 years ago, I was disowned via letter when I came out to my father. This is how hate sounds.” Here is the note: imgur.com/pCrHU

      I don’t ever want my kids to hear my voice and think, “This is how hate sounds.” If that happens, I think I have failed my children as a parent.

      On Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM, Masala Chica

  • You are a cool, ‘will be there for my kid come what may’ mom ; Wish more parents are like you. Lovely post Kiran

    • Masala Chica says:

      Hey Priya,

      At the end of the day, my kids may have delivery more than they have a home cooked meal from me. Their socks might not match “perfectly” and they may be asked by their friends one day if their mom only owns own pair of yoga pants.

      To which my response would be – I like recycling.

      But one thing I think they will always know is that I will always be for them. EVEN if they are Republican.

      ;-)
      (Thanks for your comment!)

  • Alison
    Twitter:
    says:

    I don’t know what my sons’ future will be in terms of who they love. I just know that I love them, and so by extension, I’ll love who they love.

    Go you. Truly.

  • Dixya says:

    your posts always brings new perspectives in my life. I do not have kids or any close friends or families who are gay..but I have really never thought about how I would deal in a situation like this. If my children ever come out and say I am gay- it might take me a while to wrap my head around the fact that he or she is gay but after going through so many ups and downs in life- i have come to understand that life is all about being happy and not judging other people, and we should all respect each other and be there for one another because we have no idea what is in store for us tomorrow so we should cherish what we have with our loved ones rather than hating/judging our loved ones because they choose something different. and i love that hypothetical letter.

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MEET KIRAN
I'm Kiran, I'm a dreamer. A writer. A singer. A mother. An ugly crier. An Indian-American. Who loves Gandhi. My stories are full of truth that is sometimes hard for me to say out loud. This blog is where I overcome my fears and live (and love) out loud. Read More....
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