We took the kids to the Aquarium today. V isn’t all that interested in fish so I took her to the gift shop. They had a display of beautiful green and blue stones that she loved. She took them out one by one, handed them to me and then would put them back once she had a proper pile of them. While she was doing this, I overhead a conversation. It was between a father and one of his two sons.
“No. No, I am not getting you that. A necklace?”
“Because I say so, that’s why. Since when do you wear necklaces? Jesus.”
“And a necklace with a heart on it? What is wrong with you? I’m not getting you that. Put it back.”
I watched the boy walk away dejected. I didn’t say anything. I think Dad sensed my disapproval. He wouldn’t look at me when I leveled my eyes at him. I will also say that I know that parenting is complicated. Sometimes you do things because you feel you need to protect your children from a vicious world.
But I keep coming back to one question.
Why are we so surprised that gay kids get bullied in school when parents bully their own children when they deviate even slightly from gender norms?