Sometimes I get publicly shamed on the internet. It happens a lot, actually, because I can't keep my virtual mouth shut. If I think something is unjust, or one-sided, or just plain stupid, I'm probably going to respond. I try to do so diplomatically, but I'm not perfect. I push too hard sometimes.
Recently, I got yelled at by a woman for suggesting that there was nothing wrong with her 2-year-old son. He likes to dress up like a princess. She seemed to want reassurance that he'd outgrow it, that it didn't mean he might be effeminate or gay (which aren't the same thing, folks). She got plenty of that kind of reassurance. Instead, I suggested that it didn't matter if he was either of those things. He might outgrow it, sure, but who cares? I actually used the words "it doesn't matter."
I was wrong about that.
It matters if my daughter is a lesbian.
Yep. It matters a lot.
It matters because she might like princesses, or trucks, or ninjas, or dollhouses, and people in her life will draw assumptions about her sexuality based on that preference. As if the two are connected. They aren't.
It matters because her preschool teacher will assume she wants be the mommy instead of the daddy at playtime, and press an apron into her hands. She might not want to be either. What a stupid assumption.
It matters because jerks in her classroom will repeat the hateful, homophobic garbage their parents have been spouting for years. And she'll believe them, because we all believe our peers more than our parents, even when our peers are idiots. That sucks.
It matters because some of her family members might not understand--not that there is anything complicated about homosexuality. They might say things that hurt her, that linger within her for the rest of her life. And I can't protect her from all of it. Even though that is my job.
It matters because straight guys will try to "turn her" and joke about threesomes, as if her sexuality is some kind of "mistake" she made. As if she just needs to be reminded how much she likes men. Sometimes they'll be very aggressive in their pursuit. This terrifies me.
It matters because dickheads on the internet will taunt her, and flag her posts for removal, and call her a femi-nazi or a dyke bitch. No one will call them out on it because no one wants to be targets themselves. No one will have to take the blame because the internet is an anonymous black hole. How can these people live with themselves?
It matters because someday she might want to get married, and the woman she loves might be funny and accomplished and smart, but their right to be legally responsible for each other will depend upon the state in which they live. Not their love, not their commitment. This country is still a pretty unjust place to be. It makes me so angry I could scream.
Yes, it matters if my daughter is a lesbian or bisexual or transgender, in ways that won't matter as much if she's straight and cisgender. It matters to me, because it will matter to her.
But however she was born--whomever she chooses to crush on--I hope the world is ready for a fight. My daughter has a mother and father who will pull no punches, allow no nonsense, when it comes to protecting her precious soul. Gay or straight or something else entirely, she was born that way. Perfectly herself. We will defend every ounce of that perfection.
So, okay, fellow internet mom. You're right to be worried. But you better get used to worrying for the right reasons. The shame you want to throw at me is nothing. I can take it. Your son could have much, much worse bearing down on him, and you need to arm yourself for the battle. You need to be prepared to be his fortress, his safe harbor.
That's my rallying cry: