Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Deep thought

One of Su’s co-workers has an adorable daughter who is about a year older than Danny. For a while there she was rather dazzled by our boy. Her mom would come to work with tales of how Amelia would ask about Danny or burst out into an excited giggle when she’d see pictures of him. So of course we all joke that Amalia is Danny’s girlfriend. (Or that Danny is Amalia’s boyfriend.)

And our neighbors across the street are the proud parents of two little girls, one of whom is just two months younger than Daniel. It’s also easy to tease about how she and Danny, who are now in the same day care every day are little boyfriend and girlfriend.

So here’s my deep thought. Why on some level would it seem unsettling to say that two little boys who are very sweet together are each other’s “boyfriends”? Or that two little girls are “girlfriends”. (Excluding the argument that sometimes the word “girlfriend” means friend.)

I think the examples above with Danny and these two sweet little girls have echoes of future possibility. As in “wouldn’t it be adorable if when they are teenagers they actually fall in love?” There is no sexualization involved in this “matchmaking”. It’s like they are platonic little fountains of possibility.

But to joke in the same way about toddlers of the same gender would undoubtedly for some be disturbing. It would indeed project sexuality into a platonic image. And that fountain of possibility would be terrifying. None of this ““wouldn’t it be adorable if when they are teenagers they actually fall in love?”

I understand that there is institutional homophobia somehow mixed into all of this. Because as a gay person even though I like to think I’m as enlightened as they come, I can’t see myself teasing Danny about having a “boyfriend”.

It’s tough to be gay in this world. Kudos to everyone who has had to the courage to “come out of the closet” with all of these deeply ingrained attitudes to deal with.

Deep thought indeed. -Monica


Xbox4NappyRash said...

That is one fascinating post.


Strawberry said...

I think it's "normal" to say that little girls and boys who like each other are boyfriend/girlfriend. And absolutely a huge part of institutionalized homophobia as you said, not to do the same with same sex friends.

But S and I actually do joke around about that, so we can get used to the fact that our child will like whoever he wants to like and we're going to support him. There are more boys in our neighborhood and so we sometimes say, we hope they like each other so they'll become good friends. And maybe they'll REALLY like each other and become more than that, wink wink. It's all in good fun.

Anyway, institutionalized homophobia sucks, but man, it's just so ingrained in us :-(

Susanica said...

Hi Strawberry. We of course totally want Danny to grow up to fall in love with whomever he chooses. I think that some parents of other children might be creeped out if we as gay parents said something like that about Danny and their son, unlike the parents of little girls. I wish it weren't so, but I guess any deviation from the norm is not going to be heard the same way. -M