Most parents weigh down their kids with expectations about landing successful careers (be a lawyer! a doctor!), marriage (when are you gonna find a nice boy/girl and settle down?), pressure them to have kids (we want grandkids!) and/or other not-always-quite-healthy expectations for their children. The kids enter adulthood with plenty of baggage already. Sally Kohn, however, wants to take it a step further: she wants her daughter to be gay.
She’s loading her kid down with thoughts about her sexual orientation when she should merely be exploring who she is — not necessarily fellow females in whom Momma wants her to be romantically and sexually interested.
When my daughter plays house with her stuffed koala bears as the mom and dad, we gently remind her that they could be a dad and dad. Sometimes she changes her narrative. Sometimes she doesn’t. It’s her choice.
All I ultimately care about is that she has the choice and that whatever choice she makes is enthusiastically embraced and celebrated.
(Is she saying her daughter can make the choice to be gay?) Later:
I’m a slightly overbearing pro-gay gay mom. But I’m going to support my daughter, whatever choices she makes.
I don’t take issue with Kohn’s essay except that she is doing her very best to, essentially, “change” her daughter — owning every book with a same-sex family, reminders that Teddy bears can be same-sex partners, etc.
We’ve bought every picture book featuring gay families, even the not-very-good ones, and we have most of the nontraditional-gender-role books as well — about the princess who likes to fight dragons and the boy who likes to wear dresses.
Does her kid really need to have all that to deal with when she’s playing with her dolls or drone?
I’m not saying any of this because I think being gay is inferior or hard or what-have-you. I’m saying I find it harmful to put a parent’s desires, especially on something so critical and inherent, on a kid. As we’ve seen in Kohn’s words, it colors the parents’ interactions with their children to an extent that is, I would argue, harmful to the child’s psyche. Just as harmful as making them hide in the closet.
To argue that being gay is the best way to be open to new things and politically active is just a sad statement from someone who really needed to grow up.
More than that, though, being gay opened my eyes to the world around me. Learning that not every gay person had it as good as I did helped me realize that a lot of people in general didn’t have it as good as I did. I wouldn’t be a politically engaged human being, let alone an activist, writer and TV personality, if I weren’t gay.
I take it back. She may still need to grow up if she’s going to try to live vicariously through her daughter in this way.
At the end, of course, she claims she will support her daughter no matter what and only wants what’s best for her — which would include not reading this essay by her mom, I assume.
(Also, here’s to her opportunity to get a ton of readers, a ton of responses and a ton of free publicity. Congrats, Sally. The religious right will get a real kick out of this.)