Two things happened yesterday related to GAY pride.
First, it was the Gay Pride Parade in Miami.
Second, my 6 year old referred to a boy in her class as gay because he tried to kiss the boy next to her while they were sitting eating pizza at their friends birthday party. (I suppose like EVERY heterosexual woman in the world, she thought that since he hadnt attempted to kiss HER that he MUST be gay. A sentiment I have shared since the early 90’s when a boy i liked did not reciprocate the feelings.)
Why do I link these two incidents together or even mention my daughters statement- you ask? Well, it brought to mind how refreshing it is that “GAY” is no longer a term i used in day school as another word for “happy”.
The world as we know it is less close minded to those that differ from the proverbial “norm” (although bigots still abound but that affects everyone in every race color religion or creed).
When my daughter described her friend as gay, she was doing so as matter of detail – a simple statement – the way she would say that her pizza has cheese on it.
There were no judgments nor negative inflection in her tone …..simply FACT.
I had to admit that I was not raised in such a liberal open minded atmosphere. The school I attended was somewhat sheltering in its regard for homosexuality. Although I was raised in a very open minded household, where we were taught to be non discriminatory to everyone – no matter what there sexual preference, the school of thought in Orthodox Judaism is not quite as nonpartisan.
About 10 years ago, my then 15 year old niece was visiting me from Israel. She was raised ultra orthodox and in my opinion was very sheltered. Back then I was living in New York City so I did what any COOL Aunt would do for my visiting family who wanted to experience NY…..I took her to the GAY PRIDE PARADE in the Village.
Aside from having to explain why men were walking around shirtless in shiny gold tight “underpants” announcing they were “here and queer” and just WHY we needed to get used to it…. I did not have to do much else to give her a true NY experience. (Quick shout out to my beautiful- and now world traveled- niece- now a medical school student in Hungary!)
But going back to my daughters statement about a boy kissing a boy…..it just made me realize (and rejoice!) at how open I am with my girls about important and mature topics that address relevant world issues. I no longer live in an environment where the concept of sheltering your child is the right thing to do. (Don’t get me wrong, I do protect them from inappropriate topics- for example, they are not allowed to RENT Porn – that i will put my foot down – simply too expensive to pay $9.99 for a single movie) – but that is very different than not exposing them to very REAL subject matter that will inevitably face them when they finally DO grow up and face the REAL world.
(and yes, for those few of you who do not get my humor-(seriously? at this point in my blog you still dont get me??) – I was kidding about the porn before you go canceling your play dates at my house).
There has been a lot of exposure and hype about the ultra orthodox community in Monsey NY lately.
Some of the extremist have “broken out” of their secluded and fanatical lifestyle to seek a secular life instead. There is even going to be a reality show about it (cant wait to add it to my roster of housewives – I already set my DVR) which follows the lives of 3 prior Residents of New Square NY -where their violent and judgmental religious antics can be compared to the extremes of the Taliban.
Teach your children to be OBJECTIVE and NEUTRAL about very REAL subjects of the world. They can then make their informed decisions when they are mature enough to understand them better. Be OPEN to the WORLD you live in if you intend to stay here for a while.