I hear from a lot of you who say that when it comes to parenting I’m doing it right. And, I never ever hesitate to let someone know if I think that they are doing it right.
Well, read this for an example of a father who is doing it wrong — if you ask me. It starts with his son wanting a sketch pad and him calling it a “gay ass notebook.” It gets worse from there. Charming.
* * *
“Over the past few decades, we’ve made a lot of changes in the English language to make it more gender neutral. We say “police officer” instead of “policeman” and “people” instead of “mankind”…But there’s one thing we can’t seem to get right: pronouns. We know that if you say, “Every child has his monkey,” it excludes girls. So instead we might say, “Every child has their monkey,” even though it’s not grammatically correct. And “Every child has his or her monkey,” is just clunky.”
When it comes to pronouns, C.J. prefers his masculine…even though when it comes to clothes and playthings, C.J. prefers his feminine.
Click here to read an article on NPR’s website about some kids in Baltimore who have come up with a solution that has caught the attention of linguists. Yo!
* * *
Last night I finished a book written by one of my readers and I loved it. I’m a huge fan of LGBTQ issues and historical fiction, so her book was tailor-made for me. Paulette Mahurin’s The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap has been dubbed Brokeback Mountain for women.
“The year was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; the United States expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in South America; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for gross indecency under Britain’s recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When news of Wilde’s conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted the Wilde news. It is a chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing.”
I loved the characters. I wanted to sit around and talk books with partners Mildred and Edra and their friends Gus and Charley. I wanted C.J. to play with Mabel. I despised bully Josie.
Click here to download the book free for Kindle or purchase the paperback.
Pingback: Paulette Mahurin | Smutmas
Congratulations Blogger Friend! I enjoy your blog, so I have nominated you for the Best Moment Award! Please go here: http://sarajanelle.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/best-moment-award/ for further instructions! Enjoy!
The story about the father in the supermarket reminds me of one my husband once told me. My husband loves blueberries and was loading up the conveyer belt at the checkout with many packs of them. A little boy behind him said “Look at all those blueberries you have!” My husband, a bit embarrassed by the quantity he was buying said “They’re on sale” by way of explanation. The little boy turned to his father and said “Can we get a blueberries [sic], they’re on sale!” and the father said “No!” and the little boy looked dejected.
While not as bad as the notepad incident, my husband felt so bad for that little boy who wanted some delicious healthy blueberries but his father wouldn’t let him have them. Their cart was loaded up with chips, soda, and the like.
Hi! I’ve nominated you for an award. Drop by my blog to pick it up: http://sparrowgrass.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/the-wordpress-family-award/
As an (adult) child from an abusive home, I am terrified of how bad the notebook incident may have been. So many people pray for a child, but that kind of jerk father is the one who gets him. I try to take my joy from the fabulous parents such as yourself.
Can’t wait to read this book, by the way! Thank you!
I originally saw this posted on the ‘dashboard’ of my blog. I was appalled. What can we do for this boy? Do we know any neighbors or friends who might help? Several times I have read about bloggers calling for help for friends who are depressed or in trouble. Maybe we can do something here. If this child is being abused at home we have a responsibility to help. I live in Israel so when I read a post about one of my fellow Israeli bloggers needing help, I wrote to her. Fortunately, everything worked out in the end.
Let’s use the power of social media for good.
I red the article on the pronouns and it leaves me with a concern for the future of the English language. I was raised in a very backwoods southern area and am well aware of how one corrects himself or herself of bad language usage. Even when speaking in such a manner, we knew the correct terms, no matter how they were pronounced. I feel if we start twisting English in a way that caters to the feelings or thoughts of various people, it will begin to sound more and more uneducated. I normally agree with most everything you post about, but I have to disagree when it comes to the legitimacy of words in the English language and their necessity.
As a linguist, I assure you that English has changed and evolved since its infancy (as all languages do), and that language change only sounds “uneducated” when the educated class deems them so. And even then, they usually settle in, once the folks digging their heels in have died out or succumbed to inevitability. Just think how appalled an English speaker from 500 years ago would be to hear the way we use the language now.
It would have felt extremely awkward only a few decades ago to refer to a mail carrier or police officer by those terms, rather than mailman or policeman; now the non-gender-specific terms are common parlance. I predict that at some point, gender-equitable pronouns will sound just as normal and yes, “educated” to English-speaking ears as “police officer” does now.
(Speaking of pronoun specificity – I’m writing too quickly. I meant to say: “…language change only sounds “uneducated” when the educated class deems IT so. And even then, CHANGES usually settle in…”)
I saw the Tumblr post a few days ago and it hurt. I know what that child felt. I passed the post around to several people. It’s getting printed out and left in my parents’ house. Or pasted to every available surface in my parents’ house. 🙂
I read The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap and loved it. The characters are warm-blooded and some cold-hearted but the story is strong without being preachy.
OMG, I can’t believe this man is a father. Too bad in cases like this, there isn’t something like a license which can be taken away. That kid needs a better family.
Reblogged this on The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap and commented:
I’m thrilled that C.J.’s mom read and enjoyed my book enough to mention it on her well followed, respected and loved blogsite. Have a read of the “about” from her site (below). I just pre-ordered her book and can’t wait to read it. Have a visit to her site for a wonderful experience. Lastly, a shout out to Kerry Dwyer for turning me onto Raising My Rainbow. CJ, you’re a lucky soul.
RaisingMyRainbow.com is the first “Mommy Blog” to chronicle the daily joys, struggles and, sometimes, embarrassments that go along with raising a gender nonconforming child.
Raising My Rainbow is written by C.J.’s Mom, a feisty, sassy girl-woman trying to have it all and usually feeling like she is failing miserably while all those around her are none-the-wiser. She works part-time as a business consultant, full-time as a mother and overtime as a walking panic attack.
And it’s about raising C.J. (age 6), the most enchanting child you will ever meet with an insane knack for art and color, interior design and dance. His passions include Barbie, Disney Princesses, Strawberry Shortcake and women’s hair and shoes. Paula Deen holds a special place in his heart.
Raising My Rainbow was launched as the glittery ball dropped in Times Square and 2011 peeked its tentative head into C.J.’s conservative Orange County, Calif., neighborhood. C.J.’s Mom has earned more than one million readers in nearly 180 countries and her blog is read by gender studies students and faculty at more than 40 college and universities in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
C.J.’s Mom is an often-quoted source on parenting gender creative, gender nonconforming, protogay and prehomosexual children. Media interest and coverage includes: Anderson Cooper, The BBC, The Orange County Register, KFI 640 AM, CBS – Los Angeles, MSNBC, Queerty.com, Feast of Fun, The New York Times, One4All Magazine, The Next Family, Bitch Magazine, Newsweek, BlogHer, The Mother Company, OC Weekly, The Globe and Mail, Babble, Jezebel and Amanda de Cadanet.
She has been named one of BlogHer’s Voices of the Year, is one of Ignite Social Media’s “100 Women Bloggers You Should be Reading” and is one of the Top 25 Blogs in Southern California according to Circle of Moms.
Just came from the reblog site. The father is a hate monger, passing along the conditioning/programming of hatred. It is a sad day when a large segment of society becomes brainwashed from belief systems that spread ideas that hurt. What you’re writing about here is helping to put some cracks into the veneer of ignorance and like Leonard Cohen says, “it’s the cracks that let the light in.” I love your blog site.
Thank you for featuring Paulette Mahurin’s book, which shines a huge light on intolerance, not just about homophobia but also anti-Sematism and racism. It’ll be a happy day when acceptance reigns.
Going to get your book, CJ’s mom.
Good heavens that’s a lot pf pressure! Nice testament to the importance of the writing and to CJ’s ineffable charm.
Paulette’s book is wonderful. I reviewed it a while ago and I have guested her on my blog. She is a very special lady. Buying her book rather than downloading the free version will hep the no kill dog shelter that she supports.
The story of the notepad is heartbreaking. He doesn’t deserve the title father. That man is sad in the worst sense of the word.
On CJ preferring a masculine name and feminine clothes etc – Gender is a very difficult and complex subject. I have just finished reading Judth Butler’s collection of essays Undoing Gender. I read it for course work but she has some very interesting points to make. She is not the easiest read but well worth the effort. Here is a link to those essays http://selforganizedseminar.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/butler-undoing_gender.pdf
Of course she wasn’t the first to bring up these issues and Foucault is also a good read on the subject if it interests you.
I think the drawing pad incident is much more a manifestation of parental alcoholism and mental illness. This is not a ‘normal’ father with ignorant gender biases, this is systematic and methodical abuse. As long as we don’t recognize the root of the abuse that countless children face through alcoholism, they will continue to be left shadows in society with no role models whatsoever. My point is, focusing on his words ‘gay ass notebook’ is taking the focus from the ALARMING abuse facing this kid. The words and actions are simply his chosen weapon at destroying any happiness this kid could have. There will NEVER be a time where this kid chooses, or does, the right thing because the purpose to this man is to knock his kid off his feet and keep his confidence and self assurance low to maintain control and keep the fingers of his family from pointing at the real problem. HIS DRINKING.
I’m glad I read through all the comments because you have articulated everything I wanted to say but I just started my coffee IV this morning!! 🙂
I’d like to agree.. and then I remember my ex-boyfriend’s account of his otherwise normal (if terse-male) father going off his nut and ripping down every gay/punky/fashiony poster on his son’s wall yelling, “No son of mine is going to be gay!” As far as I know he was not a drinker… just a gun toting right wing American male father in the desert north of LA.
Is it possible that the alcolism and mental health issues could stem, in part, from issues about gender and/ or sexualiy? It certainly wouldn’t be for the first time.
I’m finding this confusing. I really don’t know much about drinking….. But it does seem to me like gender/sexualiy pretty commonly fuel very deep self-hatred and just plain discomfort.
I dunno. Maybe it is chicken and egg?
Reading this blog has brought my attention to the large number of incidents in my childhood where my sense of misery was gender related. Like stuff where I was supposed to learn or do things based on gender.
My dad never drank but was incredibly abusive. And he would berate my little brother for “turning gay” because he wore pink or read books or cared about fashion. It doesn’t have to be alcoholism.
Oh my God, the post about the drawing pad just broke my heart! I feels so sorry for the kid! D=
thank you for making this available. thank you!