Yesterday, Sunday June 27th, was the NYC Pride parade. I had one hour of sleep but we were there. B, E, and me. It was fabulous. Beautiful weather, a good spot that had shade for a little while, and a really nice lesbian couple to our left, and a perfectly coiffed gay guy to our right who had an sunbrella to share. Not that I wanted to be shielded from the sun, but it was a lovely gesture.
Yes, it was an even more meaningful day because of the tragedy that happened recently in Orlando. But it was something else, for me. It was a time, to look at my son, who was decked out in rainbow, flags, stickers, and pins, really look at him, and let it soak in that hate is learned. It is. Hate is not born. It's taught, and it's learned. I guess there are just people who are born sullen so maybe they just don't like anything. They don't hate. They dislike. Maybe they don't like anyone in general. They don't know how to hate people based on religion, race, ethnicity, color, ability/disability, etc. THAT is all you. As the parents, of course.
I know I've been writing a lot about this stuff lately, but this is the climate we're in. It's a very tense time, and it's basically all based on who hates whom. It's people acting like politics is a team and you're either on one or the other. You "root" for your team, no matter what, even if you don't agree with it, and you bash and heckle the other team. And just like with professional sports, I'll say the same thing I always say. You're not playing. You're sitting on the couch. So instead of reposting garbage and perpetuating lies on social media, how about practicing some love? Stand up for people who are being discriminated against instead of joining the hate train.
We've been taking E to the Pride parade in NYC since he was in utero. This year we went to two- Asbury Park AND NYC, to make up for missing NYC last year. My mantra, as I've said, is "If you don't make something a thing, it's not a thing". Let me tell you- LGBTQ is not any kind of thing to my (straight) kid. I mention that he's straight (that we know of) because I think it's important to point out that you don't have to be a minority to care about a minority. He's a minority anyway- he's Jewish, and he's a seven year old boy with both ears pierced. Those two things qualify him to be a minority. Believe me, I would've been the best parent for a gay kid, but he's still planning on marrying his (girl) crush from nursery school or his crush from kindergarten.
The night before the parade, he said- "Leave out my rainbow clothes to wear to the parade". He was decked out head to toe in rainbow tie-dye, covered in stickers, pins, a rainbow sequin fedora, holding a rainbow flag. He was cheering, dancing, waving, and smiling. All while standing next to kissing lesbians, half naked men, and drag queens. Jazz Jennings, of the "I am Jazz" show on TLC (transgender boy to girl teenager) rode by in the parade and E excitedly said, "Is that really Jazz? Is it really her?!"
There wasn't an "ew", a grimace, or even an odd stare on his part. For E, none of it has ever been a thing. He knows, per us (B & I), that there are people that don't agree, are not nice to, and hurt people who are different- especially of this type of difference. His response to that is anger and sadness- at those who mistreat those who are different. Also, make no mistake- this "differences not being a thing", translates into feeling that way about other differences- born or otherwise. It could be anything- gay, lesbian, scarred, trans, downs syndrome, obese, anorexic, cancer, amputee, blind, dwarfism, bald from genetics or chemo, cerebral palsy, wheelchair bound, autism, divorced, death of a parent, homeless. You name it- as a parent, you know differences are going to come up and you need to be proactive about making sure your kids are sensitive and welcoming to all people. If you're not making this a huge part of your teaching, then you're just not doing your job.
As a parent, you always have that moment where you see someone with a difference coming toward you and your kid. You get that anxiety of- "please, PLEASE, don't say anything rude". Even though I know my kid, I still get that momentary anxiety. But he's never said something derogatory about a person yet. I really can't imagine he would. I'm hoping that by being proactive, that will just never happen.
Some people might think it's weird that I had my then six year old watching "I am Jazz", but then when he heard about a friend of mine who has a transgender child his age, it wasn't A THING. He couldn't wait to make the child a drawing in support of the child's journey. I've never been prouder as a parent. When he doesn't grimace or think it's weird when he saw the two women next to us at the parade being affectionate- I'm a proud mama. When he says the drag queen next to his is pretty, when he full well knows it's a guy- proud. Same feeling I had when at camp last year, he told me that there's a kid in his group that doesn't talk much and cries a lot so he decided he's be his friend because he looks like he could use one. That's the person I want to raise. The one who is always looking out for the underdog.
Watching my kid yesterday, admiring his love of life, passion for being part of a cause close to my heart, hearing him say that everyone should be equal, just fuels me to keep on the path of teaching him to love. To love everyone. This is also why I don't want to be associated with people who hate. Who perpetuate racism, homophobia, xenophobia. People who openly preach hate. People who don't even work themselves (because they don't "have" to), railing on that imaginary giant group who they *think* are gaming the system. Yes, there are people who are, but some of the people bitching about this have no idea what they're talking about. And there is much to be schooled on in the cycle of poverty. Anyway...and those who use religion as a shield for their hate. I look at my kid, and how he is pure love, and I think about how there are counterparts of his, the same age, who are being taught the exact opposite. For as long as I can orchestrate it, I want to be the one to surround him with people who just want love to win.
That way when later on, he's surrounded by those who openly hate, he is the one to stand up and do something about it.
We say goodbye to the PRIDE NYC parade for another year. We will continue to mourn the lives of those lost in Orlando. We will keep on instilling the values that are so important to us like compassion, love, kindness, tolerance, equality, and justice for all.
If you've never taken your kids to the parade, I highly recommend it. E saw a few sets of pasties, a naked behind or two, some sick abs, and some same sex kissing. That's about it. It's not as X-rated as one might think. Remember though- if you don't make it a thing- any of it, it's not a thing. You're more fazed than they are. Trust me. In all E's recounting of the day, neither the pasties, nor the butts even came up.We parked in Chelsea, on the street, didn't even have to pay. So it basically cost us the the amount of tolls and gas to show our support.
#LoveWins #DragIsTheBestKindOfQueen #PrideNYC #Pride2016 #WeAreOrlando
|Our parade neighbors in from LA|
|E handing out Shades of Soho flyers for our PRIDE chandeliers|