He’s a really useful engine. You know.

By now, you’ve probably read the story of the mom who let her son dress up as a female cartoon character for Halloween. She handled negative comments about his outfit wonderfully and made an excellent point:

If you think that me allowing my son to be a female character for Halloween is somehow going to ‘make’ him gay then you are an idiot. Firstly, what a ridiculous concept. Secondly, if my son is gay, OK. I will love him no less. Thirdly, I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off.

I love her. She’s such a fantastic mom to her son.  Her response to the concept of what can “make” someone gay reminded me of how someone I met addressed the idea and how I could’ve responded better.

Several years ago, we gave away our train table. We listed it for free on Craigslist; first come, first served. As it happened, the person who came to get it was a father who wanted it for his son. As he told us, noting that his wife wouldn’t want him to say that, he wanted to get his son a train table so that his son would play with “boy” toys and not end up gay. What we said to him was, yeah, good luck with that, have fun with the table. What I should have said was this:

“Look, you ignorant fuckwit – what toys your child plays with will not determine his or her sexuality. If you think that’s the case, please get a time machine, go back to the time before you had kids, and get yourself a vasectomy. You are not fit to raise a child. Kindly get yourself out of my house now. I’m sure we can find some sane family who wants a well-loved train table. Or wait – maybe you should take it. Playing with trains on this table may be the only fun your son ever has, growing up in a house with a dolt like you for a father. Just to warn you, though, our liberal cooties have already infected the table. After all, our son and his sisters ALL played with trains. Lord only knows how the girls may have been affected by engaging in this male-centric activity. And oh, by the way – they make GIRL trains now. Also, if you look around enough on the Internet you’ll find Thomas the Tank Engine slash fic. You never know what those trains have been up to in the engine shed. Just sayin’.”

If only I’d been that clever then.

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