Making Something out of Nothing

Last night, we let the newly-minted 12-year-old watch the movie version of Rent with us. She’s been begging us to let her watch it for a while now. Given that it’s rated PG-13 and she’s a very mature 12, we finally gave in.

She’s seen clips from the movie on YouTube (I’m just a little bit of a Renthead) and she’s heard both the movie soundtrack and Original Broadway Cast recordings, so her father and I wondered what questions, if any, she might have about the movie. It turns out there were only a few. She asked what masturbation was – clearly a parenting and Family Life Education failure. She wanted to clarify that Maureen is indeed Bisexual. She asked what a Drag Queen was. She also wondered if New York was really that depressing looking in the 80s.

The New York question was easy – I grew up an hour from The City and went there many times during the 80s. It really was that ugly. I remember going into Bryant Park once. It was a barren, scary place. These days it is a lovely park. Times Square has been thoroughly Disney-fied (another term I had to define for her). NYC is a far different place now than the time the movie was set in.

Defining a Drag Queen was easy with Angel on the screen. Maureen’s bisexuality was similarly easy to confirm. An explanation wasn’t required – The Eldest already knows about sexual preferences.

Oddly, one thing I tried to clarify, but was rebuffed with a “yeah, I know that,” was the drug use. I suspect Discovery Health is to thank for that. Masturbation proved a bit more complicated, but she and I got through that one just fine. Fathers aren’t usually consulted where little girls’ bodily functions are concerned. I did make sure to tell her that not only could Daddy be trusted to understand if she ever needed to talk to him, but that there are many other females in her life that she can trust.

All of this is on my mind not only because we just watched it last night, but because there is apparently a big uproar over the introduction of an openly gay character on Glee, and the increased emphasis on the fact that there are other gay characters on the show. Apparently it was fine to have a gay character on the show as long as he wasn’t shown doing gay things. How very Catholic Church of these people.

Why in the world would people object to two gay guys kissing, yet be perfectly ok with their little darlings watching all of the other hyper-sexual behaviors on the show. Teen pregnancy, premature ejaculation, all kind of sex – that just fine. Gay kissing? Oh noes, my child will be scarred by the homosexual agenda.

Give me a break. The only reason the kid will be affected at all is that you are against it. They don’t care – or wouldn’t, if you hadn’t conditioned them into thinking that following their heart, mind, and soul was wrong. Why should there be a “homosexual agenda”? Why isn’t this viewed as just another kiss? Because some people make it into a big deal, that’s why.

We’ve never made a big deal about sexuality – it just exists, like any other thing about a person. Hair color, eye color, sexual preference – these are all things we can choose to mask but don’t truly change. You can wear blue contacts but underneath you still have brown eyes. I can dye my hair as often as I’d like but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m going gray. My hair is turning gray waaaaay to fast for my liking, but there it is and it keeps coming. It’s just like homosexuality – people can try to ignore it, ban it, hide it, protest it, but it’s still there. It won’t go away. Someone won’t magically turn straight because you want them to be anymore than someone is going to turn gay just because they saw two guys kissing on tv.

The absurdity of it all leaves me shaking my head. I’m glad we’re not dealing with that sort of nonsense in our house. If we had, we would’ve missed out on this gem of a movie (yeah, yeah, not as good as the play , but way more accessible).

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