Attitudes like Sherri Shepherd’s are why there are still so many queer & trans youth out on the streets. At least attitudes like hers in kind, if not in degree. She tried to make some kind of point about how she wouldn’t just go off at her son if he wanted to wear a dress… but you know, if you have a serious problem and even a moral opposition to some part of your child that they can’t change about themselves? And you say that there’s no place for that in your house? It’s only a hop, skip and a jump before they have no place in your house. Seriously… how many more generations before good parenting means letting kids grow up, whether they’re trans or not, straight or not, while expressing their gender however they want to?
I found the clip via Feministing, where there’s some trans 101 going on in the comments as usual, along with people tsking at Barbara Walters for assuming that a child might be trans. That’s funny, I watched the video and it seemed to me like she spent more than half the time saying that it’s quite possible the child isn’t trans–which is quite true. When you take a step back, it starts to look really obvious which is the possibility that nobody wants to deal with or think about, isn’t it? Also, the question came up: is it all right to forbid your son from wearing a dress for his own safety? It’s not a bad question. But I think it needs to be asked with the understanding that for a whole lot of trans people, it’s far more than an issue of whether people are going to make fun of you or beat you up. And asked with the goal in mind that regardless of who a kid grows up to be, we ought to be working towards a home and school environment where kids are protected from persecution based on gender expression.
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