An 8-year-old boy was amongst the dancing revelers on the streets of NYC last weekend, participating in the 2015 NYC Pride Parade. NewNowNext posted his image to their Facebook page.
When people see a child completely comfortable in his own skin, it’s hard for them to grasp it. Our culture has pushed heteronormativity for so long — what will it look like when we finally start to break away from that, and accept people for who they really are? I imagine it will look a lot like this beautiful boy, dancing freely in the streets.
As you can imagine, there was some backlash to the photo. His mother responded to those who thought it was “inappropriate” for her child to be participating in the festivities in the most beautiful way:
“He has always been very gender fluid when it came to toys and his development. He preferred fashion dolls to action figures. I looked at both in the store and figured that the action figure was as much a doll as a Barbie, so if he wanted the one marketed to girls, that was fine with me.
He also likes to play with trains, especially wooden subway trains. He never wanted to play sports and likes to draw pictures and do word searches. He goes to ballet class and loves to dance. He loves drag queens and thinks that it is fantastic that boys can play dress up and become beautiful girls, even after they grow up. He, himself, likes to play dress up in skirts and dresses, but most days he looks like any other ‘boy.’
He is a shy boy who is self-conscious about his missing teeth when he smiles and very intelligent. He doesn’t like school because he gets bullied, but he does well academically. We do our best to stop the bullying and involve the LGBT services at his school. We keep him involved in the LGBT community because we believe that by speaking to other people who were like him when they were his age reinforces that he is of value and that his life as he wants to live it is okay.
He is 8 years old and is starting to get crushes on boys. That is pretty much the extent of what he knows about sexuality. I do my job as a parent and censor things in his life that may not be appropriate…He is old enough and smart enough to know he would be marching in the Pride parade in front of thousands of people and did all of it willingly. In fact, I thought he would stop after 10 blocks of walking, but he felt so good about being dressed up and being who he is that he vogued and danced the entire two miles. We collaborated on the outfit and this is how he wanted to look today.
This was his Pride today. He felt it. He loved it. He was it. These children will be our future. Embrace who they are. All they are asking for is the same love, respect, and acceptance of themselves as any child would.”
If I have one wish for myself as a parent, it’s that I’ll always be able to love my kids completely unconditionally and support whoever it is they become. We are not our children; we are merely vessels through which they arrive to this world. Remembering this is one of the toughest parts of parenting. Kudos to this mom for succeeding in our most important task as parents: showering our children with unconditional love.