Those of you who follow this blog know that I rarely get bent out of shape and write a post out of anger. The truth is that confrontation, especially online, gives me anxiety so bad that I almost always shut right down and cease to function. That said, a discussion I had earlier this week is still ringing around in my head and I need to get it out.
The discussion was about what activities were available for kids in our area. Included in my list of suggestions was gymnastics, which was immediately met with a scoff. When I asked why, they explained that they didn’t want their son to become, “you know?” to which I calmly answered, “No, I don’t know, please explain”. I then explained how my son was in gymnastics and how much fun he was having with it. They quickly back tracked and tried to explain how their son wasn’t very sporty and blah, blah, blah, the damage was done. Sadly, this isn’t the only case of this I’ve heard lately.
I’m not an expert on the gay community or what triggers the different emotions people feel, but I’m pretty sure that sports have nothing to do with it. When we signed my son up for gymnastics, it had never crossed my mind that it was a sport designated to a specific sex. He has a mix of boys and girls in his class and, more importantly, he loves it more than any of thing we have put him in. THAT is what I am looking for when choosing an activity for my young children, not whether or not they will be teased about it.
This brings me to the thing that bothers me the most about the whole situation. The kids who tease and bully others for doing something that is traditionally done by the opposite sex, don’t get that stereotype out of thin air. They get it from the so-called grownups around them who continue to comment and joke about how it’ll “turn them gay” if they take part. Forget, for a minute, the fact that it is an insult to the entire gay community, but you are also brainwashing your child to see differences as wrong and by doing so you are breeding a whole new generation of hateful behaviour.
Why not try this instead? The next time your child wants to try out a new activity, let them try it out. If they excel at it and love what they are doing, instead of mocking it, try fostering their love for it. There is enough ignorance and hate in the world already without teaching our children that something as simple as choice of sport is worthy of ridicule. Let’s give our children the power to choose without judgement.
My boy likes his gymnastics class, he loves his teacher, he’s doing physical activity and he smiles from ear to ear the whole time. And that’s more than enough for this Dad.