I have been privately debating whether or not I to share my thoughts on the story about “The Princess Boy” since Monday. I’ve held out for so long for one main reason: I didn’t want to sound like an idiot.
Since Cheryl Kilodavis and her son, Dyson’s, appearance on The Today Show I’ve seen a lot of idiotic comments ranging from people who obviously want to appear funny (at the expense of a child) to online strangers they will likely never meet to folks whose sole intent was to simply be ignorant and hurtful. Because they can. It’s easy to get away with being a mean spirited asshole when you’re discussing anyone or anything deemed different from the norm.
Another reason I wasn’t sure whether or not to dive into this topic was my own befuddlement. I don’t know whether or not my fears over other people’s reactions would prevent me from allowing my child to express themselves as they saw fit. I don’t know what it’s like to be a child who early on identifies with everything typically associated with the opposite gender. I’ve only taken one course in gender roles and relations back in college so needless to say, I’m not equipped to hold competent conversations related to gender dysfunction at length.
But the more I thought it, the more I realized my lack of decisiveness is exactly why I should write about it instead of opting to not say anything at all. I think it’s better to say “I don’t know” than sit at my desk and be hateful like so many other people out of confusion.
Some people have questioned the motives of Dyson’s mother. “Why would she allow her son to be paraded around on TV for the sake of promoting her book?” I honestly didn’t look at this interview so cynically, but in hindsight, I didn’t particularly care for the way Meredith Viera asked Dyson boy to spin around in his dress. Twice.
I don’t think she meant any harm by her request. Meredith appeared to be quite sympathetic to Dyson’s story. At the same time, asking him to spin around seemed a little patronizing. This is television, after all, so I suppose that is to be expected.
However, I don’t know if it’s fair to deem this woman a bad mother because she wrote a book about an issue that’s obviously becoming one for a growing number of families. And if she’s writing a book about her unique son, it’s a given the son will have to participate in the promotion of the story and its message at some level.
I also dislike some of the insults hurled at Dyson’s father over him saying that he doesn’t mind letting him son just be for now.
Others have said they worry that allowing Dyson to dress this way makes him a target. They say it’s only a matter of time before someone calls him names like faggot.
I don’t know if Dyson is gay as issues pertaining to gender and sexuality aren’t always related. One thing I am confident about, though, is that Dyson could grow up to be the quintessential alpha male but if he were gay someone would still call him a faggot.
If you want to be talk about getting a child used to the real world, let’s not pretend a man – especially a black man – who doesn’t exhibit a certain level of “masculinity” isn’t prone to being called a faggot.
The same applies to a woman who doesn’t hold any sexual interest in men, refuses to put on a dress, or do anything else outside of what society collectively feels how a lady “should be.”
Understanding this leaves the question that ought to matter most: What is best for the child? Dyson’s parents feel that at this point in his life, it’s his happiness.
Already critics say, “Well, my kid would dress up as a tiger all day if you let him.” Then there’s, “That’s not the world we live in.”
Maybe the world needs changing.
At this point I probably sound a little to idealistic, but I was introduced to hatred over who I was – something different – very early in my life. That hatred was largely rooted in people not knowing how to judge people unlike them. It took me years to get over it and despite knowing, accepting, and loving who I am now some of that fear still lives within me.
I don’t know what will come of Dyson in the future. I still don’t know if putting him on national television is the right thing to do. But, what I do know is that when you’re different being told “it’s not big deal ” goes a long way. So as Dyson and other children like them figure themselves out, maybe that’s all they should be told right now. These hateful and limiting alternatives surely aren’t going to do them any favors.