Month: September 2016

Label-less and Limit-less

Over the last year I’ve had several conversations about sexual identity and gender orientation, a topic difficult for anyone to grasp, let alone our black-and-white culture. It usually begins, “It’s great you’re letting your son wear a dress.” And ends, “Do you think he’s gay?” And then I go in a mental tailspin. “What does it mean that my son wants to wear a dress? Does it mean he’s gay/transgendered/confused/abnormal? No. It’ doesn’t mean anything. He wants to wear a dress. In the end, maybe he will be one of these things, and maybe not. But why label or limit him, now? He’s 5, for Chrissake.” I try to shrug it off and be Zen. Many parents in the U.S. have already tread this path….evidenced in blogs/news/facebook/life. A boy in a dress is not that big a deal. Aaaaaaand…it still scares the shit out of me. I don’t want him to be teased. I want him to feel safe. And confident. And supported. And un-boxed-in. And this all comes from my own experiences. I came …

My Son Wore a Dress for a Month. Nothing Happened.

So my son wore a dress for a month in France. Nothing happened. (Why we were in France for a month is explained, here.) I anticipated my older son (he of the “anything-princess” persuasion) would want to don frocks the entire time. So I let him. Some Americans might think of France as a bunch of WWII-losing philosophical wimps who eat cheese and are lax in the morality department (ergo they’re “kinda gay”). But in reality, theirs is a traditional, macho culture where men are men and women are objects of beauty. In some ways, the French lag behind the US in terms of sexual equality and gender identity. Gay couples can marry, but only since 2013. They do have parenting rights, but surrogacy is absolutely interdit. And little boys in dresses? That’s something you see even less in France than in the US. Further, it’s a land of conformity where people avoid bothering others. Don’t speak too loudly in restaurants, don’t touch anything in stores, don’t color outside social lines, and make sure you dress …

French Summer, Part Deux

I should make the follow-up disclaimer to my last posting: the trip to France was (of course) fantastic. Aaaaaand…I took a leap of faith that all my relationships would survive the American invasion. There’s the saying, “House guests and fish: after three days, they start to smell.” And I went there for a month. We spent most of our time between two idyllic houses in extreme-rural Normandy. One house inhabited by two 70 year olds and one house inhabited by a young family with a 3 yo. Chickens and cats ruled both roosts.We were barely in cities, at all. So there was no time for Daddy to sit around in cafes sipping coffee, smoking cigarettes and pretending to be intellectually literary. Instead, I spent my days nagging: “Stop running through the house,” “Don’t chase the chickens,” “The cat doesn’t want to be picked up,” “Don’t touch the flowers,” “Don’t jump against the safety net on the trampoline,” and “No. You may not trap the cat on the trampoline, zip yourselves up with her, and traumatize …