On a recent summer vacation to Half Moon Bay with Shane’s brother and his family, we decided to take the kiddos to visit San Francisco. Shane and I had the little ones with us (H2:7, and S:5.5 years old). On our way to Bi-right creamery (you must try this place. It’s the birthplace of salted caramel ice cream) we drove through the Castro District, San Fran’s gay village. The girls, fascinated by all the colors, started pointing out rainbow flags and rainbow pedestrian crossings. Always looking for an opportunity to educate, I perked up.
Hey girls, do you know where we are and what the flags signify?
It means we are in the gay neighborhood. Do you know what that means?
I was disappointed when H2 didn’t raise her hand since one of our dear couple friends are gay and H2 has playdates with their daughter frequently.
“It is when men love and sometimes marry men and women love and sometimes marry women,” I say with pride at how I’m opening these girls’ minds.
Now, I realize the better answer would have been the way my sister-in-law worded it later:
It means people can love whomever they choose. Isn’t that nicer? But that was the best I could do in the moment.
“Can they have kids?” S is adamant about people having kids.
“If they decide to.” Then I turn to H2: “You know how Ellie has two moms? That’s because they chose to have kids.”
Further down the street, we see a number of men beautifully dressed in women’s clothing. Naturally, the girls want to know why?
I give it a try:
“Well you know how girls get to dress in pants? It would only be fair if guys could wear whatever they wanted to.” My ideal world is all about fairness, equality, and justice. “I think it’s pretty brave (that’s H2’s favorite word) to be able to express yourself no matter what other people think.
Shane decides to simplify it even more. “You know how you like wearing pretty clothes? Some men like pretty clothes too.
H2, picking up on the word brave (God help me) or pretty- who knows: “If I were a boy, I would wear skirts and dresses.”
This is the pivotal moment folks. This is where the child is going to see acceptance in action if I have anything to do with it:
“That’s great honey. You’d be a wonderful…,”
I look at Shane for the right terminology, because words are everything and we can’t have them be ok with a concept but then ruin it with inappropriate terms. He’s quiet. I keep going:
“… transgender…or…cross-dresser…or…drag queen or gender-nonconformist.”
“Did I miss anything?” I whisper to Shane.
“Nope, I think you got them all.”
“A wonderful what BB?” asks H2.
“Never mind honey.”
Hey, at the very least those words are now properly placed in her subconscious.
Now, I’d be devastated it I’ve offended anyone because believe me my intentions were nothing but pure. However, if I have or if there are other terms besides what GLAAD prefers, please let me know.