Thursday, May 20, 2010
Fatherhood Friday: KISS Army
This past Christmas, I gave my niece Olivia a KISS t-shirt for a present, as my brother is a life-long member of the KISS Army. Hell, I would be too, if they allowed Gays in the KISS Army. I mean really, what’s not Gay about KISS? Makeup, theatrics, THE HAIR…
But I digress, in possible retribution for this gift; Eli was given a Queen t-shirt from my parents (at my brother’s urging perhaps?) for a recent gift giving event at our home. I love it, and I love Queen. They’re just like KISS but with more theatrics and less makeup. It still amazes me that people were surprised to find out that Freddie Mercury was Gay.
I suppose these were the same people who were shocked to find out Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Elton John, and the guy who played Jack on “Will and Grace” were all Gay as well. I remember at a very early age loving Elton John and his music, and before anyone panics, I have known I was Gay since I was in about 4th grade, well before any of this vinyl crossed my path. I came home from 6th Grade camp and my parents had bought Queen’s “A Night at the Opera” and the music blew me away. I pored over the artwork and songs in “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and marveled at the wonders therein. A friend at art summer school had a copy in his locker and we would sit in the hallway at Whittier Junior High and wonder what it was all about. Music has been an important part of my life ever since I can remember, and I am working on instilling that with Anna and Eli. It doesn’t matter who made the music, or what their sexuality is, what matters is that it is GOOD music. So, with heads held high, Eli will proudly wear his Queen shirt, critics and homophobes be damned. The boy knows how to rock out, and has been known to don a fuzzy DJ Lance rave hat and Anna’s pink plastic Barbie shoes while raising the roof to a Romantics tune on the stereo.
My Dad told me about an article in the Toledo Free Press Magazine and wondered if we had had any problems with Eli wearing his shirt around town. Ironically, the first day he wore it to daycare, the daycare lady’s grandson (who is also Eli’s bestest buddy) was wearing the same exact shirt. Was I horrified? Hell yes, I pride myself on my children’s diverse, eclectic, and (thanks to Tod’s brother and sister in law in London) international wardrobe. The fact that another toddler was honing in on Eli’s hipster quotient was unforgiveable. We promptly de-friended Colton on Facebook and vowed to shop even harder for ironic/iconic hiptastic toddler wear.
Michael Miller, the author of the article my Dad shared with me had this to say:
To this point, we have not spent any time worrying about our sons and gender roles. For starters, we are firmly in the category of those who believe orientation is decided at the DNA level; it’s not a choice we are going to influence through exposing the boys to Metallica, rare steak and Robert Mitchum’s “Night of the Hunter.”
We have let them play and explore with death-dealing robots, super heroes, dragons, and princesses, mermaids and Julie Andrews’ “Sound of Music” as they want to.
There are so many child-raising factors to deal with — health, education, socialization, potty training and 1,000 other challenges — that devoting energy to being concerned about an orientation we can’t control does not make any sense. I do not believe letting Evan wear a Queen T-shirt with lyrics to a song he has never even heard the complete version of is going to determine the gravity of his future loafers. Frankly, it’s icky to even be on that path of speculation.
I couldn’t agree more, and hope that more people adopt this kind of attitude towards their kids and their futures. Let the kids love what they chose to love music-wise (even if it is vomit-inducing Justin Bieber or Mylie Cyruss) and let them embrace their inner Lady Gaga if they want, there are worse things they could do. And when they bring that special someone home, know that their music choices early on had NOTHING to do with it. Although, as a caveat, boys who like show tunes are usually Gay, just sayin’.
There are no guarantees in life, and I would hesitate to even think about demanding a perfect child. Just imagine if Freddie’s Mom or Dad had tried to change him, the world would be a less fabulous place and “Wayne’s World” (The movie) would simply suck.
You can read Miller’s entire article here:
I thank him for letting me share his work with my readers.