Open Letters to KRXQ Sacramento

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Parents of Gender Non-Conforming Children Speak Out For Tolerance

From a Ph.D Mom in Mississippi

To Dawn, Rob, and Arnie of KRXQ Sacramento:

I am the mother of a 10-year old gender-variant boy.  I heard about the controversy on your show and did a heavy dose of listening.  I listened to both the original show and to one of the segments, dated 6/3/09, in which you reflected on the controversy.  I want first of all to thank Dawn for her thoughtful and courageous advocacy.  We need people like you, Dawn.  I want second to insist that anyone advocating violence against Rob and Arnie is wrong and out of line. Violence cannot be answered with violence.  Ever.

In the reflection dated 6/3/09, Rob made it clear that he was not going to apologize—that he felt there was nothing to apologize for, that comments made by Rob and Arnie were taken out of context, that criticism lacks perspective on or knowledge of the show’s general tenor and approach.  This is a show that does not attempt to change opinion but rather to reflect it, he said.  Over and over, in response to the criticism that he and Arne should not use words like “weirdos” or “freaks” to describe transgender or gender-nonconforming youth, Rob insisted that “no one advocated calling” such kids “freaks and weirdos,” that this is simply what the majority of society would label such children.  And he asked whether people like me, on the other side of this issue, are ready to have a conversation that admits that this is the way our children are perceived.

Believe me—we know.  And that’s precisely the problem.  Your show may not seek to change minds, but it has a reach and influence for which it needs to take responsibility.  Those of us who parent gender-variant and transgender children are well aware of the social stigma that attaches to our children, and to us as parents.  It doesn’t take more than a trip to the grocery store or a visit to a playground with a boy in pink crocs to understand this.  We fight against that stigma every day in our efforts to ward off suicidal tendencies, to cope with bullying, and to prevent our children from hating themselves, the way that most of society hates them.

I am not asking for retraction or apology.  I’m asking for the show to take responsibility for the possible effects of hateful labels, of jokes about hitting, or of comments like, “I look forward to when
they go out into society and society beats them down.”  Your audience—an audience that you yourself note is large, and loyal—listens to you, to ALL of you.  Rob and Arnie may not have said that people SHOULD go out and call such kids “freaks.” But nor did they tell them not to.  And, as Dawn seems to understand, that hurts the kids like mine who are struggling to survive, psychologically and physically intact, into adulthood.

On June 3, Rob spoke with passion about the show’s advocacy for children.  I would ask simply that you recognize that ALL children require your advocacy—even those who don’t fit the norm, even those who challenge our deepest sense of what men and women, boys and girls are.  These children need love and understanding.  If you can’t give them that, then please just leave them alone.

Thank you for your attention.

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Filed under: Letters from Parents of Non-Conforming Children,

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