Open Letters to KRXQ Sacramento

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Parents of Gender Non-Conforming Children Speak Out For Tolerance

From a Volunteer who Works with Children

Dear John, Arnie, Rob, and Dawn:

Once a month, I volunteer with a group of children who love pink, Polly Pockets, Bratz dolls, and many other girls’ toys and activities.  These kids put on fashion shows, make forts with decorative scarves, dress up in princess gowns, engage in catty repartee, and debate the talents and abilities of Hannah Montana and Britney Spears.  They range in age from five to twelve, and they adore these gatherings.

These kids are also all boys.

None of them was raised by parents who encouraged their infants to like toys and activities that we traditionally associate with girls.  All of them have parents who initially struggled (and still struggle) with what it means to nurture a child who so clearly doesn’t conform to our culture’s gender norms.  But these parents come monthly to a group that encourages them not to change their children but to support them on their journey through life as non-traditional boys.

Some of these kids will undoubtedly grow up to identify as transgendered (and, consequently, “boy” is not really an accurate description of them even now).  A few will eventually identify as heterosexual men, some of whom will remain feminine.  Perhaps most of them, though, will come out as gay or bisexual.  

But the truth of the matter is that none of us will know how these kids – or their masculine girl counterparts – see themselves until they are old enough to let us know in their own words.  Indeed, many of them have yet to place a label on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  These boys are merely being as true to themselves as are feminine women and girls.

And while many of them are too young to understand, their parents grasp the risks that their children face:  harassment at school, violence on the street, ostracism from their religious communities, isolation from extended family, sexual assault in social situations, and possibly even death at their own or others’ hands.

Knowing these possibilities terrifies me as well.

I do not want these children to grow up in a world where adults demand that they deny their gender identities so they can conform to what someone else sees as appropriate for boys.  I do not want these kids to be damaged by their parents’ criticism of their gender expression, for those children who live in homes without parental support are at greater risk for depression, substance abuse, dropping out of school, self-mutilation, and suicide.  If these boys get harassed or assaulted, i want the blame to go squarely where it belongs:  on their assailants and their homophobia and transphobia.  No matter what happens, an attack will never, ever be the responsibility of these kids, just as it is never the fault of someone who survives a gay bashing or a sexual assault.

I want these children to be able to live – now and as they grow up – as themselves, not as someone else’s vision of what those selves should be.  I want them to live in a world that is as free from transphobia as parents want their kids to live in a world that is free of bullying.  A world that doesn’t see femininity as inferior to masculinity.  A world where adults take these kids and their gender expressions as seriously as they take girls’ femininity and boys’ masculinity.

As an adult, I can write and use words in a way that is not yet possible for these kids.  As a feminist, I cannot remain silent seeing gender stereotypes wielded as a weapon to limit another person’s happiness.  As a long-time volunteer with children, I cannot bear to see members of our community, no matter how young, ostracized and unappreciated.  As a part of the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community, it pains me to see homophobia and transphobia perpetuated through the lives of those who are so small.  And as a human being, it hurts me to know that these children don’t receive unconditional love and celebration of who they are from everyone in their lives.

Whatever they do – dance to “The Nutcracker”, sings songs from “High School Musical” (1 and 2!), dream about having a boyfriend, make up skits where they all play girl roles, or wear wigs and heels – i want the children with whom i volunteer never to worry that someone may hurt them for being their wonderful, beautiful, fabulous, feminine selves.

Dawn, thank you for your pointing out the potential violence that these children face. Arnie and Rob, yhank you for considering these children — their actual lives, feelings, and experiences, and those of their families — before dehumanizing them in the future.

Sincerely,
  Shannon E. Wyss
  Washington, DC

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Filed under: Uncategorized

2 Responses

  1. Carrie says:

    Perhaps on this website you might prominently include a link to the remaining advertisers and contact email addresses? KRXQ has removed their list of advertisers from their own website, so we need to keep a record as we continue to push for the firing of Rob Williams and Arnie States. Here’s a start, from the Boycott KRXQ and its Advertisers group on Facebook:

    Carls JR. (CKE Restaurants) – pr@ckr.com

    Home Depot – public_relations@homedepot.com

    Tobacco Republic

    Albertson’s / Jewel (supermarket grocery chain)

    Flex Your Power (California Energy Efficiency Campaign)

    Nissan – Darryll.harrison@nissanusa.com

    Bank of America – joseph.l.goode@bankofamerica.com

    AT&T – john.britton@att.com

    Verizon – Debra.Lewis@verizonwireless.com

    McDonalds – walt.riker@mcdonalds.com

    Well Fargo

    Griffin & Reed Eyecare

    Pro City Mortgage – procity@procitymortgage.com

    • paulackerman says:

      sorry that isn’t prominent enough; it’s there, it has it’s own page, but this theme doesn’t display pages very well. I’ll make a graphic button on the home page that is easier to find.

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