Boys in Pink Dresses & Ex-Gay Queer Lectures

These are some of my favorite things!

The Pink DressMy Friend Oliver Danni sent a link to a gorgeous article about a four-year-old boy who told his mom he wanted a pink dress, not for playing dress-up, but to wear to school. Sarah Hoffman writes,

At 4, Sam has been expressing his preference for pink for half his life. My husband and I have bought him several pink items that fall in the sort-of-odd-but-socially acceptable range: pink Converse sneakers (hold the rhinestones), pink T-shirts, and—our most risqué to date—a hot pink polo shirt. His grandparents gave him a pair of pink light-up Skechers that he adores. The dress-up box at home overflows with pink tulle, lace, and marabou feathers.

But for public appearances, my husband and I realize that certain things—hair accessories, flowery clothing designs, dresses—are on the other side of a line we haven’t been quite willing to cross, one that sits right between eccentric-but-cute and is-that-a-boy-wearing-that? We have tried to find a comfortable place on the near side of the line where Sam can express himself without inviting ridicule, and we knew that a pink sundress would go beyond that. But it was starting to look as if Sam was no longer happy within the narrow parameters we’d established to protect him.

Read how Sam’s parents navigate their fears and concerns so that they can ultimately affirm their child. Check out The Pink Dress.

Last week I gave a talk at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. Writing for the Trinity Tripod, Katie Marinello wrote an article, Resisting Oppression: Toscano Speaks on Ex-Gay Movement. In the piece Marinello outlines pretty much everything I did in my presentation. It’s like you’re there!

Peterson started his presentation by explaining that it was unique – it was not a lecture and not a performance, but a combination of the two, and he expected lots of participation from the audience. His first task for the audience was to come up with a list of facts, myths, and assumptions about the ex-gay movement, which he typed into a Word document in front of us. The list included everything from ‘It is Religious Based,’ to ‘Being Gay is a Life Choice,’ to ‘It Only Happens in the Bible Belt.’ Toscano then addressed each item on our list. He explained that most ex-gay organizations are Protestant Christian, although there are some Catholic and Jewish organizations, and they can be found in any state except Rhode Island (and he “love[s] Rhode Island for that!”). People who run these organizations, he explained, often are not well-rounded, or well-educated. They absolutely believe that being gay is a choice and that it can be changed. Whether or not these programs work, he explained, depends on your individual definition of success. Some graduates of the various programs no longer identify as homosexual or no longer practice homosexuality, but there are no cases of people actually becoming functioning heterosexuals*, except in the claims of the programs’ leaders.

Read more here.
*Actually I said that no one actually changes their orientation.

Finally, my partner, Glen Retief, knowing of my love for all things Swedish and my chronic affection for God, sent me a link to the following video. In his e-mail to me Glen wrote,

The ABBA composers recently premiered a new musical in New York.  As you’ll see, they’ve grown up since “Honey, honey, touch me baby.”

For many of us who have had to deconstruct our faith and embark on a brave new world post-fundamentalism, this particular song may resonate deeply. Enjoy this poignant and emotive performance from the musical Kristina. (Read review of US production here.)
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vk76_iqw-Pc&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x234900&color2=0x4e9e00&border=1]

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This post has 10 Comments

  1. Jane on October 30, 2009 at 2:59 pm Reply

    Through tears I’m typing this. That song is so spot on! Lost and yet yearning. Can’t live without God, but I can’t live with the God that was presented to me for all those years. I’m still stumbling my way through this new landscape and often find potholes and pit stops. How do you express the feeling in your heart when you hear this song? Aching? That’s not quite it. Almost as if it might stop beating without even the question – God are you real? That’s it. No heart without the question.

  2. Michelle Galo on October 30, 2009 at 8:31 pm Reply

    The article about Sam is… wow. I’m filled with admiration and wonder for the strength and confidence of that child.

    As someone who hopes to be a parent one day, I like to play a little game with my partner Sean that goes, “What if our child does/says…?” When I presented Sam’s situation as a hypothetical, Sean replied, “Let him wear the dress, and tell him to go for the eyes.” (He was beat up a lot in school.) When I related the article to him, he expressed admiration for Sam’s ability so far to avoid physical confrontation.

    I hope Sam’s able to maintains that strong sense of identity and confidence as he grows up.

  3. Willie Hewes on October 31, 2009 at 9:50 am Reply

    Wow. Great song, amazing performance. It brought tears to my eyes, and I have very little inner turmoil around the question if God exists.

    Thanks for posting this.

  4. Carol on December 2, 2009 at 10:44 am Reply

    You always search out messages that touch my soul. Thank you for this song/video.

  5. robert on December 12, 2009 at 9:04 am Reply

    So what if the boy wants to wear dresses. Clothing is designated by the society that surrounds it. For example, kilts in Great Britian/Scotland are fully acceptable for males both young and old, but in the U.S. the kilt would be considered a skirt and an effeminate garment, although recently it has become a little more acceptable, but not dresses. My nephew loves dresses (he started at 7yrs.old), he likes wearing them and says “they are only clothes, and they’re a lot more comfortable than pants in the summer”. I agree with him. He has stated that if his son wants a dress or skirt he will buy it for him, and even ask his mother if she would do the same.
    I think if people would think about real world problems than thinking about this issue, the matter would resolve itself. I personally prefer skirts and kilts. I have worn both outside of my home. They are at least knee lenght, A-line style. I have even gotten more positive comments from people that I have met while either shopping or just walking about the neighborhood. Of course there has been negative comments, but only from those who are either narrow minded, or by those who are unsecure with their own masculinity. (red necks). Hell if you tell them that half of their DNA is female they actually deny it with remarks “I ain’t no girl or any part of a girl”. If you prove it to them they just walk away still denying it to themselves. So why not dress boys and girls alike, i.e. dresses, skirts, pants, shorts and shirts. Why don’t we make more colors available like pastels and bright colors for both genders. These type of aforementioned clothing should be boy boys & girls until they reach their teens, then let them choose how they wish to dress, not what we as adults compel upon them.
    If you don’t think boys will wear dresses or skirts, you better dig your head out of a hole it’s in and look on the internet (i.e. YouTube, Wikipedia, Flickr, etc-etc). Clothing will not or does not influence a persons sexual identity or preference.

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