the issue of sexuality

It seems like the universe has conspired to have me write this entry. On the same morning I stumbled across Raising My Rainbow, a blog about a gender non-conforming 5 year old, I had an enthusiastic seminar on sexuality and HIV.

Raising My Rainbow really struck a chord in my mind because it was the first time I was ever confronted with the reality of such a young child being allowed to opt out of his predetermined gender roles. If you haven’t before, take a moment to consider what this means and check out the blog in the meantime. This five year old boy gets pedicures done with Mummy, dresses up as girls for Halloween and generally spends a lot more time in skirts than most other boys his age.

I am hard pressed to put my finger on what exactly weirds me out about the situation, but I definitely had a moment of “WTF?”. Generally speaking, I encourage people not to let themselves be tied down by the constraints of society and not to let themselves be pigeon-holed into a role they’re uncomfortable with. But I’ve only ever given a thought to adults in this situation. Because grown-ups are assumed to know what they want. But a child?

So I guess my real issue is his age: is a child that young capable of making these kinds of decisions? And should we trust the decisions they make? The family is the earliest institution of socialization we’re exposed to, and that gives parents the enormous responsibility of turning out functional members of society. In effect, parents are expected to guide the child on the path to becoming an appropriate adult.

But how can I fault this boy’s parents for letting him express himself, especially when the alternative would be to force him into society’s idea of the ‘real man’? Too often in Jamaican society, we toughen up our boys too much, robbing them of much-needed emotional expression. The concepts are diametrically opposed. Is one approach the right one, or does the issue fall into the shady grey zone of human experience?

I will not deny that hearing about this little boy’s first pedicure didn’t sit comfortably with me, but that reaction is largely a product of my environment. I believe in advocating the right of a person to be whatever gender he/she wants to be without judgement. That should include little girls and boys too.

Shouldn’t it?


How would you react if your 3 year old son decided he wanted to dress up as Snow White for Halloween? 

London 2012: Rampant materialism and freedom of speech

This is an awesome picture. If only I knew who it belonged to.
Bondage, my boyfriend said.

This article on how the Olympics have struck a deal with the UK to prohibit certain words is absolutely terrifying. In a nutshell, two lists of words have been published with the edict that combining two or more words from this list makes you liable for legal action. List A contains words like ‘games’ ‘two thousand and twelve’ and ‘twenty twelve’. List B has ‘gold’, ‘medal’, and ‘sponsors’. These are everyday words. I feel like the judiciary is going to run out of duct tape keeping track of all the violations.

This article from the Huffington Post also pokes at what it calls the chilling and censoring of free speech. And this whole saga must be true if the Huff Post is carrying it, which leads me to my next question.

Why aren’t we hearing more about this? The UK is doing its very best to eliminate any unofficial distribution of Olympic footage – including deleting Youtube videos and banning spectators from broadcasting videos via their cellphones – and the rest of the world goes on like it’s business as usual? They’re not just body-blocking the internet, either. Non-sponsors aren’t allowed to display any Olympic-related merchandise, or even to reference the Olympics obliquely. And the ‘authorised’ sponsors (or protectors of their interests) are given free reign to “remove, destroy, conceal or erase any infringing article”.

Hang on, what?

Since when can Coco-Cola ring up the police to come demolish my Pepsi-branded Olympic-torch lawn ornament? I guess around the same time they stopped letting you use your Mastercard at the Olympics.

I can’t believe a first world government (especially one that came up with the brilliance that is the NHS) has let the corporate world trod so heavily on its rights and freedoms. But I guess everyone has their price.