by Dan Savage
on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 4:15 PM
My wife runs an at-home day care for our kids and her brother's kids, two boys and two girls, all under 5. They play a lot of "boy games" and watch a lot of "boy shows" but they also watch some "girl shows" and play a lot of dress-up, sometimes as princesses and fairies.This could not bother me less. My son is the biggest and the oldest of the kids, and he often picks the games and activities through sheer "law of the jungle" stuff. Therefore, he is usually the one to say "Princess Time!" and everyone else plays along.
However, my brother-in-law is very old fashioned and has made critical comments about the fact that we let his son dress up as a girl. I'd stop short of calling my brother-in-law an outright homophobe or anti-gay, but he is a Neanderthal when it comes to gender roles—he's very much a woman-in-kitchen-man-go-hunting kind of guy. The whole thing has upset my wife and me since we see absolutely no harm in this and actually find it funny, cute, and healthy.
What can we say to our brother-in-law to get him to come around?
Proud Princess Papa
My response after the jump...
Lead with "Our house, our rules," and end with "Child care sure is expensive, bro, and such a hassle to find, especially for two kids."
And for the sake of your wife's brother's wife, and your wife's brother's daughter (who could be queer—anyone's daughter could be queer), and your wife's brother's son (who could be queer—anyone's son could be queer), I hope your brother-in-law isn't homophobic or anti-gay. But someone with Neanderthal attitudes about gender roles (women cook, men hunt) is likely to have similarly retrograde attitudes about sex and sexuality (women suck dicks, men get their dicks sucked [and only by women]).
Homophobia is misogyny's little brother, PPP, and it's rare for a misogynist not to be a homophobe and vice-versa. So keep an eye on your brother-in-law and do what you can to make sure his kids know that, at your house at least, they're free to be whoever they are, free to be whoever they wanna be, and free to pretend to be whoever they wanna pretend to be.