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Letter to the WCP Editor – 2.16.12

Letter to the WCP Editor – 2.16.12

Posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 7:00 pm

To the Editor,
A few weeks ago, my wife and I were in a local shop with our infant daughter. While we were shopping, I overheard a woman and a child who was her grandson or nephew (she made reference to his mom). He wanted something. She told him “No.” Why? Because whatever the item was (I was out of view), it was pink, and “pink is for girls.”
 He asked again. She refused again, with the same explanation. This went on for about a minute, with the woman becoming more and more … I couldn’t tell whether it was anger or agitation, but let’s just say her dander was up.
If you recognize yourself from this story, please let me make one thing clear before I go on. I am not writing this letter to the editor at you. This is not a lecture.
This is a series of anecdotes that come to mind because of that incident in the shop. We have some officials here in Tennessee who can’t tell the difference between education and indoctrination. I’m just letting people know something about myself and hoping they can take some lessons from it.
When I was a young boy, I liked to cook. I couldn’t, of course. Anything I would have made on an actual stove would have tasted awful, assuming I didn’t burn the house down in the process.
There were chefs on public broadcasting (we didn’t have cable back then), both male and female, and I imitated both my dad and my mom, who loved creating meals.
My parents got for me, from a garage sale, a Strawberry Shortcake™ baking set. It had an oven and a stove, all plastic, and a little refrigerator, too, if I remember correctly. Being Strawberry-Shortcake-themed, it was largely pink, with the character pasted on in the form of large stickers.
At this moment, it’s worth going back to that first sentence of mine. You’ll notice that I have a wife. We’ll be married nine years in May. I have a daughter. Not only did I play with something pink when I was a kid, but I played with Strawberry Shortcake stuff. Still dated girls. Still married an amazing woman. Still had a child.
I was pretty rough-and-tumble in high school. I played soccer in the suburbs of Chicago, defense, sweeper, meaning: I was the last guy before the goalkeeper. If you were going to get by me, you were quite possibly going to pay in blood.
For those of you who have only experienced soccer as it exists in Northwest Tennessee, believe me, it can be very much a physical and aggressive game. I also did gymnastics. I’ll admit, that’s generally not seen as the most manly of sports in many parts of the country, but being able to do push-ups while holding a handstand actually turns out to be a good way to impress girls.
I lived with a gay man for two years in college. He remains one of my best friends. We’d both get slurs tossed our way, even though I was obviously dating females at the time. He was a groomsman at my wedding, which, again, was to my wife.
There’s a whole conversation that needs to be had about how it’s o.k. if your kid turns out to be gay (note that I very specifically do not say turns gay, but turns out to be gay). I don’t know that we’re ready for that one yet.
In the meantime, think of the football players who wear pink dress shirts, who get slapped on the butt for doing a good job, and who are totally straight.
Playing with something pink, wearing something pink, is not going to turn your boy gay. Talking about homosexuality, and I turn my attention here to our lawmakers who, rather than doing something to help the economy, are doing their best to legislate morality, does not turn a kid gay.
Ask my wife. When she’s old enough, ask my daughter. I’m a husband. I’m a father. I’m not afraid of pink.
Jeff Stumpo

WCP 2.21.12

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