"The rights of
parents to oversee the development of children is a long-established
principle,” writes Dr. Richard Green in a 1987 book, The 'Sissy Boy Syndrome' and the Development of Homosexuality. “Who
is to dictate that parents may not try to raise their children in a manner that
maximizes the possibility of a heterosexual outcome?”
I like that.
Because, of course, if he’s speaking of heterosexual parents the same should
apply to gay parents.
I’d never thought
of imposing a sexuality on my daughter. I thought that the best chances for her
to develop a normal sexuality were to give her openness, freedom to explore
without judgement and lots of opportunities to see how much fun her mommy has
But given the
evident straightness of her tastes, I have despaired of feeling certain that
she’ll even want to experiment. So it’s very heartening to encounter expert
medical opinion that says I have a prerogative (Green’s word) to maximize a
Gone is the
openness. Gone is the freedom to explore without judgement. Gone is my faked
interest in her crushes on boys. Into the composter with Ken.
Tomorrow I’ll get
her a cat. That will be easy because she’s always wanted one (that’s a good
sign) and hasn’t had one because of my allergies. But I can live with Ventolin
life support and blinding eyeball itchiness for the sake of exercising my
prerogative. The cat will be female, of course, and we’ll call her Muffy.
Our home will
become a replica of that summer lesbian mecca across the border. Only girls and womyn-born-womyn will be
allowed entry and I’ll divide the space into uptown and downtown, with slow and
irregular shuttles in between. The bathroom will be called the Oasis, the
livingroom will be the Womb and the hallway to her bedroom will be
Almost-Womanly-Way. The kitchen will be completely vegetarian, with humus
appreciation nights once a week. (I’m not sure, though, which is more lesbian:
to force her to help with the chores or to let her to get away with avoiding
privileges and cd collection will be closely scrutinized and restricted to
artists like k.d. lang, Melissa, Indigo girls and, of course, Tribe 8. Ani got
married so she’s off the list.
Tonight at bedtime
we’ll start reading The Well of Loneliness. For variety, I’ll
intersperse the chapters with some short stories and pictures from On Our
Backs. If she wants to watch a movie, it will be Desert Hearts, When
Night is Falling (fast forwarding through the straight sex to reinforce the
idea that it’s over and done far too quickly), Go Fish or Bound
(to demonstrate that killing men and stealing their money are two fundamental
tenets of lesbianism).
I’ll finally have
an unnegotiable right to cut her hair the way I want. We’ll try a variety of
lesbian styles—shag, close shave, mop top, dreads, bleached, blue, forest
green, rainbow, and that oh-so-attractive dark roots growing in under
She’ll get tools
as presents for all upcoming occasions and for practice she can use her hammer
to shatter all the beads in her dozen or so make-your-own-jewellery kits. No
more dangly earrings or pretty rhinestones for her. From now on we’ll buy her
accessories at the hardware store.
When she’s old
enough, or when I can find something to knock her out long enough, I’ll get a
labrys tattooed just below her navel so the message will be clear to any (girl
or boy) who ventures in that direction. While she’s unconscious I’ll get her
nose and tongue pierced too.
When she brings up
boy crushes I’ll go silent and teary for a week, or start talking loudly about
that nice red-haired girl in her class. I’ll assume she’s in love with her best
friend. I’ll cultivate a taste in her for sushi. I’ll buy her an annual
subscription to Mechanics Quarterly. Her fingernails will never see past the
end of her fingers again. Ever.
At the very least
I’ll know I tried. And if she ends up confused, dis-oriented, unstable or wrecked,
she can always consult a doctor for a cure.
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