"This is a children's ride!"

BY Advocate.com Editors

November 07 2005 12:00 AM ET

As we shipped off
this issue with the amazing basketball star and working
mom Sheryl Swoopes on the cover, the Los Angeles
Times
was reporting on an angry dad in Lexington,
Mass., outside Boston. David Parker is furious that
his kindergartner brought home from school a picture
book that showed two moms and their children washing a
poodle. “What people do in their bedroom,
that’s their business,” Parker said.
“What they tell my children in school about these
subjects—that’s my business.”

David, darling,
get your mind out of the gutter. If your kindergartner
sees a picture of a family scrubbing their dog and thinks
immediately about what the moms “do in their
bedrooms,” you’ve got a serious
parenting problem that has nothing to do with the public
school system. Fact is, you live in Massachusetts, and
some of your kindergartner’s classmates
probably have two moms or two dads—legally married
couples who have no interest in discussing their sex
lives with you or your children. Are you planning to
blindfold your kids whenever they’re in public lest
they discover the nonthreatening banality of diversity?

Parker’s
sex-focused non sequitur reminded me of my experience on a
Disneyland canoe ride a few years ago. While our canoe was
sitting idle on the Rivers of America, waiting for the
Mark Twain Riverboat to get out of our way so we could
paddle back to the dock, a friend of mine got a cell
phone call. “Who is it?” yelled the Disney
“cast member” dressed as Daniel Boone
who had run out of scripted patter to keep his
charges’ attention. “It’s
Eddie,” answered my friend.

“What’s he saying?” shouted Boone.

“Something
about stroking,” said my friend with a grin.

Then from behind
us came a gasp and a woman’s outraged cry:

“This is a
children’s ride!”

Angry Mom was not
upset because my friend had said anything overtly
sexual; she was embarrassed because she got the joke
and feared she might have to explain the
adults’ laughter to her otherwise oblivious
children. The kids were all right. It was Mom whose mind
went to the nasty place.

The WNBA has too
often treated its ticket buyers like overprotected
children, quietly hoping no one mentions that many of its
players and a disproportionate number of its fans are
lesbians, because admitting the obvious might upset
sexually obsessed people like Mr. Parker and the canoe
lady. The antigay right complains that its disapproval of
gay sex is being trampled upon, even when the subject
is not sex at all but dog washing or hoops. What they
want is for gay people simply to go away so they
don’t have to explain to their children how
upstanding we typically are.

Well, Sheryl
Swoopes is not going away, and (so far) neither is marriage
equality in Massachusetts. Every day there are more happy,
ordinary gay parents at the mall, at sports events, in
the PTA. And it’s driving the far right
insane. How dare we settle down to traditional,
family-centered lives, whether we’re basketball stars
or computer programmers, without society collapsing
around us?

People like David
Parker call portrayals of the simple, nonsexual reality
of gay-led families like Sheryl’s
“indoctrination.” I call it normal. And
glorious.

Tags: Commentary

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