Google Chrome recently aired an “It Gets Better” ad during Glee. Once again, the usual suspects focused on the fact that Woody from the Toy Story franchise appeared in the commercial to help promote tolerance. Oh, why oh why, won’t someone think of the poor impressionable kiddez.
While it’s not surprising for Alan Chambers of Exodus International, a ministry that helps people who are impacted by homosexuality, to see Fortune 500 companies as well as celebrities endorsing homosexuality, he was surprised and disappointed that they would use a children’s character for the project.
“Children all over the world, including my two children are fans of ‘Toy Story’ and to see a character like that endorsing something that at this point children have no need to know about, it’s disappointing,” he told The Christian Post.
Chambers, who overcame homosexuality and is now a father of two, suspects that if the commercial airs while he and his children are watching a show and “if they happen to see that and ask questions and if they get the full understanding of what the commercial is actually about, we will have to have the conversation. It’s not something I plan to talk to my kids, 5 and 6, about.” (source)
First, let me start by saying that Chambers simply hates who he is. I don’t believe in the whole ex gay phenomenon and it is people like him that need these advertisements. What I really want to focus on is his fear of talking to his children about being gay. I firmly believe that he is abdicating his responsibility as a parent by avoiding the conversation. It does not have to be a big deal; its adults that make it such an issue. A comment as simple as sometimes there are two husbands or two wives, instead of a husband and a wife, is often enough to get kids thinking about the fact that not all couples are hetero couples, without any in depth details.
We were sitting around the dinner table a few weeks ago, and I told the unhusband about Sparky’s Beloved buying a new man q (note: man q not bbq, because they are apparently male cooking centers). I referred to Sparky’s Beloved as his husband, as I detailed the bells and whistles that the man q came with. We were laughing, because we knew that the unhusband was filled with man q envy. My kids didn’t even blink an eye at the fact that I was talking about a same sex couple, because it has become normalized in our home. I went as far as to say that maybe we should switch partners, because if the unhusband was with Sparkys husband, he would have been able to have the man q of his dreams, though I am sure arguments would occur about who actually got to use the man q. What is it about men, meat, and open flames?
It can be that simple talking to kids about same sex couples. There was no drama or politicization involved, and our kids learned once again that bigotry is not acceptable in our home, and that love is all that matters. As I told them about Sparkys objections to the ridiculous man q, they also learned that there is no difference between Sparky and his husband, and myself and the unhusband. I didn’t have this conversation to teach my children anything, I had it because it was genuinely funny; however, the byproduct was positive. It is ridiculous that people believe that children cannot handle these conversations, or that talking about couplings that are not strictly hetero will damage them in some way. I cannot help but think that if Chambers’ parents had taught him that all love is wonderful, he wouldn’t be the self hating man that he is today.
As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children tolerance and to challenge their privileges. I have no idea what sexuality my children are, but I am determined that if they are gay, that they will know that we love them not in spite of this fact, but because they are awesome people. If they are straight, I want them to be decent people who believe that bigotry in any form is simply unacceptable, while challenging their privileges to make the world better for others. I simply do not understand parents who think raising yet another generation of people who practice intolerance is positive. You know, hate is an extremely negative emotion and nothing positive comes from it. Why would you want a child to internalize this hatred?
Parenting this way is activism. Not only does it produce an informed person capable of challenging their various privileges, it means one less person in the world who will support unjust legislation. It also means progress for our society. Societies that do not evolve become stagnant and disappear. If we are going to go through the work of bringing children into this world, we need to ensure that they are productive citizens, with minds that are capable of critical thought, because it means positive growth. Bigotry produces no winners. If seeing Sheriff Woody support equal rights for LGBT citizens, encourages even one child to believe that homophobia is wrong, then it is one step forward for us all.