Since I started this blog, my brother—the one and only Uncle Uncle —has said more than once that he wished he could thank my supportive readers. I asked him to do it; to write them—you—a letter. Here it is. I love my brother.
Thank You from Uncle Uncle
(A love letter from a slightly effeminate,
completely gay, totally fabulous brother/uncle)
I consider my sister to be my best friend and one of my closest confidants. We chat almost daily and share our trials and tribulations like we shared her Barbies decades ago.
When she first brought up C.J.’s “creative” nature I was skeptical: I told my incredibly intuitive sister that “this girl-toy thing” was just a phase and he’d be tackling things like miniature bulldozers and bug robots that turn into regular robots in no time.
But honestly, deep down inside, I was scared. I was really just hoping it was a phase. I was hoping that that dainty hand with the rhinestone encrusted manicure placed delicately on a hip would soon be reaching for a baseball glove or a football thingy. I knew that if, in fact, what my sister was feeling was true, that my nephew would have to face the same bigotry, hate, fear and torment that I faced.
It’s true, I now have a fabulous life in West Hollywood (a.k.a Gay Disneyland), I have amazing friends, an insanely handsome boyfriend and an artistically and emotionally rewarding life. I love, love, love my family and hanging out with my two rad nephews. And I couldn’t care less what my feeble-minded relic of a neighbor thinks or says about my new pink cashmere sweater that’s perfect for transitioning into fall.
But this, this is my precious beautiful nephew. I don’t want him to know that people are ugly. I don’t want to think that soon he will most likely be called “fag,” “gay,” “sissy” and “fairy” by kids in his school and in his neighborhood. I don’t want him to realize that those same kids have parents and teachers that think it’s okay for him to be called names because he’s “gotta learn.”
I don’t want him to get beat up because he knows the entire routine to Madonna’s “Vogue” video or fired from a job because he thinks the assistant manager has good hair. I don’t want him to have to have thick skin. I don’t want him to feel like there’s something wrong with him because of who his heart leads him to love.
Perhaps I’m projecting.
As C.J. gets older and continues to not “phase out” of his fantastically pink phase, I’ve begun to realize that C.J. and I are different. His parents have already raised him to be proud of who he is; to relish his creative use of purple, pink and all the other non-gray colors. He feels safe to twirl, flit, flip, skip and bounce. C.J. has what I didn’t have. C.J. has a home that loves him for who he is, not who they want him to be. To say my sister and brother-in-law are fantastic parents is like saying the Grand Canyon is huge. It’s obvious. They have effortlessly created an environment that is at once safe and fun, yet disciplined and structured.
You’d think I’d be so happy. My possibly gay nephew is on Easy Street because he has parents who couldn’t care less what his sexual orientation is as long as his future partner promises to split the holidays fairly.
Unfortunately, all the bigotry my sister and brother-in-law are protecting C.J. and my older nephew from has been transferred to them.
My sister knew that other kids could be rough, but I think she was unaware of how horrible adults can be. As my sister holds one of C.J.’s hands and his Cinderella doll holds his other, walking through sales racks at Marshall’s, it’s not uncommon for the ladies shopping to raise their eyebrows to heaven and heave looks of disgust in my sister’s direction.
A BOY! CINDERELLA!? OUR BRAINS WILL EXPLODE!
She’s lost friends, she’s had to stand up to neighbors, she’s come out to family members, she’s had to take meetings with teachers. She’s had to bravely defend C.J.’s right to be exactly who he is. It hasn’t been easy. Everybody and their mother in Orange County has a child-development degree and think it’s their duty to tell my sister all the damage she’s doing to her sons by creating a safe home where her kids are encouraged to express themselves honestly and openly.
In essence she’s been forced very quickly to experience the bigotry and hatred gay people feel because she’s decided to protect her child from it.
My sister is strong. This blog is brave. I tell her all the time “you’re blazing a trail” (and I never use cowboy terminology). She’s making it better for the next generation of homosexuals and their families by speaking honestly and openly about her family.
So, THANK YOU so much for supporting my family, my sister, my brother-in-law and my nephews. My sister has a small group of friends that love her and support her and I’m thankful for them too, but it’s you guys out there—many of whom, like me, are gay—that give me so much pride. I know you appreciate this blog and my family. I love that it’s not just me that reinforces how good what she’s doing is for the world and for her sons.
Thank you. Vogue on.