make her son gayI just read a story about a mom who is repeatedly told to cut her son’s long hair. He’s just a baby! Someone even went so far as to tell her it would make make her son gay. Really???

I have two sons. They both had delicious longish curls as little boys. I hated cutting their hair because I loved their curls. No matter how boyishly I dressed them, people always thought they were girls. They did also have beautiful long eyelashes!

Come on now. Since when does long hair and long eyelashes make someone female? And what does hair length have to do with being gay or what one’s gender is. There was a time, a long time ago. I might have wondered if that was the reason my son was gay. It seems so silly now. I have two sons – one is gay and one is straight. If long hair caused gayness, they’d both be gay, wouldn’t they?

This whole idea of gender roles and gender presentation is one I’m only relatively recently aware of. Because of my work with parents of LGBTQ kids, I’ve had to examine many of my own long help ideas. I was raised in the 50’s and 60’s and we knew how girls looked and how boys looked. And if a girl dressed too much like boy, she was called a dyke or butch. If a boy dressed or appeared too feminine – well, we all know what he was called and I’m not going to repeat it here.

There is no longer a place in my world for stereotypes. People get to be who they are. They can be gay or straight or bisexual. Their gender presentation is about what makes them comfortable, not what makes me or you comfortable.  And only they can decide their gender identity. It is time for “traditional” gender roles to go the way of all things that limit us and doesn’t allow us to be free.