So, it's no secret that I don't like children at all. I mean, I'm just not a kid person. I wish I would have realized that before I took a job where I worked with them, but it was a learning experience.
We all know that you're never supposed to pick favorites when it comes to kids. We also all know that you ALWAYS have a favorite. My favorite? The Kid.
He was a really quiet kid and really small. He was actually older than most of my class, but the smallest, even in comparison to the girls. He had a quiet and high little voice and always played by himself. One day, during play time, I noticed that he was playing with dolls. He wasn't taking them from anyone and or doing anything "inappropriate", so I didn't see a problem with it. Then, our assistant director walked in and asked why he was holding a doll. I... didn't really have a response for him. I just said "Well, he likes them, so why should I take them away?" to which he responded "Because he's a BOY!" So, he walked over, took the doll from The Kid, gave him a truck, and walked out. So, as soon as the door closed, I gave him the doll back and he carried on playing like nothing happened.
The next day, during snack time, The Kid sat with his legs crossed. Kids started making fun of him, saying he was sitting like a girl. I even heard the word "gay" come out of a few mouths. I didn't even know what gay WAS when I was six. Anyway, I jumped to his defense quickly, and said that he could sit how he wanted. I threatened to take away outside time (which I couldn't legally do, but they didn't know that) and that got them quiet. It was almost like I felt personally offended for him.
Later that year, we had a little party. There was music and such, and all the kids were dancing. The Kid had his hand on his hips and was full on runway walking. It was fabulous.
In the South, going contrary to your gender role isn't... Widely accepted, to say the least. I mean, when I got kissing a girl at eight years old and told I was going to hell, there was no chance I would act on "homosexual" feelings ever again. I refused to let The Kid feel that way. I remembered when my high school best friend came out when we were in tenth grade. Guys would cover their butts whenever they would see them in the hallway. It hurt him and pissed me the fuck off. I silently wished death upon them and their idiocy eventually passed, but I still hate that it ever happened in the first place. No one deserves to be mistreated for something to sexual preference or their chosen gender role.
By the end of the year, the kids learned to accept The Kid for who he was. The girls took him in and he played dress up with them and everything. I loved that he didn't start acting differently just to fit in. I'm not saying he'll grow up to be this flaming gay guy. I can't look into the future. But, I hope I can find him in a few years to see what type of person he grew up to be.
The Kid has a special place in my heart. Owning who you really are, at any age, isn't always easy. He did it at six. Powerful.