MOVE OVER SCROOGE
Clips circulated on social media this week from Jimmy Kimmel’s “I Gave My Kids a Terrible Christmas Present” video. I was stunned to learn Kimmel was a father. Because I couldn’t believe any dad would challenge parents to wrap up the worst gift possible. Think bag of onions, toilet brush, half-eaten sandwich. Then tell their young kids they could open that one gift a few weeks early, only to record their reactions. I don’t know about you, but encouraging viewers to betray their kids’ trust for a laugh borders on abuse, not humor.
I felt some relief when I found out Kimmel issued that on-air challenge in 2011 because he’s had a daughter since then, and I can’t imagine he’d pull a trick like that on her. (Really, Jimmy?) I’d also like to think that the mom in the video who wrapped up a pink “girl’s’” activity sticker book as the worst gift ever for her son has evolved since then. That is, right alongside Target in ditching the stereotyped gender labeling of toys.
Whether kids conform to society’s boxes of pink and blue or creatively reject what colors, toys and clothes they’re “supposed” to like, I hope that parents, family, friends and Santa will remember that the best gift for a child is the one that makes them smile. And there are plenty of gender-neutral toys that do that. If you’re not sure what to get a child in your life for Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa this year, check out my suggestions for some holiday gift-giving happiness.
A NUTCASE & THE NEED FOR ‘HOLIDAY MOMS’
I ‘d never heard of reality TV’s Justice Mablean until my friend Sharon told me she saw an episode this week where a woman sued a dog breeder for selling her a homosexual dog. After nearly snorting vegetable soup through my noise, Sharon said apparently the woman’s new male dog was constantly humping her other male dog. The crazy lady woman described herself to the judge as a strict Catholic with small children who couldn’t have “that kind of behavior going on in her house.” She also complained that the dog was disobedient and would only listen to her husband. That’s when the judge ruled the dog probably disobeyed her because he knew she was an idiot.
Wanting to return a gay dog, I thought, shaking my head on the way home. Let’s face it, lady, some of our population are gay, and we’re not alone. According to a University of Newcastle study, more than 450 species engage in homosexuality or even life-pairing. Idiot, indeed. Then I remembered she had young children, and the skin on my arms prickled. What if one of them is gender nonconforming or grows up to be attracted to someone of the same sex? Then what?
Suddenly I felt panicky, because I knew it was those ill-informed, unreasonable God-fearers who too often let their religious beliefs turn them against their own children.
Statistics from the Williams Institute bear this out: About 40% of homeless youth are LGBT, while nearly 7 in 10 of those kids indicate that family rejection was a major contributing factor in their homelessness. And in a study conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, 26% of LGBT youth ages 13-17 say that not being accepted by their family is one of their biggest problems.
Then I remembered Your Holiday Mom, a web site that offers LGBTQ youth a virtual home for the holidays. Social change artist Robin Rice created the site to offer holiday-themed messages of encouragement to anyone who is not accepted by family members. And anyone can become a holiday mom! Their letters for this year are already set, but the site still needs supportive moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, and friends to reply to the LGBTQ youth who are leaving comments.
Please check out the site’s how to help page to make sure that no comment from any youth goes unanswered by a loving mom or friend. I think it just might be holiday giving at its best.
And for those of you who will celebrate the first night of Hanukkah this weekend, I hope the festival of lights shines much love and happiness on you and your family.
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