Sunday, September 04, 2011

Two Views of Chaz on TV and Kids

ABC News had a nice article about how to talk with your kids about Chaz Bono appearing on Dancing With the Stars. It was a concise and decent piece and I left it open in a browser tab, thinking about posting it but not quite sure -- until I saw what Fox News is saying on the same topic.

First, here's ABC:
Long before Chaz Bono joined the cast of “Dancing With the Stars,” his headline-grabbing female-to-male gender transition prompted parents to ask, “What do we say to our kids?” I reached out to gender expert Michelle Angello, who has a doctorate in human sexuality, and here was her advice.

Gender identity issues, she said, can actually be less confusing for kids than for adults.

“Because we have this societal taboo of gender, if you’re born this way, you should be happy this way, and children don’t necessarily understand that,” she said.

“Children, in their concrete minds, can say, ‘So you have a girl inside, so I guess you should have a girl outside or vice versa.’ ”

For instance, when a man is transitioning to become a woman — as was the case with transgender mom Chloe Prince, whom I once profiled for “Primetime” — Angello recommended telling an 8-year-old that Prince “used to be a man on the outside and she had a woman on the inside and she needed to let the woman on the inside out.”

Most kids that age, she said, will say, “OK, that makes sense.” Talking to Your Kids About Chaz Bono

There is also video of the interview.

I wasn't going to blog about this because it all seemed so obvious. Kids don't care if boys turn into girls or girls turn into boys, they don't have dogmatic beliefs about gender, they may have stereotypes but they don't believe in them as laws of nature or authoritative commands about how to live. Chaz's story is well known and seems uncontroversial and this seemed like more of a helpful hint piece telling parents not to worry, enjoy the show, your kids will be able to handle it.

Then I saw how Fox addressed the same topic:
Chaz Bono, the “transsexual” woman who underwent plastic surgery and takes male hormones in an effort to appear to be a man, and who asserts she is a man, will appear on the upcoming season of "Dancing with the Stars", according to ABC, the network which airs the show. He will be partnered with a woman.

Casting Chaz Bono on "Dancing with the Stars" is part of Chaz’s victory tour, which has included appearances on talk shows and the release of a book called "Transition."

I advise parents to not allow their children to watch the episodes in which Chaz appears.

Here’s why: Many of the children who might be watching will be establishing a sense of self which includes, of course, a sexual/gender identity. Some will be girls becoming comfortable with dramatic changes in their bodies. Some will be boys coming to terms with integrating the dawn of manhood with exquisite feelings of vulnerability. Young viewers will include tomboyish girls and sensitive, less stereotypically “masculine” boys. They will also include children who have sustained the losses of loved ones and are wrestling with depression, perhaps wondering who they are absent their deceased mothers or fathers.

The last thing vulnerable children and adolescents need, as they wrestle with the normal process of establishing their identities, is to watch a captive crowd in a studio audience applaud on cue for someone whose search for an identity culminated with the removal of her breasts, the injection of steroids and, perhaps one day soon, the fashioning of a make-shift phallus to replace her vagina. Don't Let Your Kids Watch Chaz Bono On 'Dancing With the Stars'

There's a lot more there, this Dr. Keith Ablow is just getting started. Note that in the first paragraph he accidentally uses the pronoun "he" in referring to Chaz -- later in the article he regresses to feminine pronouns: "But Chaz Bono should not be applauded for asserting she is a man…"

It really is staggering. You realize that there are people who think like this and it's like hitting a brick wall.


Blogger Priya Lynn said...

I remember watching a Tyra Banks show on transgendered people. One of the guests was a contestant on America's next top model and a co-contestant was very upset that the other guest had transitioned from male to female. When asked why she was so upset she said "Its like you're saying god made a mistake and that makes me angry".

I was struck by how incredibly selfish and insecure the co-constestant was. She wanted to deny another person a life altering transition just because it implied to her her religious beliefs weren't true - hey lady, if trans people shake your religious beliefs that's your problem, not ours. Don't expect us to live our lives for you and your need to believe in fairy tales.

The people who don't want children watching Chaz on dancing with the stars are similarly idiotic. They go on and on about how they don't want their children exposed to knowledge of gay and transgendered people but if no one tells a child that Chaz was born Chastity none would ever think Chaz had ever been female - he doesn't look like a woman in any way. Ironically despite their whining about what they don't want their children to know, they insist on making Chaz's transition known to their children themselves.

Anti-gay bigots - always making a mountain out of a mole hill.

September 05, 2011 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I remember watching a Tyra Banks show on transgendered people."

oh yeah, who doesn't remember where they were when that came on?

what an intellectually stimulatin' show!!

As Democratic pollster Peter Hart puts it simply to NBC News, "Obama is no longer the favorite to win re-election."

September 07, 2011 10:08 AM  

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