The other day, I wrote in my blog about coaching my son Sam to cope with the people who bully him at school. A reader, who I’ll call Angry Man, wrote in:
You are encouraging this behavior of his, and have likely done irreparable harm to his psychological state. It’s disgusting that they’ve allowed this child to remain in your care. He’ll never get a fair chance at life.
The vast majority of the readers who write me letters are people with the opposite message, people moved to tears that the story of their son (grandson, nephew, student, neighbor, brother, patient) is being told, that there is someone in the world who thinks it’s OK to be a pink boy. I get letters from men who were pink boys as children, who have never talked about it to a soul because of the abuse they suffered in childhood. These letters give me strength, they give me hope, they make me realize that there are many pink boys in the world, many parents like my husband and me.
But people like Angry Man inspire me, too; they help me see we’re shaking things up. People were angry when women demanded the right to vote. People were angry when African Americans wanted to attend “whites only” schools. People are angry right now that gay people are insisting on the right to marry their loved ones.
This anger will get louder as we get more vocal about the rights of boys who are different. That’s a good thing—it brings the hatred out in the open, where we can look at it, think about it, and address it. I don’t enjoy being the recipient of that hatred, but I’d rather have it where I can see it, where we can all deal with it, instead of it lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike.