Make Her Gay  
ⓒ christina starr
Xtra! June 6, 2000
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"The rights of parents to oversee the development of children is a long-established principle,” writes Dr. Richard Green in a 1987 book, The 'Sissy Boy Syndrome' and the Development of Homosexuality. “Who is to dictate that parents may not try to raise their children in a manner that maximizes the possibility of a heterosexual outcome?”
          I like that. Because, of course, if he’s speaking of heterosexual parents the same should apply to gay parents.
          I’d never thought of imposing a sexuality on my daughter. I thought that the best chances for her to develop a normal sexuality were to give her openness, freedom to explore without judgement and lots of opportunities to see how much fun her mommy has being queer.
          But given the evident straightness of her tastes, I have despaired of feeling certain that she’ll even want to experiment. So it’s very heartening to encounter expert medical opinion that says I have a prerogative (Green’s word) to maximize a particular outcome.
          Gone is the openness. Gone is the freedom to explore without judgement. Gone is my faked interest in her crushes on boys. Into the composter with Ken.
          Tomorrow I’ll get her a cat. That will be easy because she’s always wanted one (that’s a good sign) and hasn’t had one because of my allergies. But I can live with Ventolin life support and blinding eyeball itchiness for the sake of exercising my prerogative. The cat will be female, of course, and we’ll call her Muffy.
          Our home will become a replica of that summer lesbian mecca across the border.  Only girls and womyn-born-womyn will be allowed entry and I’ll divide the space into uptown and downtown, with slow and irregular shuttles in between. The bathroom will be called the Oasis, the livingroom will be the Womb and the hallway to her bedroom will be Almost-Womanly-Way. The kitchen will be completely vegetarian, with humus appreciation nights once a week. (I’m not sure, though, which is more lesbian: to force her to help with the chores or to let her to get away with avoiding them.)
          Her stereo privileges and cd collection will be closely scrutinized and restricted to artists like k.d. lang, Melissa, Indigo girls and, of course, Tribe 8. Ani got married so she’s off the list.
          Tonight at bedtime we’ll start reading The Well of Loneliness. For variety, I’ll intersperse the chapters with some short stories and pictures from On Our Backs. If she wants to watch a movie, it will be Desert Hearts, When Night is Falling (fast forwarding through the straight sex to reinforce the idea that it’s over and done far too quickly), Go Fish or Bound (to demonstrate that killing men and stealing their money are two fundamental tenets of lesbianism).
          I’ll finally have an unnegotiable right to cut her hair the way I want. We’ll try a variety of lesbian styles—shag, close shave, mop top, dreads, bleached, blue, forest green, rainbow, and that oh-so-attractive dark roots growing in under yellowing-blonde look.
          She’ll get tools as presents for all upcoming occasions and for practice she can use her hammer to shatter all the beads in her dozen or so make-your-own-jewellery kits. No more dangly earrings or pretty rhinestones for her. From now on we’ll buy her accessories at the hardware store.
          When she’s old enough, or when I can find something to knock her out long enough, I’ll get a labrys tattooed just below her navel so the message will be clear to any (girl or boy) who ventures in that direction. While she’s unconscious I’ll get her nose and tongue pierced too.
          When she brings up boy crushes I’ll go silent and teary for a week, or start talking loudly about that nice red-haired girl in her class. I’ll assume she’s in love with her best friend. I’ll cultivate a taste in her for sushi. I’ll buy her an annual subscription to Mechanics Quarterly. Her fingernails will never see past the end of her fingers again. Ever.
          At the very least I’ll know I tried. And if she ends up confused, dis-oriented, unstable or wrecked, she can always consult a doctor for a cure.

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Gone is the freedom to explore without judgement. Gone is my faked interest in her crushes on boys. Into the composter with Ken.