'Billy Elliott' is a hit movie about a boy from a tough neighbourhood who only wishes to dance.
I overheard a boy asking his mother to register him for ballet classes. No, she said, because ballet is for girls – he should learn to play guitar or the drums instead. When I was about his age I asked my mother if I could take classes to learn to play the traditional cha-ke. No, she said, boys should play the ra-nad. I ended up with percussion at any rate, choosing the khong wong yai.
Some people will say the mothers’ advice to their sons of that age is quite understandable, but I can assure you that at least one of those boys – me – didn’t understand at all.
I now realise that such parental reasoning is just pretence. They’re worried that society will think their sons are deviant if they pursue pastimes associated in our dual-gender world with girls, from ballet to cha-ke and far beyond.
By hook or by crook, parents try to block their children from becoming any letter in “LGBT” simply because our society allows for no variations among the genders.
The parents’ fear might in fact be understandable as long as there is no clear-cut, satisfying explanation as to why some people are gay. Our current working “theories” – biology, psychology, environment, rearing, even karma – are lame, unproven and tend to invalidate one another. No one really knows the reason, so meanwhile we let imagination rule.
In any case, the whims and fancies of children offer no solid evidence about their current or future sexual identity. Plenty of gay men used to play football and other sports at school, just as many tom are gifted in handicrafts. By the same token, not every gay boy plays the cha-ke. And few LGBT people showed any special skills or interest in youth that might indicate their future course.
So I don’t think children’s interests necessarily link to the psychology of sex. And even if it does, what could be done about it – since they’re already gay?
Parents who see society as only male and female, who don’t accept that people are born gay or lesbian, are condemned to feel guilty about failing to raise their children straight.
And yet there is nothing they can do or could have done to change the situation. Parents can only accept facts and raise their children as well as they can, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Just having that assurance in society would give us more peace of mind than any attempts to analyse the cause and “find a cure”. If people are gay, they’re gay, no matter what classes they sign up for.