Every December, my folks take their two granddaughters to the nearest big city for a special weekend. They go to a show or play, stay in a fancy hotel, go to a special brunch, and receive elaborately wrapped, matching dress-up outfits. It's a little bit weird - okay, the matching outfits are really weird - but the girls LOVE it.
This past year, they watched a few movies in their hotel room with Grandma. One of them was the Glee movie. I haven't seen it, but I understand that it's basically a mashup of songs from the show. Apparently enough gender-nonconformity and non-heterosexuality came through to freak out my mother.
"Grandma was appalled," Twelve reported later, with a somewhat superior air. I nodded ruefully in agreement. My mom is not the most forward-thinking of people; her standards for propriety do not include anyone outside fairly strict gender and identity boxes.
For example: Awhile back, I shared on Facebook a video clip of a guy who did an amazing pole dance routine wearing silver heels, shorts, and glitter. Later I received a paragraphs-long tirade from my mom about how disgusted she was. I could not muster a response. It would have taken pages.
Twelve has not exactly been marinated in non-conforming media, although I suppose it's fair to say that a good bit of the media she has been exposed to is non-conforming. She has, however, been steeped in conversations about gender, sexual identity, and so on. To be clear, by 'conversations' I mean things I say to which her response is eye rolling, sighs, and an exasperated, "Can't you ever have a normal conversation?"
She didn't used to be like this, though. In kindergarten, she once piped up with "That's a gender stereotype" during story time. When the teacher reported this to me she added in wonderment, "And you know, I realized -- she was right!" Yes, yes, she was.
Back to last December's discussion. As I agreed that Grandma's delicate sensibilities were likely quite challenged by the Glee movie, Twelve continued, "What's it called when it's like racism but you're against gay people?" "Homophobia?" I replied, inwardly thrilled that she has finally retained SOMETHING that I've been talking about for so long.
"Yeah, Grandma definitely has that," Twelve said.
Has that. As if it's a disease. Something you catch; something you can become cured of.
Well done, Twelve. Well done.