Culture / Family / Kids / Media / Parenting

Kinky Boots provides opportunity for conversation

how to purchase isotretinoin Kinky BootsOn November 28th, I was in the midst of what was a rather picturesque all-American Thanksgiving scene. Everything was under control in the kitchen, chores were being done around the house, dogs were playing on the porch, and my partner and kids were doing puzzles and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with my father.

When the performance by the cast of Kinky Boots came on, I was both thrilled and nervous. My kids were of course captivated by the costumes and dancing, but I anticipated there would be some backlash. It wasn’t so long ago that a local drag queen here in Philly came under fire for being “inappropriate” for children. Sure enough, folks were hitting up Facebook and Twitter with their transvestites-on-TV-are-ruining-America and whatever-happened-to-our-wholesome-traditions baloney. And it didn’t take long for formal responses – campaigns, if you will – to mount. Organizations like OneMillionMoms.com urged their members to let Macy’s know their “blatant agenda and in-your-face message was quite offensive, and Macy’s cannot be trusted.”

Fortunately, in-defense-of-Kinky-Boots responses were also quick to appear, including heartwarming tweets about diversity, inclusion and family values. Macy’s stood by the inclusion of this performance, although, theirs was more a defense of Broadway in general than drag queens and they also stand by Donald Trump. The best reply, though, was when the stars of the show headed over to Macy’s in between their BlackFriday Broadway performances – to do some shopping in the same finale costumes featured during the parade.

As someone who is both a member of the LGBTQ community and a parent, I wish things like this didn’t have to cause such a ruckus – that energy could have been reserved for enjoying the parade and performance, the time with family, the holiday, etc. I just don’t see what about the performance is so difficult to explain to children in simple age-appropriate language. That might look different for different families but it shouldn’t ruin your Thanksgiving.

A response could be as simple as “They are wearing costumes.” Of course, I’d encourage parents to be prepared with some language about gender  – because this is an opportunity to talk with your kids about an important topic – but I understand getting caught off guard. I’ve beed caught off guard by questions about death or religion from my three year old. At times I’ve answered imperfectly.

The three things I’ve tried to keep in mind when having an unexpected or challenging conversation with my kid are:

1. Focus on answering the question my child is actually asking. I try to avoid getting too far ahead of myself or over-explaining things he hasn’t asked about.

2. Keep the conversation going. If my answer didn’t quite convey what I was trying to get across, I make sure we talk about it again (and again) until we are both comfortable with the dialogue.

3. Don’t be afraid of saying “I don’t know.” If I don’t have the information needed to provide an adequate answer, I suggest we look it up together or I promise I’ll do some research and get back to him.

Talking to our children is part of parenting. Sometimes those conversations are going to take us outside of our comfort zone. That’s okay. It’s not the world’s fault for existing, we just have to do our best to help our kids make sense of it. Sometimes we are learning together. We should welcome opportunities to have these conversations. I’m so glad that there are more and more types of people represented in entertainment – it helps kids grow up with a more whole view of their world.

[FEATURED PHOTO CREDIT: VANITY FAIR]

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5 Comments

  1. I love your advice— good for all parents to remember.

  2. “Talking to our children is part of parenting.” Right! And what a great opportunity to talk to kids about all sorts of things – like how fantastic those costumes are and how gorgeous the actors looked in them (among other things, of course).

    Wonderful advice, Sandra, and many points to Macy’s for standing by Broadway and its performers.

  3. Seriously good advice across the board. I must admit I’d never heard of Kinky Boots…because I live in the midwest and don’t watch the Macy’s Parade.

  4. I love the no big whoop simplicity of “They are wearing costumes.”

  5. Great advice. I especially get stuck on #1. How did you answer the question of, “How do we walk in those heels?”

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