taking the hetero sting out of social rites of passage? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 6 Old 09-16-2012, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ugh... sorry for such clumsy wording!  This isn't so much about gay parents but parenting kids in a world where it should be okay to be gay.  Not even NFL related, but I want some input!  My eldest child is suddenly putting me in so many situations that just feel "wrong." 

 

Where we live sixth graders take ballroom dance.  Not so much a dance class as a manners class.  How to ask someone to dance, how to accept, how to introduce yourself and others, holding doors open, passing through doors that have been held open, etc.  It also lets kids get used to wearing formal clothes, etc.  And they go out after wards for ice cream which starts the boy/girl socializing while they are all dressed so nice!

 

The groups are divided evenly by gender so that the numbers match up perfectly.  Every boy has a girl partner to practice with.   Where is there room here for the (potentially) gay kid?  Somehow the fact that every skill is being taught for a straight couple bothers me.  Am I being overly sensitive?


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#2 of 6 Old 09-16-2012, 06:45 PM
 
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Hmm...I think that there are two ways to look at it. One is that yes, it sucks, and it's why where I went to school they scrapped ballroom dance for square dancing, so everyone was on equal footing. The other way to view it, though, is that all of those social skills and niceties are good to learn, regardless of gender--emphasize that not only men hold doors, and that everyone should learn good elevator etiquette, and that once you learn to dance one way, it's always good to learn to dance the other, too (even before I dated women there were plenty of situations where you need to be able to either lead or follow).
Good luck with the classes! From what I hear no one really likes having to get so close to their classmates, no matter what gender anyone is!

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#3 of 6 Old 09-18-2012, 10:26 PM
 
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oooh, I remember that crap when I was in school.  I hated it - and I'm straight as a nail.  

 

I do see your concern and I don't think you're being overly sensitive.  Seems like they're trying to box the children into a perceived "right" way to be.  Not cool.


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#4 of 6 Old 09-25-2012, 09:13 AM
 
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Mumm, I see you live in MA. Hello neighbor!

 I wonder if you couldn't go to the teacher of the class and talk to them? I think PrettyLisa has some good ideas, but perhaps taking them outside of just a home conversation and bringing them to the whole class (and the teacher, who I assume will be teaching this next year and the year after). Perhaps the teacher can be educated and helped to see that moving beyond the "old-school" notion of sex-based manners could be helpful as well. For example, even girls should give up their seat on the bus for someone older, pregnant, injured, etc. Even girls should open doors for... etc..  Maybe, just maybe, the teacher could even be encouraged to teach the girls how to lead and the boys to follow, just as an example of trying out the other person's perspective.  I, personally, could see how this could easily be incorporated into the lesson, but I know not everyone would. Say one day the boys are complaining about leading, or the girls are complaining about following.. the teacher orchestrates a switch for the day and the girls learn to lead and the boys follow. Sure, it's still split by sex, but it allows for some open-mindedness about different roles and choices in activities.   

  As for the ice cream, my guess is that they don't really pair up for ice cream but that they go out and the boys are thrilled to be done touching the girls and the girls are just as ready to retreat back to an all girl's table.  I wouldn't be too terribly worried that it's like speed dating at the ice cream parlor.. but maybe some night you could just happen to be there to spy on them! ;)


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#5 of 6 Old 10-01-2012, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This isn't a school event.  Although you get the info from the school and it is held at the school and they sort of group you based on your school team.   It is run by a for profit dance school by an ex teacher (perhaps a principal?  an educator at any rate) and occurs in all the neighboring towns as well. (think affluent suburban towns where the question isn't do you belong to a country club, but WHICH cc.)   PTO type moms organize the groups, registration, etc and parents volunteer to chaperone.  I volunteered but wasn't chosen.  (Perhaps because I didn't come with my own male partner?? I don't know.  This is my oldest child so I'm still learning.  I had the perfect dress from a recent event.loveeyes.gif lol)

 

The first day my son's friends were coming over (sort of pre-party pizza and stuff) and the parents are all taking photos.  Of handsome pre-teen boys who had cleaned up so nicely from their standard smelly garb. orngbiggrin.gif And the comments started- you just need the girls now, who will you get to dance with, etc.  When just two boys posed together I heard the start of a gay comment that quickly got garbled when the dad realized whose house he was at.)  And I got so sad thinking that one of those boys may already be feeling "wrong" and that it was the perfect time for me to say or do something but I didn't (still don't) have a clue what that it.

 

My son has yet to be invited to any of the post event parties and I'm not willing to throw such an event (younger sibs, late night, noisy, etc).  Which I think he is okay with and he skipped the ice cream last time since his closer friends had been invited to a post party.  I just know in a few years I'll be doing this again with my daughter and nothing will have changed! 


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#6 of 6 Old 10-06-2012, 03:31 PM
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I'm straight and that would bug the heck out of me as a parent.  Besides, what's the rush?  That's too young to be thinking about dating, anyway!  


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