I have no problem mixing holidays. So with Passover and Easter occurring this weekend, I thought I’d throw in a few fireworks, too. I came across several items this week — from the Pope to Broadway — that left this mom feeling as hopeful about freedom and independent thought as I do on the 4th of July. Here’s what I mean.
THE POPE HAS INFLUENCE.
A full-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times was a letter to Pope Francis. It urged him to act on behalf of the 200,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens who are rejected and driven from their homes each year by religious parents who think their LGBT children are evil or sinful. The eloquent letter was written by Carl Siciliano, exec director of the Ali Forney Center, an NYC organization dedicated to providing safe housing for homeless LGBT youth.
You’ll find Carl’s letter here. I have a feeling you’ll be as moved and motivated as I was to speak up and continue the conversation about what’s needed to keep LGBT kids loved and accepted by their families.
TOYS DON’T HAVE A GENDER…
And kids just want to play. That’s the message in the second of a series of seven images called “It Gets Better: illustrations.” And it was the impetus for an It Gets Better Google+ Hangout where I joined up with some pretty cool people to talk about the outdated gender-based marketing of toys. So I was encouraged to see that England’s Casdon Toy Co. had put photos of a boy and girl together on its toy packaging. How refreshing to let children decide what they want to play with!
Also in the UK, thanks to the “Let Toys Be Toys” campaign, Toys “R” Us stores are changing in-store signage there to show children of both genders playing with the same toys. There’s a similar petition in the U.S for major retailers to stop limiting the imaginations of kids and display toys by category rather than so-called girls’ toys or boys’ toys. I hope you’ll add your name to the petition.
QUEENS, CROSS-DRESSERS & NEIL PATRICK HARRIS AS A TRANSGENDER ROCK STAR.
If our music, literature, films and theater reflect the pulse of our culture and important societal issues, I’m heartened by four current titles on Broadway marquees. The Tony-award-winning musical “Kinky Boots” is a year old this month. The powerful “Mothers and Sons” opened last month, while newcomers “Casa Valentina” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” are still in previews. While they surely entertain, all of these shows present stories that need telling. The dialogue and, for the musicals, the lyrics make one think about the importance of love, compassion and acceptance. Cue Hedwig’s “The Origin of Love,” please. (Ancient wisdom props to Plato.)
Even the actors learn something. In one of the NYT’s pieces on “Casa Valentina,” two-time Tony winner John Cullum said, “I thought transvestites were female impersonators, but they’re not.” Read the reviews, see the shows, and live with an open mind.
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