You might be thinking, "Amelia, this isn't going to go anywhere. It's California! It's not like it's going to become law." And you are right. But it doesn't take away from the fact that there are thousands of people in this country just like Mr. McLaughlin, who think a bullet in his head is exactly what my son deserves.
We all know how this script is supposed to go: Gay kid gets teased and bullied. Gay kid feels demeaned and ashamed. Gay kid maybe gets beaten up. Gay kid runs off to lick his wounds and feel horrible about himself. Gay kid feels alone. But not this time. This time the gay kid, my gay kid, fought back. And the bully ran away.
I held it together in public, but I really wanted to cry at the beautiful moment I had just witnessed. But then it hit me; I had just judged someone. I had assumed that because this man fit a certain stereotype that he was instantly against equality, and there was no way that he could possibly approve of his son's sexuality.
If we think our tradition demands we risk our children's lives by not accepting them, like Avraham, maybe we are misreading our tradition. God does not need our defense, and God will most certainly be there when we get back. All our children are angels who are just waiting to be welcomed into the tent.
In her latest blog at the A.V. Club, Cameron Esposito says that little gay kids push the boundaries of gender on Halloween out of a necessity and a sense of survival. While I may not have recognized it at the time, or at least attached a label to it, I was one of those little gay kids who, as she says, felt something "off about heteronormative culture" and used the holiday to protest it.