by M. LaJeanne McCloud
Unpopular opinion…..we sexualize EVERYTHING. This was my first thought while reading comments under a post about Dwyane Wade’s son Zion. People were saying that he was “too young to know” that he was not a straight cisgender male. I feel like I should give people the benefit of the doubt and see this as a knee jerk reaction to his age. Maybe they are concerned with the potential for bullying and would prefer that he keep it in the closet until he’s a little older – for everyone else’s comfort – and his own well being. We’re all entitled to an opinion, so here is mine.
HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU HAD YOUR FIRST CRUSH?
How old were you when you met someone you couldn’t take your eyes off. What grade were you in? What school did you attend? Why is it so hard to believe that those among us who identify as anything other than straight are making an impulsive, en vogue, or deviant decision. Perhaps people believe that being straight is the human default and being gay is only unlocked when you have a gay encounter *Kanye shrug*. I don’t identify as anything other than a straight cis woman. With that being said, I also consider myself an ally, so I feel comfortable saying that people know when they know. Every one of us can remember the first time we gazed upon someone and thought that person was the most amazing thing we’d ever seen. So asking if 11-year-old Zion is “old enough to decide” sounds silly to me. Of course, he’s old enough. He’s as old as your little nephew who you insist on asking “how many girlfriends you have”. He’s old enough to know that girls don’t make his stomach get butterflies, or that boys and girls do, or that he doesn’t feel anything either way and is open to discovering who he is and what makes him tick. I don’t know how Zion identifies and really that isn’t my business. What is my business is the fact that society is better when a person can be who they are with the full support of their loved ones. The world is better when we make room for individuals without concerning ourselves with who THEIR perfect mate is – as long as no one is being hurt – love who you love, my baby.
I’m very happy that this young man does not have to pretend, hide, or conceal who he is in order to fit into a box-shaped for public family perfection. The Wade family’s support of young Zion is an example of unconditional love. I hope that this love empowers him with a sense of who he is as a black man in this world, that can accomplish anything with hard work and dedication, I hope it pushes him to have positive impacts on youth and acceptance. Lastly, I hope that the examples being set by Dwyane, Gabrielle, and Zion can help other families who are struggling to support their own loved one who is discovering love outside of the hetero norm.