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CNN: Gardere should apologize
for gay insult

Posted by Rob Anderson  November 5, 2010 04:02 PM

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If you saw it just last week or last night, it's everywhere now: the story of the little boy who dressed up as Daphne (of the Scooby Doo gang) for Halloween, complete with a bright orange wig, purple tights, and pink boots. According to his mom's blog post, he loves Scooby Doo and wanted to be Daphne for a whole year. She didn't think it was a big deal, until she took him to preschool and other mothers were absolute jerks about it. They exhibited everything you don't want your kid to see in an adult: judgmental, passive-aggressive, cruel. So the mom was mad, wrote a stirring blog post, and now through the wonders of viral online indignation, millions of others are mad, too. But not everyone.

CNN brought Dr. Jeff Gardere, a clinical psychologist, on to talk with the mother. He said "it is the worst nightmare of heterosexual and gay couples to have to fathom that their child may be gay." The mother kept her cool, but I was shocked. Really? He thinks that's a parent's worst nightmare? How about death? Does that come in second? Do any number of debilitating illnesses fall on the nightmare list after gay?

What sits high on my parental nightmare list (gay isn't even on it) is that people like Dr. Gardere are contributing to a culture of hatred by alluding that having a gay child is a terrible thing for families. On my nightmare list are politicians like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who said the suicide of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi was an “unspeakable tragedy” when Christie's own anti-gay marriage stance creates the kind of culture that drives a kid to do something like that. That people say these things and no one calls them on it, no one makes the link between these supposedly throwaway comments and the kind of environment that drives bullying, and suicides, and the limitless sad stories that will never make the news. That no one stands up and points a finger to Dr. Gardere and says "That is NOT acceptable."

He should apologize. To the mother, to the gay clients he claims to have, and to the CNN audience.

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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