Have you heard about the case of Roy Jones?
The 17-month-old baby boy was killed by his mother's boyfriend, Pedro Jones, in a savage beating. Jones' explanation -- "I was trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl" -- only makes things worse.
We've talked before about homophobia and gender expectations. If anything, this case should be a wake-up call to those who deny or minimize the harm our society regularly inflicts on boys who don't meet our pre-determined (and incredibly narrow) definition of "male."
For the record, boys come in all shapes, sizes and styles. Some boys are jocks -- and some are artists and musicians. Some are both, and no boy should ever have to choose one aspect of his personality over another just to fit in with the crowd.
For the record, a boy can wear a dress and still be a boy. A boy can bake cakes and still be a boy. A boy can cartwheel across the moon with pink fingernail polish on his toe- and fingernails and still be a boy.
When, oh when, are we going to expand our definitions of "boy" and "girl" to include, accept and love every little boy and girl on this Earth, no matter their appearance or demeanor?
I write often about gender differences, and I do believe that there are some innate biological differences between boys and girls and that those differences should be taken into consideration as we raise and educate our boys. But respecting boys' biology is far different than slamming someone for not being "boy" enough. To me, it's all about respect. As parents and adults, we should respect and nourish each boy's innate gifts, talents and interests. Trying to cram someone into a pre-determined box is never productive - and, sadly, sometimes leads to a small wooden box buried six-feet under.