On August 30, 2011, I saved a title for a future post. The title is, “No Pressure.” I saved this title after our family was in a front page picture and article in The Tennessean. Hope had already been on television at least twice. Hope was just a few days old the first time she was on WSMV, Channel 4 news.
My personal feelings were that when Hope reached a certain age, we would not allow her to be on television or in other media. I doubt that demand will even be there in a few years. I actually don’t expect it to be an issue. I guess that is why I never wrote the post.
I just watched a youtube video where an 8 year old boy confronts Michelle Bachmann about his lesbian parents. The title of the video is something like “… Elijah, the 8 year old activist…” As much as I would love for anyone to confront Michelle Bachmann, this video made me uncomfortable. In my opinion, the young boy was overly coached and overly encouraged to do what he did. I am not going to say he was forced to speak to Bachmann. I’m sure many 8 year olds can turn shy and reluctant in that situation or in front of a camera. When he turned shy, his mother did not give him the choice of whether or not he wanted to speak to Rep. Bachmann. His mother positively told him, “You can do it.” It took an uncomfortably long time for Elijah to speak and Michelle Bachmann uncomfortably went out of her way to get close to this shy little boy. On the video, you can’t hear what Elijah says. There are subtitles on the video.
I’ve already read many comments about what a great job Elijah and his mother did. I’ve read comments that say I am stupid if I think he was forced to do that. I have also seen comments from people who agree with me. I did not think that video looked appropriate.
Am I the pot calling the kettle black? Hope has been on local television. She has been at a photo shoot with the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Hope attended a press conference that the plaintiffs and our attorney, Abby Rubenfeld, held when we announced the filing of the lawsuit challenging the Constitutionality of HB 600. Hope never left her stroller, but she was the star of that press conference. Just this week, a photographer and the editor of Out & About Newspaper were in our house. Our family is going to be in the January issue.
Wendy and I carefully made these decisions. It was not easy. I included Hope in these activities knowing that it would stop. I know that when Hope reaches an age where she is more aware, I will not allow her to be on TV or in the paper or doing fundraising photo opportunities. Like I said, the demand for us to do these things has just about ended.
Wendy and I do not expect Hope to be an activist anymore than we expect her to be a professional soccer player. We just recently asked each other if we would ever force Hope to do anything. Would we make her take a gymnastics class when she’s 5 or sign her up for tee ball without her expressing a desire to play? I think we will expose her to different activities and encourage her to play many different sports. It is important to both of us that she learn to fulfill a commitment, like finish a season if she wants to quit or take the last 3 painting lessons if we signed up for ten. We will not put pressure on Hope to do anything she doesn’t want to do. When she is old enough to hear and understand her so called coming out story, I wonder if she will feel any obligation to be an advocate for equality. No pressure, Hope.