When your 19-year-old daughter comes to you and confesses she identifies as male, and always has, how do you react? Once upon a time, moms and dads might have cried and raged, wading through all the stages (in random order) of anger, denial, and grief. Fortunately that time isn't 2014 and those moms and dads aren't the brilliant Bogerts of Australia, who took it upon themselves to issue issue a correction in the local paper.
Under a photo of Elizabeth Anne Bogert, the Brisbane Courier Mail published the following retraction of an original birth announcement:
"In 1995 we announced the arrival of our sprogget, Elizabeth Anne, as a daughter. He informs us that we were mistaken. Oops! Our bad. We would now like to present, our wonderful son—Kai Bogert."
To which they added: "Loving you is the easiest thing in the world. Tidy your room."
The announcement, for obvious reasons, went viral on social media.
10 Cute Ideas for New Non-Traditional Baby Announcements
I can't imagine how difficult and stressful it must be for a kid to brave that I'm Not What You Think I Am conversation with their parents. Needless to say, I love everything about how these parents handled Kai's revelation, i.e. there was nothing whatsoever to 'handle.'
Their love for their kid is simple and unwavering. It knows no conditions, bounds, disclaimers, or fine print. Which is as it should be. If all parents were as accepting of their children as they truly are—rather than as we want them to be— maybe then we have a shot at raising a generation of self-aware, accepting, and kind future adults.
Acceptance starts at home. It's our bad. Now let's fix it.
Who's the turkey now? Elizabeth Lauten may soon find her neck on the chopping block after throwing major shade at President Obama's teenage daughters, Malia and Sasha, during the Thanksgiving address.
No, Lauten is not a panelist on the Fashion Police, but the communications director for Rep Stephen Fincher:
"I get you're both in those awful teen years, but you're a part of the First Family, try showing a little class," read her Facebook post. "Act like being in the White House matters to you ... Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar." Lauren also went on to attack the President and First Lady for not being role models.
Ouch. Taking a pit shot at the President's kids? Now that's the definition of classy. What pray tell were the girls wearing, bustiers and stockings? So what if they forgot their string of freshwater pearls that day. So what if they looked a little bored by the whole turkey affair. They are teenagers. I'd be more concerned if they were really psyched by what is—let's face it—a pretty lame tradition. In fact, I'd argue that the Obamas are doing something very right with their daughters. Also, it doesn't even matter. The clothing choice and facial expressions of children - not your own - is NOT YOUR BUSINESS, MS. LAUTEN.
"We don’t talk about weight. We don't talk about physical appearance," Michelle Obama said in an interview. "We talk about health. We talk about what's on the inside. We spend so much more time talking to our girls about being kind and treating others well, and being passionate and respectful."
Mercifully the internet, with its elephantine memory, kindly reminded Lauten of the "class" displayed by former head George W's Jenna Bush, which included sticking her tongue out at photographers, and drunken frolicking that earned her the 'Jenna And Tonic' nickname. But still, Ms. Bush was a teenager at the time and she too should have been left to live her formative years sans comment from political critics. If and when a Presidents children are legal adults AND enter politics themselves, then you can say your piece. Until then? ZIP.
Additional memo to Ms Lauten: class has more to do with how you act than what you wear.
One thing led to another and #FireElizabethLauten gained momentum, with tweeps calling for her to be fired. Of course Lauten issued a paltry sorry on Facebook, saying "judgmental feelings truly have no place in my heart" and that "hours of prayer" had cured her of her wicked ways.
But users were not assuaged, since Lauten's entire Facebook page seems to be one giant exercise in judging and condemning others. She's not the only one. Politics is increasingly about attacking people instead of attacking policy. Even in so-called civilized Canada, the latest election campaigns were filled with smear. The focus less on tackling issues than about bad mouthing the next guy. True leaders don't have to resort to slander and potty talk.
I have a pitch for a new TV show. It's called What Not To Say. Maybe Lauten can host. I have a feeling she'll be looking for a new job soon enough...
Update: It appears Lautens would have time to star in the show. She's resigned her position from to GOP.
Psst, you there. Got a secret? Don't we all... And what's the only thing more satisfying than uncovering a secret? Uncovering a celebrity secret. Prince Harry is the latest in a slew of British A-list royalty to offer up his confession as part of the #feelnoshame campaign.
Following in the footsteps of his late mother Lady Di, Harry is doing his bit for a AIDS charity Sentebale. Raising awareness for World AIDS day, 30-year-old Harry is fessing up to his own secret, and it's refreshing, if not terribly deep or dark.
The initiative called #feelnoshame is already gaining momentum on social media, particularly with UK celebrities. As the ambassador of the charity, Harry hopes children in the African country of Lesotho will not feel too ashamed to admit they have HIV and get the support they need.
Shame has all the right components and could be poised to be the next #IceBucketChallenge. It's got celebrities sharing tidbits you might not know about them. For a cause.
Let's hope Shame gets some traction over here. After all, people are desperate to unburden themselves, and admit to dipping fries in milkshake and buying a Hanson album. Mmmbop...
Harry, I have a secret of my own. Wanna hear it? I like to wear socks to bed. There, I said it.
Learn more about the campaign, tweet out your own secret, or donate.