American gossip celebrity Perez Hilton has unleashed a firestorm after he said he hopes his son doesn’t turn out to be gay.
In a podcast last week, the openly gay Hilton – who is the father of three – commented that he wouldn’t sign his son up to dance classes because most young boys who dance “end up being gay”.
This ignorant and dangerous statement suggests that children can “become gay” because of their interests; a view which is today widely discredited. The comments caused a furore and led the blogger to post a video elaborating on his stance, which didn’t make things any better.
He started off by explaining that if his son is gay he will love him “unconditionally”. Hilton said, however, that “if I had my preference, I would prefer my son to be heterosexual, because that’s easier”.
“I’m not ashamed of being gay … but if I can go back in time and, when I was 18, be given a choice… I would have chosen then to be heterosexual… Being a gay man, or being a gay woman, or a transgender man or trans woman, in America and around the world, is still a harder road to travel on.
“And I don’t want my son… or my daughter or my other daughter… to have a harder path in life,” said Hilton.
He then addressed the earlier comment about the dance classes and reiterated his belief that this activity “might help make your son gay”.
Despite believing that he was himself born gay, he said that, “a good amount – maybe like 50 percent or more – of little boys who take dance class end up being gay”.
Hilton, 40, added, “I don’t think it’s a homophobic thing to say. Just like I don’t think it’s a homophobic thing to say that a disproportionate amount of male singers / actors / dancers on Broadway are gay. There are more gay men drawn to that profession. That’s just a fact.”
He went on to say that if his son begged and pleaded to take dance classes and if they would make him happy, he would allow it, but he wasn’t about to sign him up for the activity otherwise.
In his confused and illogical ramble, Hilton didn’t appear to consider that it’s far more likely that boys who are gay might end up being interested in dance, rather than the dance classes themselves somehow “making” these boys gay. It’s this kind of thinking that has resulted in much misery for children who don’t conform to their parents’ expectations.
Hilton’s views affirm outdated and detrimental stereotypes about sexuality and gender and reflect his own internalised homophobia. Hopefully, these won’t lead him to make bad parenting choices when it comes to his children.