Prince George Is a Preschooler, Not Anyone’s “Gay Icon” or Receptacle for Your Gender Norms
Prince George is already a bigger gay icon to me than Boy George. pic.twitter.com/i1FM0jh4Vv
— Nathan Beard (@nathansbeard) July 21, 2017
Prince George, son of the U.K.’s Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is four years old. This is important, because a couple of days ago, the Internet decided to speculate about his sexuality.
According to The Daily Dot, a photo of the young prince surfaced in which he is joyfully looking at a helicopter, excitedly bringing his hands to his face as he beams. He looks so adorable and so happy.
So, of course, the Internet can’t just let it be a photo of a happy kid. They have to comment on his stance and the way he’s dressed in tweets like the one above. And these:
Guys what if Prince George is gay and it causes a constitutional crisis? pic.twitter.com/vlb6q4QqKC
— Jason Toups (@jasonptoups) July 22, 2017
me as a prince pic.twitter.com/DC39C7skbp
— JamesMichael Nichols (@JMN) July 22, 2017
There were many who criticized this line of thinking, as it basically equates gender expression with sexuality, which are two completely separate things that are not always related:
Insinuating that Prince George is gay or camp, is just the kind of homophobia you’d be outraged by if it was aimed at you. pic.twitter.com/RaLirXXwLs
— Plonks (@plonkymiff) July 23, 2017
Obviously femininity in boys gets coded immediately as referring to their sexuality – which a 4yo obviously doesn’t have.
— shon faye (@shonfaye) July 24, 2017
However, there’s more nuance to this than even that, especially when we get away from sexuality and over to the gender expression side of things:
But I guess also assuming that a feminine boy = gay or is related to sex in some ways is also a core part of transmisogyny too
— shon faye (@shonfaye) July 24, 2017
And then, of course, there’s the idea that being called gay or queer, in and of itself, is only “offensive” if you find those things offensive:
it’s not really homophobic if i think being gay & camp is positive. i like this photo because i see my young self in it
— Topnotch Boochington (@mothballsoup) July 24, 2017
Insinuating that Prince George is straight, is the kind of homophobia you’d be outraged by if it was aimed at you. https://t.co/80TfR4Q59O
— Pistachio (@Pistashh) July 23, 2017
implying that prince george is gay or effeminate is only offensive if you see being gay or effeminate as a bad thing which makes you a dick
— Michael ✨ (@MJRgrs) July 23, 2017
Here’s what I think:
- Gender expression does not = sexuality (duh!)
- Being called gay is never an insult, however…
- Calling someone gay based on erroneous gender stereotypes is insulting
Most importantly, I’d like to reiterate that Prince George is four years old. He is not yet a sexual person, though he may begin having little “crushes” in school once he gets to kindergarten as many of us did, and that will likely be adorable.
And I totally understand seeing a child behave a certain way and having them remind you of your young, babyqueer self. The thing is, none of us should be imposing our queer selves on a child, because while we could be 100% correct when we “call” a kid’s sexuality, it’s just as likely that we could be 100% wrong. It isn’t our business either way.
Meanwhile, our attempts at guessing and “calling it” only serve to perpetuate the stereotypes and gender roles we work so hard to question and dismantle. And I’m totally guilty, too! I’ve definitely looked at some kids and thought “OMG, he/she is a ‘gay in training.'” And I’m sorry for that. What we think of Prince George’s look/behavior/etc doesn’t matter. The only thing that will matter is what he himself tells the world when he’s older.
When I look at that photo, I see an adorable, happy little kid. And then I think about how much money and power that kid is set to inherit, and I curl up into a ball and cry.
What I don’t do is think about what the way he’s holding his hands might “mean.” If it means anything at all, I’d rather wait and hear it from a mature source, rather than speculate about a four year old’s sexuality or gender identity, or police/comment on someone’s gender expression, because it doesn’t fit my ideal of what a boy should be.
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