Prince George Is a Preschooler, Not Anyone’s “Gay Icon” or Receptacle for Your Gender Norms

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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:

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:

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:

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:

Here’s what I think:

  1. Gender expression does not = sexuality (duh!)
  2. Being called gay is never an insult, however…
  3. 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.

(image: Twitter)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.