Thursday, December 18, 2008
A Christmas Wish?
I am wondering if I did the right thing.
Last Christmas, Joey was a large part of my life. Joey, if you recall, was a gay kid in the group home where my old roommate worked. My old roommate, Aaron, wanted to adopt him, but because he did not own his own home, he was unable to do so. Both Aaron and I went through the process of being approved guardians for home stays and respite care for Joey (I went through this process because Aaron and I were roommates.) Aaron was a good “foster” father to Joey and I could see Joey making significant progress towards maturing. When Aaron decided to leave Atlanta and move back to Los Angeles, I was sad and worried about what would happen to Joey. I made a vow, if you recall, to be a part of Joey’s life and to continue impacting his life.
Damn. I did not keep that vow.
After spending three months with Joey, we had a major disagreement. His group home called me to reprimand him for wearing “drag” to school. And yes, “drag” is against (although this is probably illegal) school rules. Because Joey insisted on wearing red pumps, skin tight jeans, and a halter top, he was placed in in-school suspension for two consecutive days and missed out on classroom instruction.
I had asked Joey repeatedly to not dress like a girl when going to school. I did not allow Joey to dress like a girl around me, period. And it was not because I have a problem with him having gender-identity issues. It was because of how unseeming in would look for a twenty nine year old man to have a fifteen year old boy by his side who was dressed like a girl.
I confronted Joey about his behavior and told him that I felt as though it was disrespectful to me for him to dress like a girl in public. We disagreed and he hung the phone up in my face. I called him back repeatedly only to be told that he did not want to talk to me. We have not spoken since.
On Tuesday night, Aaron, my old roommate and Joey’s “foster father” called me to say that Joey needed help.
He said that Joey’s foster family was mistreating him and that both he and Joey’s social worker felt as though the time he had spent with me and the first family had really been a good experience for him. He said Joey’s social worker felt as though he needed me in his life again.
He really touched my heart with his words because I do feel as though my friends and I made a great impact on Joey’s life. We gave him an amazing Christmas and tried to help him realize that just because you are gay does not mean that you have to dress and act feminine. I thought about the responsibility Joey bought to my life (several people, because of Joey’s attitude and refusal to follow simple rules, i.e. no inappropriate internet sites and no inappropriate self-pics sent via internet warned me about allowing Joey in my house). I considered allowing Joey back into my life.
And then Aaron told me that Joey looked a little different. Aaron said that Joey had recently grown his hair out, permed it, and flipped it. He said that from the back, you could not tell whether or not he was a boy or a girl.
I told Aaron to enjoy the holidays and that I wished them both the best, but that I was unable to allow Joey to be a part of my life.
Did I do the right thing?