The Short of It
Brooklyn mom Wendylou Napoles defended herself and her son, Desmond, after critics attacked his joyous dancing in New York's Gay Pride Parade.
During Sunday's New York City Pride March, 8-year-old Desmond "Desi" Napoles, of Brooklyn, strutted and vogued his way down Fifth Avenue in a rainbow tutu and gold sequined cap, wowing the crowds and quickly going viral. Not everyone loved his behavior, however, and critics on social media said his dancing was inappropriate and questioned his parents allowing him to dress and dance in a gender-fluid manner.
"If you are offended, don't look," she wrote. "He is old enough and smart enough to know he would be marching in the Pride parade in front of thousands of people and did it willingly. In fact, I thought he would stop after 10 blocks of walking, but he felt so good about being dressed up and being who he is that he vogued and danced the entire two miles. We collaborated on the outfit and this is how he wanted to look today. This was his Pride today. He felt it. He loved it. He was it. These children will be our future. Embrace who they are. All they are asking for is the same love, respect, and acceptance of themselves as any child would."
Napoles told Yahoo Parenting that she and her husband Andrew have been taking Desi to watch the Pride March since he was 6 years old. Desi wanted to join the marchers last year, but his parents didn't think he was ready. This year, however, he and his parents and teen sister walked with the PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) contingent.
In her Facebook post, Desi's mom explains her son has been feminine "since day one," so his parents "keep him involved in the LGBT community because we believe that by speaking to other people who were like him when they were his age reinforces that he is of value and that his life as he wants to live it is okay," his mom says.
"I was extremely proud of Desmond in the march. I could tell that he was living his dreams," Napoles says. "Imagine being a boy like him and the challenges he faces every day—to be accepted by thousands and thousands of people for being yourself. That must be incredible. There were many moments when I had tears running down my face from witnessing how happy and comfortable he was and from looking around and seeing the reactions from the crowd."
Desi's dancing and ability to be himself was beautiful, and I am encouraged by his parents and the many, many people who supported his Pride march and show their support of him in his daily life.
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