One mother has ignited an online firestorm with a single, defiant blog post entitled "My Son Is Gay" in which she vigorously takes on critics of her decision to allow her five-year-old son to dress up as a female cartoon character for Halloween.
In the blog, which features a picture of the boy dressed up as Daphne from "Scooby-Doo," the mother, who asked to be identified as Sarah, said that she was subject to criticism and condescension from other parents when she accompanied the costumed boy to school.
"But here's the point, it's none of your damn business," Sarah wrote on the blog Nerdy Apple Bottom. "If you think that me allowing my son to be a female character for Halloween is somehow going to 'make' him gay then you are an idiot. Firstly, what a ridiculous concept. Secondly, if my son is gay, OK. I will love him no less. Thirdly, I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off."
The post, made late last month, has gained viral steam today and has nearly 25,000 comments.
"It's surreal," Sarah told ABC News today. She said that the blog post, which started as a rant against critics of her parenting, has grown into a much larger issue, with her at the center.
"If this matters to over 1 million people," she said, referring to the number of hits her story has had on various news outlets, "then I do have a moral responsibility to back up my words... This little post about this sweet, kind, handsome boy strikes a chord with everybody."
But as she stands at the center of the discussion, so does the picture of a boy who's only vaguely aware of the attention he's getting around the world.
"He knows that we've talked about it and he knows that I wrote about it and he knows that there are millions of people that think he's a little rock star," she said. "I think in 20 years, he will know this story... I don't think he will feel angry or shamed, especially when he knows how many people this really touched."
When asked what he thought about the attention, the boy said "Oh, that's sweet," according to Sarah.
A vast majority of the comments on her blog are extremely supportive of both Sarah's parenting and her stand.
"Thanks for being brave and posting this! Congratulations to you for being someone who encourages your son to enjoy life. You support your kid no matter what," one poster said. "Good work mom! Keep up your kindness, love and caring!"
"Beaming with pride. You are who you are, be who you want to be. Well done mama. Well done," another said.
Other posters were less enthusiastic.
"I agree, this isn't nobody's business. One question though, if it's nobody's business, then why do you put this crap on the internet?" one poster wrote. "To me it seems as if you are seeking approval from the masses that it is ok to promote homosexuality, and of all people, your 5yr old. [You're] the adult, not your son. He is not old enough to make decisions of this nature."
Sarah said she sees her duty as a mother of a 5-year-old to just make sure her son knows he's loved.
Sarah's post begins by saying that despite the admittedly "provocative" headline, her son may not be gay. "I don't care." She said that if she had a daughter and dressed her up as Batman, "no one would've thought twice about it."
Though her son was initially excited about the costume, Sarah wrote that he was nervous before wearing it to school.
"[He] doesn't want to get out of the car. He's afraid of what people will say and do to him. I convince him to go inside. He halts at the door. He's visibly nervous. I chalk it up to him being a bit of a worrier in general. Seriously, WHO WOULD MAKE FUN OF A CHILD IN A COSTUME ON HALLOWEEN?" she writes.
When she got inside, she realized that her son had perhaps understood why there was reason to be nervous.
"Two mothers went wide-eyed and made faces as if they smelled decomp. And I realize that my son is seeing the same thing I am," she writes in the blog. "And Mom A says in disgust, 'Did he ask to be that?!' I say that he sure did as Halloween is the time of year that you can be whatever it is that you want to be. They continue with their nosy, probing questions as to how that was an option and didn't I try to talk him out of it. Mom B mostly just stood there in shock and dismay."
The mother said it was "heart-breaking" to see the other parents judging her child.
"My job as his mother is not to stifle that man that he will be, but to help him along his way. Mine is not to dictate what is 'normal' and what is not, but to help him become a good person," she writes. " I hope I am doing that."
She told ABC News that her son was not necessarily nervous because he was dressed up like the female cartoon character, but just because he would be nervous dressed up as anything.
"I don't belittle those nerves, but I also don't blow them up either," she said.
The popularity of the blog post certainly seemed to be a surprise to Sarah, who posted this two days before Halloween, but after she first posted the picture of her son:
"I'm trying to decide if I want to post a little bit more about this. I'm on the fence if I should just let some things go or if I want to go into more detail. Do the two of you that read this have an opinion?"
Before she posted the picture of her son, one of her most popular posts had 15 comments.