The parents of 10-year old C.J. Duran spoke to HuffPo after douchey right wing actor James Woods tweeted the gender-noncorming chid would “grow up to murder and dismember his parents and stuff them in a freezer.”
This is sweet. Wait until this poor kid grows up, realizes what you’ve done, and stuffs both of you dismembered into a freezer in the garage pic.twitter.com/1k3ITApFsF
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) July 10, 2017
How has this affected you?
Matt Duron: I can’t answer that honestly here. It’s hard being the bigger man when someone attacks your family and does it in the way Woods did it. I’ll leave it at that.
Lori Duron: I was totally and completely shocked at first. It was late at night and I was scrolling through Facebook because I couldn’t sleep. I saw the tweet because someone had posted it on Facebook and one of our friends left a comment defending us. At first, I couldn’t quite make sense of his words in conjunction with the picture of us at Pride. Like, my brain couldn’t register that James Woods ― a somewhat public figure ― was saying that my sweet, happy, harmless 10-year-old son will eventually kill us, dismember us and stuff us in the freezer.
Woods also implied that we force our son to be gender creative. Anybody who has followed our journey knows that is not true. I’ve written about how much easier our lives would be if both of our boys were straight and cisgender. We had to evolve to the place where we are now, that’s what my writing is all about ― to show our evolution as parents and people and hope that it inspires others. I’m also always disturbed and surprised when adults ― who are old enough to know better ― think it’s okay to talk about a child in a negative way. Especially when they do it so graphically. The biggest rule we have in our house and the life lesson we stress most to our two children is “Don’t be a jerk.” When adults are jerks it makes me wonder about the way they were parented, not how I parent. That’s a reflection of them, their background and their intentions, not mine. So, yes, I say I’m immune to hate thrown my way, but I must admit, Woods’ tweet proved me wrong. I’ve had to remind myself of another thing we teach our kids: You can’t let hate breed hate and fear breed fear. Some of my initial reactions to the tweet included hate and fear, I had to exercise some self-control because lashing out wouldn’t help the situation.
What kind of support have you received?
MD: We have received a lot of support from our friends and family. Anybody who knows us knows that we have an awesome support system. It goes to show that you don’t cultivate relationships with quality people for the good times. You do it for the hard times. That’s when true friends step up, support and encourage you. They remind you that you’re doing the right things for your children. I expected my friends and family to be there for us, I wasn’t expecting the outpouring of encouragement and love from the public and celebrities.
LD: This incident has shown us that the village we are lucky enough to be a part of will assemble at a moment’s notice to support and protect us. We’ve had close friends and mere acquaintances reach out to us and defend us. They offered to help us in any way they can and have made good on their offers. The LGBTQ community was also swift to be by our side. We’ve been in constant communication with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) since the tweet. I’ve seen firsthand how quickly and powerfully HRC can mobilize to provide support, a listening ear and sound advice. It’s amazing. PFLAG has also been checking on us throughout the day and offering help. Members of the LGBTQ community who are strangers to us have offered support and encouragement.
And all of the people and organizations that have contacted us have always been – first and foremost ― concerned for our safety and wellbeing. And, then, there are the celebrities who came to our defense. When Neil Patrick Harris replied to Woods’ tweet, I was speechless. As a parent, when someone comes to your child’s defense, the positive emotion is overwhelming. With Neil being who he is and having the audience he does, that positive emotion was multiplied. We are so thankful for his tweet and support. When other celebrities started retweeting Neil’s tweet, it felt like this big, powerful, loving, supportive army had assembled in front of us and we could take a moment to catch our breath.
Have these attacks made you reconsider your mission in any way?
LD: Woods’ tweet definitely highlights the fact that there is work left for me to do. There is still education that has to take place and empathy to inspire. It also shows the kind of people and thinking we need to protect my son (and kids like him) from. People who think like Woods are the danger to my son; not me.
MD: My wife and I have been advocates for children like our son for several years now. I have educated myself on these issues. The statistics for LGBTQ youth are troubling: self-harm, addiction, depression, unsafe sexual behaviors, etc. I will not allow those statistics to be my son’s statistics. I’ve heard heart-breaking stories from adults where were like my son when they were growing up. Stories about how their first bullies were their parents or siblings and how they were beaten up emotionally and/or physically. How their family kicked them out and shut them out when they came out. I’m a dedicated dad who isn’t afraid and will always speak up. James Woods isn’t going to change that or the way I father.
Read the whole interview here.