The daytime drama General Hospital is touching on an important story involving Elizabeth Webber’s (Rebecca Herbst) youngest son Aiden (Jason David).
More children and young people are struggling with identity issues and acceptance than ever before. And with that they face online and school bullying. The ABC daytime drama General Hospital is touching upon this with story featuring the character of 8 year old Aiden Webber (Jason David) who is being bullied in school. His teacher Ms. Willow Tait (Katelyn MacMullen) brought the issue to the attention of Jake’s mother Elizabeth. Poor Aiden became reserved, preferring to spend his recess alone reading. Additionally, the little boy enjoyed watching a cartoon called Princess Kalinda of Everwood and collecting pencils featuring the female heroine. His older brothers Cameron (Will Lipton) and Jake (Hudson West) were worried that the bullying Aiden suffered for “being different and weird” as his classmates called him was due to his interested in traditional girl things. In addition to watching “girl cartoons,” it was revealed Aiden enjoyed baking and was a wiz at making cupcakes. Franco (Roger Hogwarth), Elizabeth’s fiancé felt Aiden’s baking was good as it allowed the child to express himself. However, Jake reminded bringing his cupcakes to school would cause further bullying for Aiden. Then he showed Franco and Elizabeth that kids were calling Aiden “Gayden” online. This concerned Elizabeth. She and Franco wanted to support Aiden by showing him how much they loved him.
The video below shows the candid conversation between Franco and Elizabeth on the subject of how she’d feel if Jake turned out to be gay:
Video Courtesy of jms99
And on the episode that aired Thursday, January 31, 2019, Franco provided Elizabeth with reading material for parents of gay children. After reading some of one of the books, Elizabeth discussed the situation with married couple Brad (Parry Shen) and Lucas (Ryan Carnes), friends and co-workers at General Hospital. Both talked about their own experiences being gay and coming out.
I applaud General Hospital for the way it is handling this story. The writers are showing Elizabeth as a parent who is loving and supportive. Her goal is to make sure that her son is okay and knows how much she loves and is proud of him.
As someone who is straight and not a parent, Aiden and Elizabeth’s story isn’t something I can relate to personally. Plus I grew up in the 70s when discussions of sexuality didn’t take place when you were in grade school. When I was eight in 1973, the only meaning of the word gay for me was someone who was happy. But times are different and parents have to be informed in order to help their children face issues we didn’t deal with as children forty years ago. I hear children as young as five years old talking about having crushes. Some even start dating while still in middle school. And many are facing gender identity issues. Being a child in this age is way more complicated, which is also a little sad. It’s heartbreaking to think of how many children have already committed suicide as the burden of non-acceptable became too overwhelming to bear.
I hope that Aiden’s story will encourage more parents to take action like Elizabeth. Staying informed, talking with others experiencing (or have experienced) the same situation as well as seeking professionals like counselors are the best tools any parent can have to help their children. And the important thing to remember is how much your child needs you; it’s not about you, your feelings or your friends or neighbors’ feelings. Your child’s well-being should be your top priority not your embarrassment on what you’ll say if you are the parent of an LGBTQ child. Transgender actress Cassandra James plays Dr. Terry Randolph, Elizabeth’s childhood friend. Terry is estranged from her family who found it difficult to except she was a girl living inside a boy’s body. And when Terry official became a female, her family distance themselves from her. I hope Elizabeth will talk with Terry about Aiden and seek her guidance. Having Cassandra James in General Hospital is an asset as it gives realism to this story should Terry become involved in Aiden’s plight.
Viewers don’t know for sure whether Aiden will turn out to be gay. Or transgender. But I think General Hospital is doing a great public service by presenting this material. Kudos to the writers and actors Jason David, Rebecca Herbst and Roger Hogwarth.
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