Here it is, the new definition of gender, coming to you oh-so-straight from Texas: Real boys don’t sing soprano.
Boys cannot audition for soprano or alto roles in that state’s All-State Choir. Girls cannot audition for tenor or bass. No matter where their talents lie. As a result, 17-year-old Mikhael Rawls, who already has won awards for his countertenor — the male parallel to soprano — can’t try out in the part where he excels.
That rule was made by the Texas Music Educators Assn. You would think music teachers would know that countertenors such as Mikhael are a widely respected part of classical music and tradition.
But then, Texas educators can be a touchy lot on gender issues. In its eagerness to keep middle-schoolers from thinking gay marriage might be OK, that state’s Board of Education required textbooks to define marriage as the "lifelong union between a husband and wife." Apparently, the close to 50% of Texas marriages that end in divorce don’t count.
Jesus’ General has a great letter to the head of the Texas Music Educators Assn.
Hopefully, your rules about proper gender roles in music extend beyond song. No American boy should be allowed to play such a dainty and highly-pitched instrument as a piccolo. Come to think of it, no girl should be aloud to play it either–a ladies lips should not be placed so closely to a long cylindrical object.
I guess we can rule out the clarinet for the same reason. That goes double for boys. They shouldn’t be putting their mouths on clarinets and blowing until the evil thing squeals. It’s damned unnatural.
Rawls’ family has been contacted by lawyers eager to file a discrimination suit. Here’s the stranger part of the tale: His mother has declined, saying she doesn’t think lawsuits are the right way to handle every disagreement.
To which we can say only: Bravo!