A video of a boy’s excitement over receiving a sewing machine as a birthday gift has gone viral, gaining millions of views on the video-sharing app TikTok.
The boy’s father has used the newfound viral fame to thank his wife for making him less homophobic. A gay Project Runway alumn also sent the boy a care package after the video went viral, to encourage him to pursue his passion.
The video shows Sam Gouveia opening a large wrapped box on his ninth birthday. As soon as he realizes what’s inside, he grabs his head and excitedly proclaims, “It’s a sewing machine!” The boy then delightfully mentions that the Singer brand machine comes with a seam ripper, different heads, and buttons to use different kinds of stitches.
Sam was the only boy who attended a sewing camp, the video mentions. He has since used the machine to make a sleeveless floral print dress for his cousin, a tote bag, and hair scrunchies
@daddyfiles Happy birthday, Sammy. Sew amazing! #sewing #gender #parenting #genderroles #raisingboys #boyswhosew #singersewingmachine #toxicmasculinity ♬ original sound – Aaron
In a follow-up video, Sam said that all of the supportive comments on the now-viral TikTok video made him feel very good.
“It made me feel like boys can do whatever they want,” he said.
Soon after, Sam’s father posted a video of his son receiving a care package from gay Project Runway designer Gunnar Deatherage. Deatherage’s package included some gorgeous shimmering and sheen fabric scraps to work with, bottles of nail polish, and a $35 gift card to JoAnn’s Fabrics.
“How exciting it is to see you start your fashion journey,” Deatherage wrote in a note to the young boy. “I was where you are now once. Keep pushing, stay excited, and beautiful things will come your way. Rooting for you.”
In another posting, Sam’s father Aaron thanked people for the supportive and “life-affirming” comments, which he has shared with his son.
“[Sam] has a hard time, and this has bolstered him in a way that is real and tangible,” Aaron Gouveia said. “It’s miraculous to just sit with him and show him all the people who have reached out, whether it’s celebrities or companies or just people just reaching out. It’s been tremendous, and it’s been wonderful. It’s the way social media should work.”
He also admitted that, despite the comments praising his support of his son, the boy’s mother is really most responsible for his accepting embrace of his son.
“I have to admit I do feel a little guilty because some of the comments had been ‘Oh, what a great dad. What a supportive dad’ blah, blah. Maybe because it’s a little bit novel to see a dad advocate for things like sewing,” he said. “It really should be ‘What a great mom Sam has,’ because I got to tell you: Years ago — my oldest son’s 14 — and I distinctly remember when he was a baby, I was in my 20s… She put him in pink socks, and I lost my mind. And I said, ‘Well, what are you going to do? People are gonna think he’s gay.'”
“I was that guy,” he continues. “I’m not that guy anymore. I’ve changed a lot. But I’ve only changed because of my wife first and foremost. And then all of the friends that I’ve made and the people who have set me straight, you know? I’m a convert, but my wife was always on the right side of this, always. And she deserves all the credit for how our kids turned out and for the person I am today.”
Aaron and Sam achieved some minor fame about five years ago when the father made a video about his son being teased for liking to wear nail polish. After receiving praise from mainstream media outlets and condemnation from right-wing outlets for allowing his son to express himself, Aaron wrote the book Raising Boys to Be Good Men: A parent’s guide to bringing up happy sons in a world filled with toxic masculinity.
In a separate video, Aaron said of TikTok, “One of the most depressing things I’ve seen are videos from these good, kind, compassionate kids who have to deal with their MAGA loving parents.”
“I’m seeing kids in tears because they’re desperately trying to convince their parents that Black Lives Matter, or they’re gay, queer, nonbinary or trans, and they’re met with indifference or intolerance or even attacks from the people who are supposed to love them the most. It breaks my heart and it’s completely unacceptable,” he continued.
“I’m just a basic 40-year-old dad trying to raise three boys the right way and love them for who they are and who they love because every kid deserves that foundational support from parents,” he said.