Pink is for girls. Blue is for boys. So our chromatic tradition holds. As society has become more broadminded about gender, you might expect that our prescriptive color palette would expand, too.

A five-year-old boy's selection of pink zebra-striped flats for school shoes sparked some online debate among adults this week.

Since the preschooler's sister posted a photo of her brother Sam on the Facebook community site "Have a Gay Day" last Thursday, over 14,000 comments have ensued. Most remarks are supportive. ("That just looks like a happy kid to me. Bravo mom!!")

Boy in pink shoes(Image credit: Via Facebook)

However, as the sister explains in her post, several of the boy's own relatives were not as accepting. The boy's mother posted the same photo of Sam on her Facebook page where an aunt remarked that such behavior would "turn him gay."

Blogger Mary Fischer on The Stir insisted that Sam's mother was courting controversy, stating, "I'm sure you can guess the negative kind of things that were said about his pink shoes," then listing the aunt's same concern among her examples.

Most criticism suggests that parents should protect their children from potential bullying stemming from non-stereotypical gender behaviors. But according to the sister's post the boy received only compliments from his peers, no teasing. "What does it say about society when a group of adults could stand to take a lesson in humanity from a class of preschoolers?" the sister wrote.

The boy chose the shoes because the zebra is his favorite animal. When his mother told him that the shoes were for girls, Sam responded, "ninjas can wear pink shoes, too."

Image: Via Facebook