Monday, August 31, 2009

Introducing Kids to Uncle Andy and his Boyfriend

Now, here's a touchy one! With homosexuality being so hot-button in our society, and showing no signs of slowing, how does one broach this with children?

It came up at one of Andrea's Girl Weekends. One of the attendants 'came out' after high school, and though she's currently not practicing, she took it quite personally when another attendant said that she didn't want to explain homosexuality to her 3-year-old. I think that the latter's point was that she didn't want to explain ANY sexuality to her kid. That's fair, especially when they've just discovered their 'peepee,' and learned that you're supposed to leave it alone at the supermarket!

And how to explain the many faces of Love? I love Mommy, and we spend our lives together, and I love heavy music, but often listen to rap or instrumental jazz. I love Reese Bites, and they're sure not in the house all the time! I love the city I live in, and really enjoy visiting other cities. I love my nieces, but it's different than how I love my kids... All pretty deep & abstract, and difficult to explain to a child!

When it came up at work yesterday, someone (an older gent, with a love of his opinions, and no love of abbreviation) said “Kids with gay parents would have a hard time at school (granted) and they would grow up with a different set of values...” And another, younger, lad said “Yeah, they'd probably grow up to be more accepting of people in general.” I don't know enough such people to say for sure, but I'd bet he's right! (This is where the Comments option comes in handy; lets hear some feedback from kids, of their friends, of same-sex couples)

As for the bullies in school, If they're gonna target you, you'll deal as you see fit, just like the rest of us! Many of us went through it with Breeder parents, so “...For the Kids...” is a pretty weak argument against same-sex marriage! But I digress...

If you explain Gay to five-year-olds, won't they all think they're gay, since the other sex is 'Icky' and 'has cooties'? And if they all went through that, wouldn't they be more tolerant of 'That Kid' in High School?

Personally, I'd like my kids to be affectionately curious about those who are different than them. “Sikh? Cool! Where you from? How are your weddings different? How 'bout holidays?” “Gay? Neat..!” “Parachuter? What's it like..?” “You play the oboe? What's an oboe?..?” I guess my best hope is to live that way myself, and trust it to rub off.

And what if our child turns out to be gay? I'm plainly pretty liberal about the whole issue, and I've liked most of the gay people I've met, but how can I answer that before it happens? It's easy to say, “Of coarse my values will be totally consistant, but it may trigger something deeper that I'm currently not acknowledging. And I'm just as likely to say “Woohoo! Theater tickets for life!”

When I asked Andrea that 'what if...' she said, “that's fine, but they had better find a way to give me some grandchildren!”

P.S. Cheers to Crazy Texas Mommy for boycotting wedding in solidarity with our procreationally challenged Brothers & Sisters!


  1. gay marriage and children. are they born with it? do they learn it?

    what's the story right?

    having a 7 year old, i can start to answer these questions. explaining sexuality to a child is hard and in my opinion wrong. my daughter knows about gay marriage, but not because they are gay.

    she is taught about love. love like "daddy and jenn". they sleep in the same bed, kiss each other because they love each other. not because they are gay. they are who they are.

    at some point you have to trust your parenting skills. most parents aren't confident and those are the kids who wear bike helmets when they play outside.

    at one point, you have to let them go, and hope that you taught them to stand up.

  2. Oh, hell yeah! The very last thing I want is Bubble-Wrapped Kids! I'm not even sure about vaccinations; let'em build up their immune systems naturally! But, like I've said: I've got all the pat-answers now, just wait till 'Theory' runs into Reality! :)

  3. Hey, Will Burke, thanks for the shout out!! I'm pretty passionate about the gay marriage. Who are we to tell two people that love each other they can't get married if they feel like that's what they need to do? Oh Lord, I could go on-and-on about all that, so I'll stop myself now.

    As far as telling my kids about same sex couples and families, I guess I kind of had an easier time because I'm a single mom and our family isn't like a lot of my kids' friends families. So, when I explained families to them, I told them there are all kinds of families. Some with just a mommy, some with just a daddy, some kids live with their grandparents and some kids have two mommies or two daddies. And let me tell you something, my 12-year-old will not hesitate to jump someone's ass for saying anything negative about gay people or gay families, even in front of her friends. Makes me proud.

  4. Ph'kya, that's AWESOME! Please let your 12-yr-old know that yet another of your readers think she's great! I've let some gay freinds at work know about this posting, so hopefully I can get some feedback from the inside!
    All the love in all it's shades to all y'all!

  5. A few months back we took my then three year old son out to dinner with a lesbian couple we know. A year before, we'd all attending their wedding in NY. At one point during dinner my son leaned over and said, "Mommy, which one of them is a boy?" I said, "No honey they're both girls." "One of them has to be a boy," he said, "...two girls can't be married." My answer was "Sometimes girls marry girls and sometimes boys married boys." His reply. "Really? Great, then I'm marrying Ander." (His BFF.) You're never too young to understand love, no matter what the combination.