I normally don’t talk about politics on the blog. I like to focus on family life, and all that entails. However, this issue is more than just political, and ties in so directly to my parenting and the choices I make for my children that I feel like it fits in with what we do here.
Last Monday, the whole world watched as the President of the United States of America openly and unambiguously showed his support for the LGBT community, and their right to not only love, but to marry whomever they choose. What an important moment in history! I feel fortunate to be alive right now, in this time of change. I have always believed that one day kids will sit in class at school, and share a mixture of laughter and horror at the notion that gay people did not have the same rights as everyone else, just the way I remember my peers and I reacting when we learned that mixed race marriages were not legal, or that women were not allowed to vote.
For as long as I can remember I have been having discussions about gay rights (along with other controversial topics such as abortion and religion–I like to keep things light) with friends, family members, teachers, coworkers, customers on the graveyard shift at IHOP (the diner), etc.. And for as long as I can remember, I have been asked the question, “Yeah, but what if it was your own child?” I would usually respond with, “You know what? I DO hope one of my kids turns out to be gay.”
I have three boys now, and oh how your thoughts and opinions change as you grow up. . . Okay, not really. I still kind of hope one or more of my kids is gay. Gasp! I know, I really did just say that. And it is not because I want a “shopping buddy,” or “someone to help me pick out drapes.” How offensive is that? Not all gay men have fashion sense, nor do all straight men lack it. My 11 year old has always been my shopping buddy, starting with trips to the fabric store when he was 3. He has quite the knack for fashion, and I’m pretty certain he is straight. It’s no more fair to expect a gay young man to say, like Liza Minnelli than it is to expect a straight young man to enjoy beer and watching televised sports.
But I digress. The reason I would like to have a gay son is because I know that MY gay son would grow up in a happy, healthy home full of love and support. My gay son would be raised with compassion, acceptance, and enough confidence to spare. My gay son would be encouraged to be true to himself in all environments, and to expect the world to rise to his expectations rather than the other way around. My gay son would grow up feeling normal.
*Check out this powerful scene from The Family Stone that nailed it. It makes me cry every time. That’s how I see my family in the future, sitting around discussing current events and controversial issues. We already do that, but I look forward to doing it with my adult children. Diane Keaton? That’s totally me:
I have been asked how I would feel if one of my kids told me he was gay. I know exactly how I would feel. I would feel proud of my child for being in touch with himself and knowing who he is at a young age. I would feel proud of myself that my son felt comfortable enough with me to trust me with the information. That’s not how it would go down in my house, though. I think I’m intuitive enough that I would know probably before he did, and I also think that the way we talk about everything here, he wouldn’t have to “announce” it. It would be something that we sort of discover together. But that’s just speculation, perhaps mixed with a little wishful thinking.
*Did you see the video of the high school kid who “came out” to his entire school? He has amazing parents, which explains why he has so much confidence and courage. Good for him/them. I like to think that it’s easier for others to accept you when you accept yourself, and that starts at home with the people who love you.
Another great story I read was a mother writing about her straight teenage son receiving a love poem from another boy at school. She wrote, “I would have found this act touching and sweet from a kid of any gender, but there is something to be said for a kid who has the bravery and gumption to express his feelings in poetry form, because even though the world has gotten somewhat gentler towards homosexuals, we are talking about a teenage boy here. Who wrote a poem. And gay kids are still bullied in school, in horrible, heart-wrenching ways, in ways that make me lose sleep at night.” She should be proud of herself for raising a son who handled the situation beautifully, with kindness, and no different than he would have if he had received the note from a girl he had no interest in dating.
I feel that it is my job, as well as the job of my peers, to raise the next generation of fair, tolerant, accepting people. I think, no I know, that my husband and I would do a far better job raising a homosexual child than some people would. I don’t see it as a cross to bear. I see it as just another possibility for my boys and their future. Maybe they’ll be artists, maybe they’ll be engineers, maybe they’ll be funny, maybe they’ll be frugal, maybe they’ll have blonde hair, maybe they’ll be straight, maybe they’ll be athletic, maybe they’ll be gay.
I don’t actually hope to have a gay son, but I also don’t hope for a straight son. My hope for my boys is that they grow up to be happy, healthy, kind, true to themselves, and accepted for who they are.