What if your son was gay?

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.

inauguration

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.

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12 thoughts on “What if your son was gay?

  1. I’m seriously sobbing. This topic is one that I find very moving. I am right there with you. I don’t hope for a gay child, but I don’t hope for a straight one – just that they are happy and secure with who they are, and will surround themselves with people who will accept them and build them up rather than tear them down.
    Although I cannot look at my kids behavior and form opinions about them at this time as an indicator of orientation, there is one son who, if he does turn out to be gay, I can say that I “always knew.” But we’ll see. There are far more important things to consider at this point but don’t think I am not grateful for the time we live and for the presidents words. I feel confident that if my son IS gay, by the time he is old enough to know it he will not have to wonder if it’s okay to let people know.

    • I agree that you can’t necessarily form “opinions” of your kids at too young of an age, but I think that people do know pretty darn early what they are attracted to. I remember a gay female friend telling me once that when she was about 6 or 7 she saw Gone With the Wind, and she would day dream about some of those scenes, but instead of picturing herself as Scarlet O’hara, being swooned by Clark Gable, she would picture herself doing the swooning. But I do agree that we should never form hard and fast opinions of our kids on anything really. We shouldn’t ever try to put them in boxes.

      My oldest is a slow, thoughtful speaker, and he has some anxiety issues. I never, ever, ever in a million years thought he would be a public speaker or performer. I was so wrong! A friend asked him if he wanted to give a speech at his wedding when Max was only 8. My immediate reaction was to tell my friend no, don’t even ask, don’t put that pressure on my kid. But then I thought, well, what if he wants to do it. He did want to do it, and he was ah. may. zing. He has such a knack for it. And he is quite the actor. Blew me away. I could easily have squandered any confidence he’s gotten from performing because I had formed an opinion of him, so I learned a big lesson, and I try not to ever do that.

      ~Daniél

  2. Just gorgeous, Daniel (with an ‘!) Love this post. When I think about all the changes happening in society towards acceptance, I feel quite moved. And hopefully these changes steam ahead. Thank you for writing this 🙂 ❤

    • Yes, I too hope we continue to move forward. I think that the media and entertainment industries greatly influence society and our values. These days, the idea of “family” and what family looks like is changing, and gay couples are not only common, but are being portrayed in far less stereotypical ways, and are looking far more “normal.” Call me an optimist, but I tend to think the only way is up from here.

      ~Daniél

  3. Daniél

    Words can’t even express how touched I was by your beautiful blog essay “If I had a Gay Son.” It brought tears to my eyes. I’m so proud of you as a friend and former film student. As a “gay son” (and brother and uncle), I know first-hand the blessing of being part of a loving and supportive family. In that, I have been very fortunate. It makes me happy to know that if you had a gay son, he would be equally fortunate. Of course, if you don’t have the good fortune of having a gay son, don’t give-up hope, you might still get to have a gay grandson. Gay grandsons sure love their Grandmas! . God Bless, Tom

    • Haha, I will remember that. It’s unrelated, but I can’t wait to be a grandma. I had one of the best grandmas in the world. I was the moon and stars to her, and I plan to use her as my model. In my little grandma fantasy, I love all of my beautiful grandchildren, but my gay grandson is my very favorite. =D

      Thank you for reading and for commenting. I’m proud to consider you a friend as well, and you are my favorite professor I’ve ever had. I still intend to finish my degree. I told Jeff I want to move back to KC once he has enough experience to get a job there, ’cause I always pictured working with you on my senior capstone project. That may or may not happen, but it’s a nice thought. =)

      ~Daniél

  4. Yes well done. I’m moved.
    My son is gay and I think it took him longer to figure out than us. His joke is that his ‘gaydar’ is so bad, he didn’t even know he was gay 🙂
    We don’t think anything about it. I’ll be happy to see him meet someone and be in a healthy, loving relationship. It’s hard for young people in their 20’s these days – straight or gay to navigate the waters.

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