Yesterday I sat down with my 11 year-old son and we watched this:
I had recently read this heart wrenching blog post about judging a child and it touched my heart. I wanted my son to see this video and know that many people from various backgrounds in a wide range of professions living in Canada are gay. I wanted him to be aware of what gay tweens and teens go through as they struggle with who they are and are so harshly judged by others. I wanted him to realize that, chances are, at least a few of his friends will be gay and may already know they are. I wanted him to know that some of the people we know are gay. I wanted him to think about them as individuals with lives and loved ones. I wanted him to see the person instead of how they are labeled. I wanted him to see that they loved and were loved back. That they deserve happiness as much as he does.
I mostly talked and he listened. I talked about my strong dislike for labeling people. Just like in Kath’s post on Atheism or Erin’s post on Natural Parenting. I prefer to be ME instead of define myself or others according to our behaviours. My point here is that, just like with straight people, gay people come in many shapes & sizes, with varying political & religious beliefs, covering the spectrum of socio-economic & cultural diversity. That being gay is just a part of who they are, it shouldn’t define them.
However, unfortunately, sometimes it does. Especially when they are teens. Why? Because one’s sexuality is evolving and it is such a huge part of who we are at that age. But it was important to me to talk with him about this so he can hopefully see beyond this and focus on the individual instead of just one part of who they are. And knowing this that he will be more accepting.
At the end of this discussion I said, “so, any thoughts” and my boy responded with the most profound and simple truth, “OK. I get it. But, Mom, what I don’t get is why people even care that someone is gay?” Ah, out of the mouths of babes. If only we could all be so accepting and stop judging. I just hope that this attitude continues through the upcoming teen years.
So, have you discussed this with your child? Have you talked to your children about sexuality?