Ok, so I’m taking my kids (8 & 10) & the G/F to see Scooby Doo tonight. (No, this isn’t my cry for help. I’ve sat through both Pokemon movies, dammit!) She emails me because our friend “John” wants us to meet him & his SO for dinner first. Then we’ll all go to the movie. Ok, cool with me. Thing is, John’s SO happens to be a guy. So the GF starts sending me these emails to the effect of “Are you sure that won’t freak the boys out?” and “They might hold hands”
Ok, so? If I was trying to shelter my kids from gay couples I’d move back to East Texas & enroll them in the local Babtist private school. Ok, no I wouldn’t. I only go back to East Texas when Grandma cooks Thanksgiving dinner, but I digress…
“John” is my G/F’s best friend. In fact, had I not known him, I never would have met her. So it’s not like she’s being closed minded or anything, she was just worried about how I felt about it.
Well, I have no problem. My kids have known this guy for a long time. They know that he’s gay. They know what gay means! So they see John acting in a way that is perfectly normal, what’s wrong with that?
Ok, I’m not posting this to get some kind of “pat on the back” for being so enlightened, I’m just interested in how other people would handle this situation. (or would even consider this to be a “situation”) Is this a situation? I’m curious! I need to know!
Oh, please. My grandmother was gay, and I grew up around her and her friends. I never even knew anyone thought of homosexuality as outside the norm till I got out into the “real world.”
Thanks, Eve. That was pretty much my response back to her. (the “oh please” part, not the g’ma part) The whole thing struck me as odd & I just felt the need to vent/rant.
To echo Eve a bit, I too grew up with gay family (3 uncles, couple cousins, family friends) and never once thought twice about their sexuality. I can still remember the day in 4th grade when one of the kids called someone “gay”, a catch-all insult back then I had heard a thousand times but always just assumed meant “icky” or “stupid”. But that day, one of the recess monitors overheard and gave us a lecture about “what if one of your friends was gay and heard you say that?” As she spoke, it slowly dawned on me what “gay” actually meant. I was mystified as to how I’d manage to avoid enlightenment for so long…
So, in other words, I think just handling it very matter-of-factly is the best way to go. If the kids are curious enough to ask questions, just tell them the truth and move on. Making a big fuss over it would just instill the belief that it was somehow “off”.
::patting MachV on the back::
My own kids accept things like that as Just The Way Things Are. But they’ve grown up around my gay friends and have a “Nothing to see here. Move along” attitude about the whole thing.
So, yes. I think you’re handling it quite right.
i’m in agreement with the matter-of-fact approach. if children realize from an early age that a vast array of sexualities exist in the world and that all people deserve equal treatment and basic-respect-as-a-human, a more tolerant society is built child-by-child.
i haven’t bred yet…and i’m not sure if i’ll end up raising my future children by myself, with a boy, or with a girl. regardless of my own family structure, my children will know that families and relationships come in flavours other than that of their own.
(and i wouldn’t have considered that to be a “situation.” hope you have fun at the movie!)
I think kids, young enough, just accept things.
I have a nephew and four nieces. Not one of them (well, the youngest can’t talk yet) has asked me why I’m not married. My grandmother used to, but we didn’t want to trouble her with the fact that I’m gay, because she’s not going to be around much longer. In actual fact, she’s stopped asking. Maybe she clued in.
“So when are you going to get married?”
“When I find the right girl.” (A girl with a penis.) :rolleyes:
Interestingly enough, my nephew, who’s only 8 but still a total jock, asked me if I had ever been to a Montreal Canadiens game. I told him that yes, I got tickets to a private loge a few years ago. “Did you go with your friend?”* he asked. Not “one of my friends,” and not “your girlfriend.” It was “your friend.” I think my brother and sister-in-law probably told him.
I don’t know what’s going to happen when I get involved with someone in a serious way and decide to bring him home for Christmas or what not. My parents made it clear to me that it was perfectly OK with them. Still, there’s that nagging feeling. So everyone knows I’m gay - that’s cool. But bringing home the evidence is kind of scary.
I’ve totally deviated from the point of the OP. I just think that the kids don’t really care, especially if they don’t know about sex yet. And maybe this kind of exposure will make it easier for them to understand when they do find out about homosexuality. Pre-exposure. A good thing.
As a gay man living in East Texas, I’d like to invite you back home more often. I’d even suggest you move back. If there were more of you “so what” straight people here, then the bigots might finally catch a clue.
Ya know, they have websites with that…
I’m in East Texas! Where ya from?
Thanks for the feedback everyone! Great points of view from all.
We all had a great evening. No big deal was made about anything and the kids didn’t “freak out”. (and hey, Scooby-Doo was better than I expected) I’m pretty “mater of fact” about most things with my kids. I feel this is the best way I can teach them about life since I’m certainly not seasoned enough to have a wealth of prolific wisdom to pass down. Hell, I’m not even sure I used the word “prolific” correctly in that last sentence.
Homebrew – I’m not sure about the bigots catching a clue. They’re pretty set in their ways. I love East Texas but that’s certainly one of the things I don’t miss.
Gunslinger – (“homebrew”, “gunslinger” – yup, you guys are Texans!) I grew up in Tyler . Spent many a Saturday night in a pasture out in Whitehouse or at “the point” on Lake Tyler. ::cue Alan Jackson music::
Kind of late now, but I thought I should add that when I was growing up my parents had a gay friend. He would come over and he was a pretty cool guy. I had no idea what gay meant and I probably wouldn’t have cared if I did. Having a gay friend probably won’t freak out your kids. It will probably show them that just because a person is gay it doesn’t make them any less of a person. Far too often people make assumptions about others because they are different. By knowing a gay person I realized, too spite what some would say, being gay isn’t a sick wrong thing that should be stopped. Oh, and I’m straight by the way just incase your wondering .
I’ve got a 6 year old daughter, and a gay friend who is very close to the family. We never told her about it, but never hid it. She just knows that Todd likes boys. She questioned it once, and we just said “Cause thats what he likes” and she happily accepted it. She does ask questions about stuff she hears at school or the radio about gays, and even has an opinion on gay adoption. (Her official stance is gay men can’t have babies, cause they can’t grow in the belly, but gay women can, because babies grow in their bellies, but if someone just wants to take care of the baby, thats ok… appearently she isn’t too up on the meaning of adoption, but I’m getting way off the subject here.)
My parents also had gay friends, and never mentioned it, but also never hid it. For a while they used the roomate thing, but never shyed away from questions, except those they figured their freinds could (and did) answer.
So, neither I nor my daughter has been freaked out by gay adults when we were children. If they know and don’t care, I don’t see why meeting the SO would matter to them.