Things can change so much over the course of a single human generation. It gives me hope for the world.
My Grandparents and Parents were intolerant of people who were different, and had old world views about people from different cultures, who had a skin colour that wasn’t white, and who were gay. The saving grace is that I know of a number of gay people who were in our family circle, and nobody realized it, they just couldn’t see it.
Flash forward to my younger years. In university, I had gay friends, punk rocker friends, flexisexual lovers and everybody, male and female, wore eyeliner. I held friends as they wept with deep grief when they tried to come out to their families and their world exploded. I knew that would have been my fate if I was gay and told my family.
Nobody “different” would be tolerated. My family even warned me not to date the black guy in town. WTF? Of course I dated him… first thing I did was make damned sure I found out why this would be so bad. It wasn’t bad, turns out he was an asshole, but that isn’t about colour.
Now I have children. My eldest child and her friend decided that when they get to high school they want to be sure to have at least one gay friend. When asked why, my girl replied “because your gay friends are so fun”. I smiled and had to agree with that one. She doesn’t realize that their being fun is not so much about being homosexual, it is just that I pick fun people generally. I wouldn’t want to generalize that any group of people is any certain way, except for maybe Republicans, but that is another post entirely.
We explored the conversation quite a bit. I had to explain to my gobsmacked child that often in high school somebody who is gay will likely hide it. She couldn’t understand that. I explained that many of their parents might hold a dim view of homosexuality, and that they may not feel safe to come out, heck they may not even have fully figured it out yet.
Then she asked “how do they know?”.
(Sidebar: can you picture the quagmire I had waded into on that day? Picture Mom pouring herself a little snifter to try to explain the fundamental ignorance of homophobes)
I explained that currently, at her age, she is pretty comfortable around girls, but boys make her giggle and nervous? She agreed. Well, if you are gay, you are probably more nervous around your own gender because that is who you will eventually be attracted to as you grow up.
We also agreed that if she met somebody living openly gay in high school that she should respect them for being brave and for living honestly. I also suggested that she be a good friend to that kid.
We decided that some of Mommy’s gay friends’ predisposition to loving show tunes made them even more fabulous.
End of conversation – mothering level MASTER achieved.
This post ran originally on BluntMoms.com