Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's National Coming Out Day

When kid was just a wee boy of 8 we had this little conversation:

Kid: Ok Mom, I think I got something figured out.

Me: All right, what is it?

Kid: Well, if you're a boy and you love another boy, you're gay.

Me: Uhuh

Kid: And if you're a boy and you love a girl, then you're straight

Me: Also if you're a girl who loves girls you're gay, and if you love boys you're straight.

Kid: Okay, well when I grow up I think I am going to be straight and marry a girl

Me: Ok. But there are also people who love both boys and girls, they are called bi

(At this point this was too much information for his 8 year old brain and he ran off to read a book)

If the kid had said that he was going to grow up to love other boys, that would have been ok. I would have been worried about how the world would treat such a tenderhearted monkey, but I wouldn't have tried to make him be anything other than what he is.

The Kid is absolutely his own person. There are bits of me and bits of his dad in there, but he is a person in his own right. He is not the physical incarnation of my hopes and dreams of the future, and therefore who he loves is not a reflection on my skills as a parent.

So I take the news that he is straight the same way I take the news that green is his favorite color. It has nothing to do with me. And if he had said he was gay, it has nothing to do with me. I just want him to grow up and find a place in the world for himself of his own creation.

I know that for many children the news that they are not what their parents had imagined leaves them open to abuse, depression, homelessness and suicide. I know that my first gay boyfriend, when he came out to his parents at the tender age of 15, was gang raped by a bunch of his dad's friends to "teach him a lesson". It broke my heart to hear that.

I can only hope that someday in the very near future all parents will take their children's sexual orientation as something that is as neutral a statement as "I like green". It shouldn't be a big deal. It shouldn't cause pain. It just is.

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