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Hey Son, It's OK to Be Gay!

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I want my 4-year-old son to know that it's totally OK with me if he's gay. In fact, deep down, I might secretly want him to be.

Mom talking to son

Radical Mommy: I don't claim to know what it's like growing up knowing that you're gay and having to hide such a big part of yourself from the world. But I do know that the gay men and women I know who were accepted and embraced by parents and friends when they came out say they are much happier, and are much more secure now because of it.

Having a gay child has never, ever been an issue for me, and when I met my husband, I was thrilled to discover it was a non-issue for him as well. Of course, like all parents, we want the best for our child, and I would never want my son to suffer because of who he is and how idiots might see him if he's gay. But gay people do not chose to be gay -- they ARE gay.

According to some of my friends, they knew they were gay from a very young age, some as early as 4. Well, if that's my son, then that's great with me -- I only hope he feels comfortable enough to tell us when he is young so he doesn't have to feel shame or fear, at least in his own home.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I want him to be gay (well ... maybe a little -- after all, then I could have TWO sons when he meets someone), but I'm not saying that I want him to be straight either. What I want is for my son to be who he is, not who society or bigots (or even my husband and I) tell him he should be.

In an effort to let our son know that we love him exactly how he is, whenever my husband and I talk to him about his future, and how one day he'll fall in love with someone, we ALWAYS make a point to say, "You may meet a girl OR boy who you fall in love with."

I am proud of the way we are raising our son. If he isn't gay, so be it -- but hopefully he will take with him all the love, affection, acceptance and tolerance that his parents have for ALL of humanity and spread it wherever he goes.

I hope our attitudes will teach him that it's not OK to judge people, make fun of people, or ostracize people just because you don't like or agree with something about them. I hope our attitudes will teach him that it's OK to stand up for other people, even people who are different than you. I hope our attitudes will teach him that love and respect are the ONLY things worthy of filling his heart and head with.

I wanted to know more about what my husband and I can do to raise a child who is comfortable with who he is and accepting of people who aren't the same as him, so I spoke to parenting expert 'Gay Uncle' Brett Berk. Here's what he had to say:

Sounds to me like your current pro-gay practices are pretty spot-on. Normalizing homosexuality for young kids -- through casual exposure to gay friends, by providing awareness of the idea that there's a range of human sexuality, by suggesting options beyond hetero-normativism -- is the best way for them to think of being gay as ... normal (which, obviously, it is).

My only concern would be not to overdo it on the whole "falling in love" thing. I find that parents often tend to focus in on this stuff too much from an early age, and it just feels like a silly form of pressure to put on kids' nascent social relationships (see my post on BFF BS). When a 5-year-old tells me that they just broke up with their boyfriend, I think that someone in their life has done them a huge disservice. Oh, and being gay, like being straight, isn't only about love. It's also about genetics, and animal magnetism, and attraction, and fun and sex. But you certainly don't need to tell your kid about all that.

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116 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kate March 6, 2009, 10:37 AM

not gay, why don’t you stuff your vagina or rear end/stuff someone else’s vagina or rear end in the name of love? Oh wait, you already do that!
We all know it’s not about rear ends, but about who puts it there. I don’t see anyone marching on the streets claiming that anal sex between a man and a woman is immoral, and they don’t look to take parental rights from those couples, so don’t blame it on rear ends.

not gay March 6, 2009, 11:24 AM

Hey Kate, take a look at the Folsom street fair in San francisco, what a bunch of weirdos. is this normal? But it is a public gay celebration. Christians try to protect children from such people. Next thing you know gays will be putting gerbals up their butts-hey, that’s ok too it the gerbal doesn’t complain

Brianne March 6, 2009, 7:21 PM

Back for round two.

“Not Gay”, whoever you are, I find it funny that you needed to specify yourself as “not gay” by name rather than an actual one as you make all kinds of assinine, immature comments about what other people choose do with their time.

I’m willing to put money on it that you are, in fact, at least somewhat gay. The biggest homophobes usually are.

And as for the notion that anyone in here can hide behind their “God” as a reason for ignorance, hatred, and sheer stupidity… however you manage to justify to yourself that you are going to heaven for hating and judging but gay people are going to hell for loving, please write it down. That’s the kind of circular logic that serial killers use, and I’d love to use it against you in a rational arguement…”No feelings matter but mine.”
We are gauranteed, by the US Constitution, freedom OF religion as well as freedom FROM religion.

Good day.

not gay March 8, 2009, 11:28 AM

Hey Brianne, why do you judge and insult me. You call my name assinine, immature, and you say I think stupid things. Do you always judge and insult people you disagree with. At least I’m honest, I say I do judge, everyday of my life between good and evil. Do you hate Chrisitians, is hate and judging part of your life. Reread your comment, it’s the most judgemental comments on here. I just stated facts, I never resorted to name calling like you, reread my comments.

Brianne March 8, 2009, 10:25 PM

You stated FACTS? Talking like a five year old about people who “shove things up their butts” is stating facts? YOU, seriously, are attacking someone else for JUDGING AND INSULTING? Really? Are you THAT goddammed stupid, or are you just bored? I wouldn’t be shocked either way, but I’m leaning towards the first.
Do I hate Christians? On a case by case basis, maybe. But most of them seem to hate me without knowing me because I think differently than them. People like you. It’s a fight fire with fire sort of thing.
And you’re not resorting to “name calling”? I beg to differ, considering TWO POSTS UP you refer to gay people as “weirdos”.
Seriously. I’d love to get into a debate with you on this, but it would be kind of like punching a pre-schooler given that you seem to have the average intellect of one. Honestly. Don’t you have gay porn to go beat off to or something?

not gay March 9, 2009, 11:28 PM

Brianne, what’s wrong with calling sodomites weirdos, or people that are into animals, isn’t it weird?-if not what is weird to you? To you, there is something wrong with somebody that deems that activity weird but somebody that actually puts things up their rear ends and parades in public about it,(folsom street fair)is normal? It’s indecent and those people have a problem, don’t you agree. Christians have decent parades but gays like to corrupt them by trying to parktake in the St. Patricks day parade. Why are you so angry? I’m not.

Kate March 10, 2009, 1:59 AM

Yes, that parade seems a little bit weird. But equating THAT to EVERY single gay person out there is much like comparing all Christians to the extremist ones that pray for another person’s death because he/she somehow offended their god and they think it’s up to them to fix that. Not all gays parade naked in the street, obviously the ones staying at home taking care of their children don’t.
And I personally think Christian parades are no more “decent” as religious people commit child abuse by feeding their children delusions about eternal life and supernatural creatures. But I don’t refer to all Christians as superstitious. You on the other hand, have equated a very diverse group of people with just some parade you saw. That was my point earlier, that we should not label an entire group with the negative things we saw in a subdivision of that group.
Oh, and by the way, Folsom is for the BDSM community, in which both gays and straights participate. I do not deny that gays take part in it, but again, it’s not the entire gay (or straight) community. It is not a family show to begin with.

not gay March 11, 2009, 1:31 AM

What keeps sodomites from using animals? I guess there is nothing to stop them, Christianity says that both are wrong

Anonymous March 12, 2009, 5:55 PM

You’ll find that of all the scholarly articles studied at universities worldwide, the only one that can make a reasonable attempt at arguing homosexuality is undesirable (there are no plausible arguments against it being immoral) is by Michael Levin, who argues that homosexuals are unhappier than heterosexuals because they use their body parts counter-evolutionary. This article has been disproven on many, many accounts. Other arguments (disgust, danger to society, unnatural, abnormal) have not even needed responses as they have little or no logic attached. Abridged versions:

disgust- swimming in a cesspool is disgusting to most, but we wouldn’t consider it immoral

danger to society- any more so than divorce or alcohol?

unnatural- laws of nature are descriptive, not prescriptive (i.e if something is observed it cannot ‘break the laws of nature’; prosthetics are also unnatural (on another account of the word unnatural)

abnormal- so is ingenuity, should geniuses be considered abnormal?

On the basis of scriptures, it is important to note that many people do not share the same religion, or belief in a religion for that matter, thus appealing to your personal scriptures is even more controversial than homosexuality, nevermind the other factors (scripture interpretation, validity of scriptures, reasonability of scriptures). No one is asking you to change your religious views on homosexuaity, merely that you treat the ‘sinner’ and the ‘sin’ with moral respect. Your religion is your own, not your child’s, not your mother’s, simply your own.

In actual fact, the strongest challege to homosexuality is the notion that it is no more/less moral/immoral than bestiality. If you believe in a casual view of sex (i.e sex is a pleasure much like eating) then it’s very difficult to drive a wedge between the three. However if you believe sex is an expression of mutual romantic love, as most conservative, anti-homosexuals do (by logic), then it is very easy to drive the wedge, and so even this challenge remains weak.

Many thanks to a mother who believes in moral education, although I would advise you to foster a moral environment rather than unnecessarily impose ;)

Kate March 13, 2009, 2:12 AM

Thank you, anonymous, couldn’t have said it better myself :)

Not gay, I was hoping for a reasonable discussion with people who think different from me, but I guess it’s not your thing. Just a word of caution though - acceptance of sexually deviant people (aka erotic minorities) has already come, and you can only increase your suffering by resisting it. People like you will one day be very unwelcome, like racists and sexists are today, and it is unfortunate, but when pushed to the point where people aggressively don’t accept you, the backlash can be uncomfortable and sometimes even unjust (think about friendly comments that can be perceived as racist).

Laura March 14, 2009, 3:53 PM

When my kids start hearing of homosexuality (Whether they’re 5 or 12) I will explain to them that some men love women and some men love men. Some women love women and some women love men. The end!

not gay March 15, 2009, 3:28 AM

hey laura, some men love animals, uh-oh, better tell them the christian morals that bestiality is wrong. Bestiality is wrong because as anonymous said, you can’t drive a wedge between homosexuality and bestiality outside the Christian belief system. they are both ok because it is all in the name of love and pleasure, now bow down to your Pagan God Obama.

Kate March 15, 2009, 5:59 PM

Not gay, are you saying that Christianity distinguishes between homosexuality and bestiality?
Your words:
“Bestiality is wrong because as anonymous said, you can’t drive a wedge between homosexuality and bestiality outside the Christian belief system.”
Can you drive a wedge between them within the Christian belief system?

And how about another belief system that distinguishes between the two? What problem do you have with that? You keep comparing the two, as if that’s the worst thing that humanity may one day have to deal with. Since your problem with homosexuality is that it’s too close to bestiality, answer me this - why shouldn’t we distinguish the two? Make that point to our children, instead of rejecting reality, like you are? (In case you don’t understand, the reality is that homophobia has become widely disapproved and it will soon be treated like racism, or sexism, which it actually is.)

Kate March 15, 2009, 6:04 PM

The problem with all the anti-gay arguments is that they fail to see that what a woman does to another woman is absolutely the same as what a man does to her - express her love and provide her partner with pleasure. The only difference is the sex of the person, and we all know by now that sex is such a fluid concept - many people are incompletely formed males or females, both physically (intersex, infertile) or behaviorally (asexual, autoerotic, gays). What about them, and where do we drive the wedge when we’re talking only about humans (no dogs allowed in this discussion)?

not gay March 17, 2009, 12:51 AM

Kate you sound like a Christiphobe(someone who is afraid of Chrisitanity)-are you thinking about persecuting people that you don’t agree with?

Kate March 17, 2009, 1:53 AM

No, and I hope you aren’t either. I will personally always be suspicious of religion, mostly because of all the lies they’ve been feeding me, but will want them to be free to express themselves as much as I want to be free. Something about treating others as you want to be treated, sound familiar?
There is nothing all that wrong with not being able to accept others, but please don’t make outrageous claims and hide behind your religion. There is plenty to feel uncomfortable about when it comes to sexuality, and that is fine, just accept being uncomfortable as part of your own nature. Then you have more time focus on being in control of your nature. But there is no use to try to convince others that their nature is “wrong”, because to them you may look just as “wrong” as they look to you. This lady has chosen to raise her child as a person who is not afraid or ashamed of their nature, and not a person who thinks there is something wrong with having sexual desires. Don’t you think its a little too mean to come here and compare that kind of a person to a rapist? (Sex with animals or children can only be deemed rape, unlike sex between consenting adults.) It would be just as mean for someone to go to a church site and start ridiculing the people there for being superstitious. Of course, both are fairly common behaviors, and that shouldn’t be the case. I really wish people would stop acting like that and treat each other with respect even when they disagree.

Kate March 17, 2009, 2:07 AM

In case you wonder about the lies of religion I mention, there is something that you keep saying, and that is blatantly a lie. You seem to think that only in Christian tradition people avoid bestiality, and it somehow has to go together with homosexuality. I have asked you several times how sticking it to your boyfriend is more similar to sticking it to a dog than to your girlfriend. I certainly see more similarity between men and women than between any humans and animals. This also refers to your comment about putting things up your butt. Do you honestly think that heterosexual couples don’t put things up their butts? I always wondered what it is with Christians and sex, and why they feel that uncommon sexual acts between adults are somehow wrong. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Care to explain it?
And, of course, if you want me to address/explain any of my points, I’d love to.

Anonymous March 17, 2009, 5:03 PM

No, In fact I didn’t say anythng of the sort. Actually Christian (amongst other religous) morals would most likely coincide with the view that sex is an expression of mutual romantic love and therefore you CAN drive a wedge between homosexuality, bestiality and necrophelia.
Please don’t misquote me.

not gay March 17, 2009, 8:11 PM

Can anyone explain to me if somebody wants to express their sexuality with animals or dead people, why that is wrong? If that’s what they prefer is that wrong-give me a good reason why we should tell that person there is something wrong with them. Authentic sexual love is only between man and woman because it has the potential to create life, it’s sole purpose is not pleasure. Therefore the wedge is between heterosexuality and everything else. Homosexuality is a disorder like necrophilia, bestiality and all other perversions.
Mutual romantic love between homos is not in the bible- Jesus condemns adultery, divorce, fornication, and says marriage is only between man and woman.
Don’t forget Sodom and Gomorah.

not gay March 17, 2009, 8:42 PM

Uncommon acts between heterosexuals is is forbidden-pornagraphy, masturbation, sodomy, swinging, artificial birth control. Cristianity sets boundaries on sexual acts so humans don’t act like animals. If you reject Chrisitianity, then you can’t set boundaries on sex like bestiality, swinger parites, necrophilia, sodomy, and ohter thing a guy wants to put his wanker into, right. Tell why those things are not wrong especially if it doesn’t hurt anybody?

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