I have been thinking about how other people deal with the topic of homosexuality with their children. You know I have been thinking about this issue a lot lately. Different things keep sparking it off but I wasn’t sure how best to put it. Now I have decided just to get on with it and get it out there. I always work on the principle of if they are ready to ask they are ready to know. Sometimes though how will children know the right questions to ask. Society is not accepting enough, in my opinion, of single sex relations. I mean it was great that Ireland voted Yes for single sex marriage – but really there should have been no need to vote in the first place.
Deciding to marry your best mate when you are in infant school
I guess it all started when my 7-year-old son came home from school saying that he was going to marry his best friend (also a boy). They had both wanted the same “girlfriend” but had decided that it was easier if they stuck with each other. Although very innocent and most likely meant nothing I reassured my son that this was okay. That actually if he had wanted to marry another boy then that was fine. I don’t tend to discuss being gay with my boys, but neither do I talk in terms of being straight either. If we discuss marriage I say your husband or wife, I would never assume. But I guess the issue had never been really discussed before – not even with my older boys.
Not watching Television as a Family impacts on topics discussed with Children – including Normalizing Single Sex Relationships
It was during a hangout that we discussed what things we do and do not talk about with our children (such as terrible things happening on the news). It made me stop and think about how we no longer watched television as a family. The children tend to watch their (safe) cartoons/shows and I watch my soaps etc when they are in bed (for peace not protection). That actually they are not that interested in what I am watching. But it also means that they are not exposed to situations such as Sonia Fowler in Eastenders having a daughter and then leaving her husband before being with another woman (again). In fact I asked my 18-year-old (who went to an all-boys school) if he knew any single sex couples and he did not (he does know some of my friends who are but it has never been made an issue of).
Girls are Lesbians because they were holding hands
The conversation came up again when again said 7-year-old said that two girls at school were lesbians. I asked him why he thought this and he told me it was because they were holding hands. We talked about how two girls came hold hands without it meaning anything more than friendship – but if they were actually lesbians then that was okay too. He was quite concerned to think that they couldn’t have a baby, but I reassured him that two people of the same-sex can get married and have babies. I explained that I have friends who are gays, lesbians and bisexual (and have children). I did not explain this any further because that is where he was at mentally. He did not NEED me to say any more – but if he would have asked then I would again have explained. Times are changing as technology advances, I think it is easier to show our children (or for them to find out for themselves) and to search information about sexuality online. In fact I told him about My Two Mums blog. Or for adults to find the resources to find the answers to questions they may not know themselves. For example I have no experience or real knowledge on topics such as transvestites or transgender – but have let the said 7-year-old read The Boy in the Dress.
Toys and Nail Varnish do not make you Homosexual
I have never stopped my boys from having whatever toys they like (apart from guns at first because I don’t like violence but gave up when they made guns out of stickle bricks etc) . I have bought them pink stuff and even recently they had LEGO Disney Princesses (which they converted into Ninjas!) When people started calling my oldest son gay (for having a pink doll) or said he would turn out homosexual because of this I simply explained that this is not the case. You see I really do not think that the toys you play with influence how you feel towards others sexually. You cannot chose who you fall in love with (or what their sex will be). I was again reminded of the ignorance of others recently when my 7-year-old decided to wear nail varnish and was then called names by his peers (not their fault I know). I reminded him that he had wanted to put the nail varnish on, made him think about why he should be confident of who he was. That wearing nail varnish did not mean that he was sexually attracted to other boys, BUT if he was then that was okay too.
I personally think this is a really important issue to be discussed with young children. I would hate for a child of mine to fear being who they are, wanting to tell the world who they really love. What do you think – is it something you talk about with your children? Or would talk about? How have you approached it? Or do you disagree that it is not a topic to talk to children about?