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You’re Not Protecting Children From “The Gays” You’re Just Trying To Pass Down Your Own Prejudices!
I’ve been very fortunate in my life to have friends with children who have opened their doors (sometimes their couches) for me and accepted me as one of their family. I remember the first time I went to visit with a couple that had two daughters who were about age 6 and 8 at the time. My friend said to me later that the girls asked if I was gay and she told them that I was and they were like, “Oh, okay then we can play Mystery Date when he comes over.” (And we did!)That was about the extent of the conversation. Through the years I have become a close friend with the couple but also with the girls who are now grown. You could say it’s because the couple (and before I go any further I guess I need to say that they are a male/female couple) were in theatre so the girls were around homosexuals from an early age, the couple themselves were more accepting of gays, etc. and although some of that may be true, it’s more about the people themselves, their personal beliefs and how they chose to raise their children. This is not true of many of my other straight friends with kids and I just have to say that you’re not protecting children from “The Gays” you’re just trying to pass down your own prejudices! – Don’t Get Me Started!
Even if you’re like a friend of mine who’s excuse for not telling her child I was gay was because she said that the reason she didn’t want her seven year old daughter to know I was gay was because she didn’t want her to think of such things as sex at such an early age, the same way she didn’t want her to stop believing in Santa Claus. WHAT?!? How do the two go together or make any sense? I guess the argument is that homosexuality is all about the sex. (After all, it has sex in the title of it for Chrissakes) But in the case of the person we’re talking about, we’re talking about a child who knew both me and my partner for her entire life so if she’s asking questions or even if she asks why Scott isn’t married, I don’t think it’s taking away her imagination or childhood to explain that Scott has Michael and they are just like Mommy and Daddy, they live together and they love one another very much. No need for an anatomy lesson, to pull out an Inches magazine or act out the reason gay marriage isn’t allowed in America with puppets.
This blog came about when I read an article in the USA Today where an Oklahoma high school teacher was fired over assigning, “The Laramie Project” a play about the brutal hate killing of Matthew Shepard. With the Principal’s permission she showed her class the HBO produced film in her class. After watching it, her students decided to film selected scenes from the play themselves for an in-school project. A few weeks in, the 50 year old teacher was told to stop production. After students protested, the teacher held a twenty minute ceremony in a nearby park in which students wrote their thoughts and rolled them into helium balloons, then releasing them. The next day her class was cancelled and when the teacher complained to a school board member the Superintendent put the teacher on paid leave and recommended that she be fired. The school board approved her resignation last Friday. While some say she was fired for complaining to a school board member, others feel it was the homophobia in the rural community that caused the firing. One senior (a former student of the teacher) said, “They don’t want something like this addressed in our community.” The teacher, Debra Taylor says she was trying to help students examine their own beliefs. “I didn’t ask them to change their belief systems,” she says, “but what I asked them was, ‘Can you be tolerant of those that are different from you?’ Many times the students came back and said, ‘I don’t like gays.” I said: ‘I’m not asking you to like gays. But can you be tolerant?’”
Whether it’s a school teacher trying to get kids to think about their belief system or around a family’s kitchen table I guess I just don’t see the danger. I sat at dinner with my parents and brother for a lot of years and there was a lot discussed around our table. I was raised in a home where questions were not only welcomed but expected. The best news is that our questions were always answered even if the answer was “I don’t know. Let’s find out.”
The things that are supposedly kept secret from children (I’ve always credited kids with being much more knowledgeable than their parents realize) are the things that become much bigger deals for them later when they find out they’ve been lied to by their parents. I’m not suggesting that there be a clinical discussion of homosexuality with seven year olds (I’m a strong believer in age appropriate answers) but if a child says to another child, “You’re gay” in a derogatory tone, regardless of what the age is, it’s a parent’s responsibility to correct that child by first asking if they know what it means and second giving them the simple answer that being gay is when two boys or two girls love each other. The above happened with my friend who wanted to spare her child gays and keep Santa Claus. She simply told her child, “That’s not a nice thing to say” without any further explanation. Maybe it’s not a nice thing to say but it’s also not nice to be silent when your child needs answers. And are you really afraid of Santa Claus or are you just projecting your own prejudices or fear of what you’re going to have to deal with as your child grows and asks questions about this and other topics?
I know I’m different than a majority of my fellow Americans because I’m gay (short, Jewish, etc.). I don’t mind being different, I just mind being marginalized by not only the laws but by schools and parents. It’s got to start somewhere. I don’t have kids so I can’t make the difference with my own children but I can do it with my nieces and help my friends if they need the answers for their kids. I just ask that you take a moment to think about why you don’t want your kids to know about the existence of gays. Is it to keep them pure or is it as I suspect, you’re not protecting children from “The Gays” you’re just trying to pass down your own prejudices! – Don’t Get Me Started!
Read More Scott at www.somelikeitscott.com