“What if one of the kids is gay?”
The question echoes in a quiet living room. Toys litter the floor, but the weighted question, about the possibility of one of our children being homosexual, fills the room. Our kids are still in diapers, they don’t know a thing about love, attraction or relationships yet. They hold their cousins’ hands and give kisses freely as signs of affection. It’s far too early to wonder about the sexual preference our children may or may not choose. But, as we sit there after a long day, the question arises. What if one of the kids grow up and are gay?
“Well, I guess we won’t be doing sleepovers.” I say, laughing off the question.
The truth of the matter is, I don’t know. If parenting has taught me anything, it’s to acknowledge my lack of answers for most questions. Before parenting I had an answer for every scenario from tantrums in Target to getting my children to eat their vegetables. After years as a parent, I find more often than not I am eating the promises of perfection I made before my children were born.
I can’t handle a tantrum at the grocery store with the grace I purported I would.
My kids throw their food on the floor far more often than I care to admit.
What if one of my children is gay? How would I react?
I like to think I won’t be judgmental. I hope to sit there, caring and understanding; as a pillar of support for my child. Well, I hope my kids are comfortable enough with our relationship to come to me about their sexual preference and trust in me to support them. Would them not being heterosexual be a culture shock? Yeah, absolutely.
Growing up, the term gay was tossed around loosely. It wasn’t identified as a derogatory term for a group of people. I didn’t learn gay as a slur until my teenage years. If I didn’t like something, it was gay. There wasn’t this deeper connection to hatred for a whole community of people. As high school came and went, we learned gay and other words had deeper, darker, hateful histories.
As parents we want our children to be accepted, no matter who they are. If my child is gay, I worry about social acceptance. While this is a super progressive era we have the fortune of living in, being gay is still being different. It isn’t that I am scared of my child being different, I am more scared of my child being treated differently.
If my child were gay, will I shrug it off as a phase? Will society?
Would he be embraced for being proud of his orientation or will he hide it out of fear?
The question is weighted and goes beyond the face value of preference. It reminds me of the importance I have in my own household to be open and welcoming. To create an environment of understanding and pride in who you are as a person.
What if one of my children is gay?
We will cross that bridge if we get to it. Hopefully with some grace and understanding.