Having The Gay Talk With My Kids

I realized a few weeks ago as I thought about the “Defense of Marriage Act” (and I use ” because it’s a ridiculous name) being declared unconstitutional, that my kids don’t really know about gay or straight. I thought back to my childhood, and I don’t remember when I learned about homosexuality. I remember the Sex Talk (and am still immensely disappointed that my younger sister somehow managed to get out of it), but not the Gay Talk.

I know I don’t talk politics on my blog, but this is an important topic and one that effects everyone. I believe in America and what it stands for, which is freedom and equal rights for everyone. I believe that two consenting adults should be able to get married if they choose to.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am Christian, which has led some to question my support of gay rights (or, as I like to call them, equal rights). I have become very frustrated with the “religious” argument that it is wrong to be gay. Many argue that the Bible calls homosexuality an “abomination.” Personally, I feel that in the times that the Bible was written, the acts of homosexuality were part of crazy parties that sometimes occurred in those days, often in celebration of a different religion. Two men laying together was the act of sexual gratification, not the act of two men committed to a relationship. What the Bible was banning was not the two men being together, but the purpose of their act being only for sexual gratification.

I believe that God made us who we are. Are we flawed? Yes, of course. But being gay isn’t a flaw, just as it’s not a choice (some would argue that some people do choose to be gay, but I also don’t care why someone identifies themselves as gay, it’s simply nobody’s business). Jesus loves us the way He made us. He made some of us gay. I genuinely don’t understand how “Christians” can damn another person for being who God made them to be. I especially don’t appreciate those people for painting “real Christians” as homophobic. I’m a real Christian. I believe that it’s OK to be gay, and I believe that the God I know wouldn’t damn someone for being the way He made them. I can’t stand the “she’s really religious” argument when someone doesn’t support gay rights. It implies that I’m not really religious because I do support gay rights (or, again, equal rights).

As Americans, we have a very clear distinction between government and religion, and there is no legal reason why two people cannot be married – and let me once again clarify this as two consenting adults. I see the rest of America coming to this conclusion, and with President Obama now supporting gay marriage, even if it’s just to publically announce it, gives me great hope for the future of our country.

Which brings me back around to the Gay Talk. I have a few gay friends, but they’re on the fringes, people who I see in circles away from my kids. This is not a conscious decision, it’s just how those who happen to be gay have come into my life. I don’t have an Uncle Fred who has a “roommate” named George or another relative who is out. So the topic of being gay has simply never come up with the kids. Since we aren’t close to anyone gay, they aren’t aware of it. All of the adults in their lives are in heterosexual relationships, so this is what they know. I realized I was going to have to talk to my kids when I was chatting with a friend and she mentioned a gay relative. Her kids are very aware of the existence of gay people because they have people in their lives who are gay.

As I thought about this, I also considered that there is a boy who Sass will be going to kindergarten with in the fall who has two mommies. While people are particularly forgiving of adorable 4-year-olds, I don’t want her to be in a situation at school where she doesn’t understand what’s going on or why little Johnny has two mommies. I don’t want someone else to explain it to my kids. I want them to get the right message – one of tolerance and love – rather than one of bigotry and discrimination, and I want them to get those messages while they’re young so it becomes second nature.

I’m not worried about their reactions. Buddy is very accepting of people different than him. He goes to school with children of all races and religions, which has been wonderfully enriching for him. Simply growing up knowing there are people different than you in the world, and fully accepting them for who they are, is a wonderful gift. Sass is also very loving, and at her age, she soaks it all in like a sponge.

I would love to hear about how you have talked to your kids about this. What kinds of questions did they have? How did you bring it up?

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