A touching blog post illustrates what a loving father should say when his second grader comes out
You don’t have to try too hard to find examples of dubious parenting out there: fat-shaming, Easter egg hunt-ruining, book-banning, hate group-hiring parenting. So it’s a pleasure to end this week with a story of parenting gone right, with love and openness and acceptance. This is how it’s done, folks.
The tale began a few months ago, when blogger Amelia penned a column about her then 6-year-old son’s crush on Blaine from “Glee.” She noted how her husband had observed at the time, “So if at 16 he wants to make a big announcement at the dinner table, we can say ‘You told us when you were six.’”
They didn’t have to wait nearly that long. Just last month, Amelia, who has been steadily chronicling her family’s experiences in this new terrain, wrote a piece titled “When Your 7-Year-Old Son Announces, ‘I’m Gay.’” In it, she reveals how her Blaine-crushing offspring, a child who just a few months earlier had no concept of the word “gay,” had casually come out to her one day, right before bounding off to play with his brothers. “Gay,” he’d said. “I’m gay.”
And what did Mom do? She “leaned down to eye level with him and rubbed my nose against his,” and told him, “I love you so much.”
Amelia confesses that she’s never known a child to announce his orientation so early, but acknowledges that maybe that’s because “straight children have nothing to announce.” In her columns, she comes across as a fearless advocate for her son, and in the comments, her readers have been sharing their own tales of knowing who they were at a very young age — even when they didn’t have the words for it. She’s also, naturally, been getting plenty of backtalk from commenters concerned that she’s teaching her kid “some convoluted paradigm of sexuality” and suggesting “this mother is really really harming her child.”
Now, the boy’s father, Dave, is weighing in as well. In his “reaction to his very young gay son,” the man who imagined he might be having this conversation in a decade admits, “This is not something I thought I’d be writing so soon.” He laughs off stereotypical questions from readers who ask, “Isn’t your son’s father going to miss teaching him sports?” “Isn’t not having your child get married going to just break your heart?” “How does his father react to the prancing flamer that your [sic] son must be?” because he knows that his child’s declared homosexuality has no bearing on his sportsmanship. If one day his son finds someone he wants to make it official with, “Hopefully by then they can get married in whichever state they want, but if not, we’ll just travel to one of the cool states and have a great time.” Because, he explains, “I want him to be loved, comfortable with himself and his friends, and happy. If that means he’s the next RuPaul or Joe Montana (or just that nice guy in Accounts Receivable), he will know that being himself is important, no matter who he ends up growing into.”
It may seem odd to some that a child so young would identify as gay. But in the same way that blogger Nerdy Apple Bottom wrote in her gorgeous defense of her 5-year-old son’s decision to dress up as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween: “If he wants to carry a purse, or marry a man, or paint fingernails with his best girlfriend, then ok.” She wrote, “My job as his mother is not to stifle that man that he will be, but to help him along his way.”
Heterosexuality is the default, in the realms of both children and adults. It’s assumed that Barbie will pair off with Ken. But, as touchingly affirming blogs like Born This Way will attest, some kids know from a very young age that’s not going to happen. My 12-year-old has this year become good friends with a gay classmate, a boy who’s never declared himself as anything but who he is. My 8-year-old has a friend who insisted he was a girl from before preschool. Sometimes, the kid just knows. And it’s up to the parents not to judge it or persuade the child otherwise, but just to accept him or her, in childhood and for a lifetime. That’s not, as one HuffPo commenter put it, “promoting” anything. It’s just doing what parents are first and foremost supposed to do. It’s just making sure, in the words of Dave, that gay or straight, your child “will always know that his father loves him.”
More Related Stories
- My text blew up in my face
- Boy Scouts end ban on openly gay boys
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- Billionaire hedge funder: Babies, breast-feeding "kill" focus, keep women from succeeding
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- Man arrested for sending Craigslist sex party to neighbor's house
- Greek yogurt, toxic waste hazard?
- Glenn Beck: CNN interview with atheist tornado survivor was a setup!
- Incoming BBC news director on journalism gender gap: "We can do better"
- Illegal construction, shoddy materials at fault in Bangladesh factory disaster
- Pope Francis: Atheists are all right!
- Lawsuit alleges anti-gay hiring practices at ExxonMobil
- Boy Scouts poised to vote, still greatly divided on gay youth
- Is recreational pot use safe?
- How I ended up in a pyramid scheme
- My bipolar partner beat me
- Teenagers care more about online privacy than you think
- Radio host tweets rape joke, blames journalists for reporting on it
- El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman's life hangs in the balance
- Kicked out of the mall -- for an anti-cancer hat
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11