POTD 3/17/12 Could Have Been Me

Note: After months of planning, I’m at Dark Odyssey Winter Fire for the weekend, so this may be my last post until Tuesday. Regular scheduled posts will return next week.

The Huffington Post ran a piece a few days ago from a mother whose 7yr old son recently declared that he was gay. It was a lovely essay about love and acceptance, with a bit of parental concern in there too. The parents are being supportive of his identity, while at the same time, understanding that what he feels at seven may or may not be how he feels in the months and years to come. They seem quite content to take him at his word and see what does or doesn’t change with time.

There have been quite a lot of people on internet message boards saying that this is ridiculous, that this child can’t know at such a young age that he is gay. I’ve seen this particularly on LGBT message boards, where people are holding up their own coming out at older ages as proof that seven is “too young.”

Now, I didn’t know that I was gay/queer at seven, but not because I didn’t like boys. I can remember my best friend in 2nd or 3rd grade was a boy named Noah, and I distinctly remember thinking that I wanted to grow up and marry him. I didn’t know that there was such a thing as “gay” at the time, but if I had, I would have considered myself to be so. Certainly by 4th grade I was having serious crushes on boys in my school and religious community.

I don’t know if this boy will continue to ID as gay as he gets older, no one really can. But the idea that all kids are heterosexual until proven otherwise is starting to crack up. It isn’t prematurely sexualizing a child to consider their orientation in my view. After all, children’s books, movies, and family conversations, even at a young age, involve questions of marriage and relationships. Prince Charming *always* lands the Disney princess and they live happily ever after. We talk to children about what their lives will be like, “when you have kids” or “someday your wife/husband will…” Is it so hard to imagine that when some of us pictured our futures even when we were young, it was a same sex spouse we were having kids with, or another man/woman who was walking us down the aisle?

You also might check out this mother’s other excellent essays on her experiences, which began when she wrote a simple post about  her son’s crush on Blaine from Glee and progresses from there. 

 

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3 thoughts on “POTD 3/17/12 Could Have Been Me

  1. I read that essay, and the original Blaine-crush post back when that started making the rounds a few months ago, and have been having a very similar reaction. This insistence that any presentation of sexual awareness or identity in young children must have been externally imposed is, IME, malarkey. If a 5 year old girl talks about wanting to kiss a cartoon prince, or if a young boy dotes on his female teenage babysitter, it’s entirely unremarkable (except maybe a quick, “aww, how cute!”) because it’s “normal”. And it IS normal! But so is the reverse.

    For those people who try to pass it off as, “maybe that’s just something they want to be when they grow up”, again, malarkey. When I was even younger than the writer’s son, I had a female cartoon crush (though I wouldn’t have called it that, I just told everyone, “I love her!”). But I also had a female cartoon role model, and I was VERY clear on the difference. Kids are more aware than people like to think.

    • Oh, so true! And really, who cares if this kid thinks otherwise when he’s older? I see no indication from the mother in question that she has any ideas of expecting Junior to stay gay, this is clearly for him to decide and she’s just there to be supportive.

      I can really see it either way: Yes, some kids are very aware of themselves from an early age (at five, I seriously used to chase down boys to kiss them; my house-mate was kissing both boys and girls by seven –we both had our parents called on us, and I’m still gay-identified and very Top/Dommy, he’s still bi-ID’d); and yes, some kids are going through a phase of experimentation or confusion. Regardless, I still say it’s far better for kids in either situation to have parents who will be supportive no matter what —FAR better than the standard alternative.

  2. Pingback: Start Your Week Off Right: A Round-Up | Of Thespiae

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