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.