Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Should You Ask If Your Child Is Gay?

As a heterosexual parent, I am very aware of the privilege that I exist with.  My children are growing up in a family that fits within the discourse of what is considered normal and even though I attempt to portray a queer identity as exactly the same, all of the other agents of socialization convey the opposite message.

The unhusband and I have worked incredibly hard to teach our children that those that are part of the GLBTQI community exist with the same human value as anyone else.  We do not do this for “the cookie” but because we fundamentally believe that all people matter. 

As our children age, along with dealing with issues regarding safe sex, should they turn out to be gay we will have to deal with homophobia and heterosexual privilege.  To ask our children what their sexual preference is means that we would expect them to declare and that is not expected of those that are straight. While we do not want to assume heterosexuality because it is dominant, at the same time we do not want them to feel as though their sexuality is something that must be announced.  The question then becomes how do we promote an environment in which they feel comfortable being themselves without placing expectations on them that society would not expect of a straight youth.

In the end we know that as long as they are engaging in safe sex what their sexuality is, is none of our business.   What we wish for them above all is love. I think that in the end what is most important is creating and maintaining an open dialog  and a safe space for children to grow.  It is my hope that if we continue to have conversations with our boys regarding the equality of all peoples that regardless of what their sexuality is, they will feel comfortable bringing their partners home in the full knowledge that we will welcome them. 

To many GLBT youth live in fear of being kicked out of their familial home should their parents discover their true sexuality and it is my hope that my children will feel secure enough to be themselves because of the safe space their father and I try to provide.  Not only is it important to convey the equality of all peoples; it is equally  important to ensure that children know that they are loved unconditionally.