A Dad Reacts to His 7-Year-Old Coming Out GayMonica Bielanko
Gay rights are the civil rights battle of the new millennium. The fact that a rather large group of people feels like they’re entitled to withhold basic human rights to someone based solely on who they choose to love or what goes on in their private life makes about as much sense to me as sending black kids to different schools or forcing black people to use different bathrooms and drinking fountains.
And yet here we are in 20-freaking-12, still refusing to learn from history, still refusing gay people the right to be as miserable as straight, married people.
But we are fighting. Whenever I hear a story like the one I’m about to share with you I feel so full up with love and think that, yes, there is hope. Maybe, when my daughter is my age no one will give one wit about gay and straight and who someone chooses to love. Maybe, just maybe, they will be happy for someone who is able to find anyone to love and to love them back in this crazy world. And it will be all because of parents like Amelia and Dave.
A couple months ago Amelia wrote a really beautiful article for Huffington Post about how her 7-year-old son told her he’s gay.
Six months ago “gay” wasn’t even a word in my son’s vocabulary. He has always known that some of our male friends are married to men and some of our female friends to women, and it is such a normal part of his life that he never needed a special word to describe them. When he did notice the word and asked what it meant, I told him that when boys want to marry boys and girls want to marry girls, we call that “gay.” He didn’t seem very interested and quickly went off to do something else more exciting than a vocabulary lesson with his mom.
Fast-forward a few months. I was on the phone with a relative who had just discovered that I was blogging on The Huffington Post and openly discussing my son’s crush on Blaine. I was in another room alone (I thought), explaining, “We’re not saying he’s straight, and we’re not saying he’s gay. We’re saying we love who he is,” when my son’s voice piped up behind me.
“Yes, I am,” he said.
“Am what, baby?” I asked.
“Gay. I’m gay.”
My world paused for a moment, and I saw the “geez, Mom, didn’t you know that already?” look on my son’s face.
You can click over to Huffington Post to read about how Amelia responded to her son. The PERFECT response, if you ask me. The ONLY response a loving mother would make to a child of any age telling her he or she is gay.
Fast forward to now when Dave, Amelia’s husband, who isn’t a writer by the way, wrote a piece for the Huffington Post explaining his reaction to his little boy who says he’s gay.
Dave says that it’s pretty much all anyone asks him about ever since Amelia wrote the article. His response: “The idea that I would be immediately disappointed/angry/suicidal that my son identifies as gay offends me, both as a father and simply as a human.”
There is so much more to Dave’s response than just that sentence and you should go read his very excellent post immediately, but his response to his gay son reminded me of something my own husband, Serge, wrote around the same time Amelia was learning that her 7-year-old is gay. It was an article called The Ballad of a Couple of Rainbow Warriors and it’s about what Serge would do if our 1-year-old, Henry, ever tells us he’s gay:
Possible Henry: Dad, can I talk to you for a minute?
Me: Not now, Henry, I’m whittling.
Possible Henry: Hey that’s cool, Dad. What is it? An eagle?
Me: Well, no. It’s supposed to be your mother. I wanted to carve her a wooden image of herself to put on the hood of her hovercraft, like those old Mack Truck bulldogs. Oh nevermind. What’s up, boss?
Possible Henry: Dad, I think I might be gay.
Me: Really? Hmph. (Short pause here, I lay aside the wood and the knife.) Well, go tell your mom that I’m leaving her. Moving out. Moving on.
Possible Henry: Dad! No! What the hell do you mean?
Me: Easy, bud. Don’t get upset. Everything is cool. Just go tell your Mom what I said.
Possible Henry: But Dad, please tell me why? I’m scared.
Me: Don’t be scared, dude. It’s all good. It’s just that if you’re gay then I’m gonna be gay right there with you, boss. Simple as that.
Possible Henry: Daaaaad!
Me: I know, I know, Hank. No half-decent fella’s gonna want this old coot! But, dammit son, just so you know that I would drink the ocean and fart out the Rockies for you. I mean that. There is no God in Heaven and no Devil in Hell who could ever toss lightning strong enough to keep me from loving you. No matter what. I don’t give a damn who you fall in love with, dude.
Me: Just as long as you do.
Maybe if all parents took a lesson plan out of Serge/Amelia/Dave’s parenting book the world would be filled with happier people. Children, old and young, supported by the people who chose to bring them into this world. Parents who love and support their babies NO MATTER WHAT. Because that’s all it’s about, people, that’s all it’s about.