parenting gay kids
If I watched a movie or a TV show where a conversation like that happened, I would probably roll my eyes at the too-perfectness, the fakeness, of it all. But it did happen, and it made my kid's first day of middle school awesome.
I can't keep my kid "safe." I couldn't if he was straight either. Because life isn't safe. No matter what I do, life will keep happening, and we have to adjust. I can't let my worry keep him from being happy, having fun and figuring out dance to "Up Town Funk" on crutches.
"Some parents get sad and angry when their kids are gay. They have a really hard time with it." "Yeah," he said, "but why is it hard?" I struggled. "Not all mommies love their babies the way I love you."
Would people be cool or major jerk faces? We had to be prepared for the worst without letting him know what was going through our minds. We have always felt there was nothing wrong with him, and we weren't about to make him think that had changed now.
We all know how this script is supposed to go: Gay kid gets teased and bullied. Gay kid feels demeaned and ashamed. Gay kid maybe gets beaten up. Gay kid runs off to lick his wounds and feel horrible about himself. Gay kid feels alone. But not this time. This time the gay kid, my gay kid, fought back. And the bully ran away.
Sure, by the numbers, assuming people are straight is a safe bet. Most people are. But assumptions are dangerous. This particular assumption implies to my son that there is something wrong him for being other than straight. And there's not. He should be exactly who he is.
Here was the ultimate mom test. Was I the real deal? At this crucial moment, probably the most important one of my life, my mind had shut down, and I'd lost my voice. I'd expected to perform much better. This had been a D-minus at best.
You'd think that by the time my son Harry turned 4 years old in 1994, I would have learned how to handle Halloween. A guilt ghoul swallowed me whole the first time my boy wanted to go trick-or-treating dressed as a girl. But, no, some lessons don't come easy.