Wednesday, 27 July 2011
My nine-year old son was sitting at the table one day, looked up at me and said completely out of the blue, "Mum, I would HATE to be gay."
I was furious. I sat down with him, ready for a long discussion about equal rights and injustice and tolerance and ignorance. No child of mine was going to be homophobic goddamit. I don't know if it's right or wrong to enforce your own personal beliefs on to your children. I try to let them have their own views, give them space to make up their own assumptions about things.
But I was not letting him get up from that table until he got a crash course in respect and kindness. Until I had full assurance that he was not growing up homophobic. No kid of mine is going to be a homophobe. GODDAMIT.
Calmly, but with my head racing, I asked him why he said that. Was it because his dad and older brother are such macho manly men? Did he see something on TV? Goddamit.
He stopped his drawing, looked at me and said, "Well, because, if I was gay .... I would have to hide it."
My heart. Oh.
We sat there for a while in silence. Wrapping my head around the fact that not only was my son not being homophobic at all, he was coming from a place of empathy. He already knows that to be gay would be problematic. I thought of all of the children in his school ... there would be a percentage of them that ARE gay. And know that they are gay, and they would feel ashamed. Struggling to hide their Truth.
That's just so bloody sad.
I love gay people - specifically "out" gay people. I think it's because, they have struggled a lot to get where they are. People who go through struggles in their life, are often remarkable. They know themselves. They're battle-weary. They're deeper.
I told Max that yes, it would be hard to be gay, wouldn't it? But if he ever finds out that somebody is gay, to understand and never tease or judge them. He looked at me like I was an idiot. "Pfft! Of course I wouldn't do that, mum!"
And then I thought some more. "And, sweetheart ... if you were to ever tell me that you were gay? I would not care one bit. I love you so much, and ..."
"MUM. I'm not gay, I was just telling you something."
"Imagine if Rocco was gay! He would be the toughest gay guy in the world."
And we both laughed, because Rocco WOULD be the toughest gay guy around. Totes butch.
If any of my sons were gay, I would wave the rainbow flag from the highest rafter. I would beg to be in their float at mardis gras, I would hold dinner parties for all of their friends, and I would embrace them all with my whole heart. I would want to walk them down the aisle at their wedding. I would want them to be allowed to have a wedding.
This is my favourite "It gets better" video, from the wonder people at Pixar. The guy at 5 minutes and 35 seconds? Oh my god. I wonder how his mum reacted when he came out. I hope she loved him as fiercely as the love I felt for him when I first watched this.
I know some brillant bloggers, who happen to be gay. I adore Rick from the Ambiguity Report, Maybe. I'll be spending some time with St Murphy this weekend and I can't WAIT.
I think most of all, if one of my kids came home and told me he was gay, I would feel instant sorrow. For the stupid straight world is hard to live in ... they'd be facing a lot of real-live ignorance and hate from stupid people. Life's hard enough, man.