If you’re a parent, you’ve undoubtedly heard plenty of stories of kids coming out to their parents that they are gay or lesbian. Some of them have been amusing, others endearing, and some, unfortunately, have been heartbreaking. Parents have responded with humour, with understanding, and with fear and loathing. Some parents have gone so far as to disown their children and kick them out of the house. That won’t happen in my house, but I’ll tell you that there also won’t be any “coming out” either.
Posts Tagged ‘gay’
A few weeks ago, my daughter came home with a list of topics and an assignment to do some sort of project about something related to San Francisco history. She had been instructed to pick one that her parents knew about so she could get help with it. I scanned the list of possible subjects and spotted The Gay Rights Movement. That was a no-brainer. I grew up in San Francisco and remember the assassination of Harvey Milk as if it were yesterday. I spent a lot of time — for a straight kid with straight parents — in the Castro because it was close to where I had rehearsals and not too far from the Opera House. It was a neat place to hang out on the way home. So, it seemed obvious which topic would be best. After all, what do I know about cable cars?
In 2004, newly elected mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom threw away his political future when he directed the county clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to all couples, regardless of their genders. This kicked the fight for marriage equality into high gear and here we are, almost ten years later, and we are well on our way to universal marriage equality in this country. And that’s not acceptable. Or, rather, it’s not enough.
Well, J.C. Penney is at it again. They’re trying to destroy the very fabric of our society, causing social upheaval, widespread misery, and universal damnation. Yep, they’re running a father’s day ad with real-life dads in it. Two of ’em, to be exact. But how is that any different from the hordes of other advertisements we’ll be subjected to over the next couple of weeks as we work our way towards Dad’s day? It’s because the couple in question is just that — a couple.
Marriage is an abstract concept that, frankly, most young children don’t fully understand. For them, it’s usually good enough to know that when grown-ups love each other very much and want to be a family together, they get often get married. There’s no need to discuss the tax implications or workplace benefits or hospital visitation rights with a three-year-old. But is it necessary to limit the concept to the traditional one-man-one-woman definition just because you’re talking to a three-year-old? Even if you, personally, are okay with the idea of same-sex marriage? Even if you live in a country where same-sex marriage is legal? Lisa van de Geyn, writing in Today’s Parent, seems to think so, because talking about same-sex marriage is hard.
It shouldn’t be news, actually. Foster kids get adopted all the time. Not as often as we’d all like, certainly, but it does happen. So why would anyone care that Martin Gill adopted his two foster children? Gill was the boys’ foster parent for 6 years before the adoption became final on Wednesday. But it’s not so much the adoption itself that’s noteworthy but the route Gill took to get there. You see, Martin Gill is gay and, until recently, Florida was the only state in the nation with a law on the books that barred homosexuals from adopting. That is no longer the case, thanks to Gill and the ACLU.
Four years ago, the city of Philadelphia realized that they were giving a huge subsidy to a community organization to help them serve the citizens of the City of Brotherly Love even though that group systematically discriminated against a large part of the population. So the city told the Boy Scouts of America’s Cradle of Liberty council that they would either have to change their anti-LGBT policies or begin paying fair-market rent for the city-owned, half-acre property that the group had been using as their headquarters for nearly 80 years. Not surprisingly, the Boy Scouts didn’t like that.
There aren’t too many Halloween costumes I would forbid my kids from choosing. The more horrific costumes and characters are out, as are overtly sexual ones. Other than that, however, pretty much anything goes. I also have no problem with the kids crossing gender lines, if they so desire. My youngest loves putting on his older sister’s outgrown princess costumes and ballet skirts. I don’t have any problem with that, nor do a lot of other parents — including one who went so far as to write a book on the subject.
The junior high and high school years are a time when kids are figuring out who they are and who they will become. It’s important that we support them in that endeavor and make sure they know they are loved and accepted no matter what path they choose for themselves. It’s also important that their school — teachers, administrators, and fellow students — take an active role in that support. That’s why it’s especially heinous when a school does something like what happened in the Fort Smith School District in Arkansas.
Teachers teach their students a lot more than just the three Rs of reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic. They teach kids to have confidence and to try new things. They get kids to strive for excellence and accept loss gracefully. Teachers teach kids how to interact with others, both by telling them directly and by setting an example. In short, teachers teach kids about the real world. Except, perhaps, in Beaverton, Oregon where the real world apparently must be cleaned up and sanitized before telling the precious little snowflakes about it.