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"You see, there is a gay agenda. It’s true."
April 3, 2014 1:21 PM   Subscribe


 
Re #4, I don't understand that and always couch what might happen with kids in an open-ended way. When you grow up and meet the man or lady you'd like to marry is not a thing one should avoid saying.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:31 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]


I think the point with #4 is that unless the kid is asking "who will I marry", there's no need to bring it up.

I mean, maybe the kid will grow up to be happily single and never get married.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:35 PM on April 3 [7 favorites]


This seems to be overthinking things. A lot.

"Some kids have two daddies. Some kids have a mommy and a daddy. Some kids have two mommies. Some kids have only one parent. Some kids live with their grandma."

Really, this seems like one of the least difficult "stuff young kids ask" questions to tackle.
posted by schmod at 1:42 PM on April 3 [32 favorites]


I'm 100 percent convinced that the author of this article was a puppet in my childhood.
posted by janey47 at 1:46 PM on April 3


I wasn't hugely nuts about number five, either; "If your kid does ask you to speculate, you can tell them they’ll 'probably' be straight." I mean, you can, sure, but I think it would be better and easier to say "Well, sweetheart, I don't know, all I know is that we will love you very much no matter what." I don't think anything is gained by telling your kid they'll probably be straight.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:47 PM on April 3 [14 favorites]


Really, this seems like one of the least difficult "stuff young kids ask" questions to tackle.

Yeah, but nevertheless some people do get all tied up in knots about it. People tend to get all uneasy when they're asked something that has to do with sex, especially if it has to do with a field of sex that they themselves don't really know too much about. So people can take weird approaches to "how do we answer the question".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:48 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


nevertheless some people do get all tied up in knots about it.

Yeah, I agree that having a script for this is useful just so that you've thought about it ahead of time and have your phrasing worked out. I don't agree with everything he suggests but I definitely think it's worth knowing what you're going to say, if only so you can say it smoothly and make it clear it's not a big deal instead of stopping and turning the question into an Event.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:51 PM on April 3


> 6. Remember the magic phrase, "Everyone ends up with the right parents for them."

So abused children deserve it? WTF? What a horrible message.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:52 PM on April 3 [47 favorites]


Not massively fond of #6 either, reading it again. People approach explaining surrogate mothers and birth mothers in a very wide variety of ways, of which "that woman is not the mommy" is among my least favourite. And children, adopted or not, very much do not universally end up with the right parents for them.

I do not have warm and fuzzy feelings about this man.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:54 PM on April 3 [12 favorites]


I really disliked this. I can't put my finger on why, exactly, except that I think there's probably really good advice for a (gay) parent to give about how (straight) parents can talk to their kids about gay parents, but this isn't it.

It seems silly that I even have to say this, but when some people think about homosexuality and kids, they imagine that you’re suggesting they graphically describe intercourse to kindergarteners.

Who? Who are those people? It DOES seem silly for him to "have to" say that, because, I mean, it's just a really stupid thing to say.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:58 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]


that everyone ends up with the right parents for them

No, don't say this.
posted by Bwithh at 2:02 PM on April 3 [11 favorites]


Who? Who are those people? It DOES seem silly for him to "have to" say that, because, I mean, it's just a really stupid thing to say.

All the people who voted for Prop 8. There were a ton of "they'll teach your 5-year-old about homos in school!" ads on TV.
posted by rtha at 2:03 PM on April 3 [24 favorites]


they'll teach your 5-year-old about homos in school!

People keep promising me Nirvana and then not delivering and I'm getting pissed off with this.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:09 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


Seems way more likely that we'll need advice on how to explain bigots to our kids when that comes up.
posted by odinsdream at 2:10 PM on April 3 [8 favorites]


Yeah, along with a number of other commenters the more I think about this the more I dislike it. I think there's a pretty simple script that could replace most of this:

CHILD: What's up with that? (Paraphrased)
PARENT: Well, sweetheart, there are lots of different types of families. That's a family with two daddies who love each other, just like our family has [WHATEVER].

There are additional complexities and if you want to add stuff like "but even though their family looks different from ours, they still love each other very much, just like I love you!" go for it, but when it comes down to it, I think there's a simple and straightforward answer to this. This doesn't need to be a big deal.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 2:13 PM on April 3 [5 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: "People tend to get all uneasy when they're asked something that has to do with sex, especially if it has to do with a field of sex that they themselves don't really know too much about. "

I'm pretty sure that you can sufficiently answer this question without delving into the mechanics of sexual intercourse.

It's surprisingly tangential to the "Where do babies come from" question.

So, I guess the question does require a little bit of thought. My advice would be "Talk about how all families are a little bit different, and don't bring up the sex stuff to a 4-year-old."
posted by schmod at 2:17 PM on April 3


I am heartened by the number of people who don't like this because they think it is (or should be) unnecessary because it's just not that big a deal.

But it is a big deal to a lot of people. Even people who are not raging homophobes don't know how and are really uncomfortable talking about this, especially to their kids. They are the potential audience for this, not those of us for whom this really is not a big deal.
posted by rtha at 2:24 PM on April 3 [22 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that you can sufficiently answer this question without delving into the mechanics of sexual intercourse.

I know that, and you know that. There are indeed people who don't know that, though, or may panic and think they should be talking about that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:25 PM on April 3


This is the story of my life. I am a gay dad, and I confuse children
I have long hair and a beard, and I confuse children.
Whilst not wishing to belittle the man's experience, children are quite easy to confuse.
posted by fullerine at 2:32 PM on April 3 [36 favorites]


Except that the sort of people who believe this is impossible to explain to a 4-year-old are also the sort of people who do not actually believe that it is okay that there are other kinds of families, do not actually believe that that other kid's two daddies love him just as much as they love their child, do not actually believe that being gay has to do with anything other than one's desire for certain sex acts. Their problem is that they do not know how to explain to a small child that something is evil-because-sex without discussing the sex, because the kid might otherwise think this is normal and healthy, what with their only exposure being generally to people who seem normal and healthy.

People who are totally okay with gay dads do not really have trouble explaining gay dads to their kids.
posted by Sequence at 2:33 PM on April 3 [14 favorites]


Once in a kindergarten, long ago, a group of five year olds, and one precocious four and a half year old came to the stunning conclusion that all mommies had to be white. Their logic for this was that all the mommies they knew were white, including the mommy of the one African American kid in the class. They conferred and even the African American kid agreed that this presumption was true based on the overwhelming evidence.

When they presented this new truth to their teacher, she patiently explained that mommies and daddies and families can come in all colors, sizes, and shapes. Just because all of our mommies happened to be white, didn't make it true in the rest of the world. In fact, she carefully explained, "Just because it's all you've ever seen, doesn't mean it's true. It may be that you just haven't had the chance to see it yet."

Then we watched an episode of Sesame Street and we realized that Maria was a mom and not white and so was Gordon's wife, Susan.
posted by teleri025 at 2:36 PM on April 3 [34 favorites]


Look, no toddler has asked me to explain same sex unions, but I imagine the conversation to go more like this:

TODDLER: What's up with that?
JANEY: Looks to me like two adults in a loving relationship who welcome and love their children. You have a mommy and a daddy and those kids have two daddys, but aren't we all lucky that we're in loving families, since not every child gets such a heaven on earth.
TODDLER: No, I meant, what's up with that big choo choo train coming up the track?
JANEY: All of life is a parade toward death.
posted by janey47 at 2:49 PM on April 3 [167 favorites]


sequence, my ultimate point is that "how do you explain gay people to your kids" sounds like a no-brainer to us, but that doesn't mean that it's a no-brainer to everyone. There are a lot of reasons why people may indeed not know what the hell to answer their kids' questions - they may have their own hangups, they may think "gay is teh evul", they may just be uncomfortable talking about sex in general - and for them, these are difficult questions to be asked and to answer.

The fact that we are reading these and thinking "well, duh" is just a comment on how generally awesome Mefites are.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:51 PM on April 3 [4 favorites]


Who? Who are those people? It DOES seem silly for him to "have to" say that, because, I mean, it's just a really stupid thing to say.

Well, I recently read an article about the St. Patrick's Day conflagration where at least a third of the (hundreds of) comments were some variation on "but St. P's is a family event! how would you explain what being gay is to little kids?! can't you just let them be innocent?" Most of them went on at great length about how they did not consider themselves homophobic, usually phrased as "I have no problem with what adults do in the bedroom" (which, well, let's not get started down that road), and some of them even claimed to support gay marriage. And this was a nominally non-partisan news site, not Drudge or Freep or anything. So while we're insulated from that viewpoint somewhat on MeFi (fortunately for me, or I probably wouldn't be as active here) it still seems to be very prevalent if you live in the USA.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:55 PM on April 3 [10 favorites]


I've done this with my five year old, and the "that child has two daddies, you have a daddy and mommy, some families have two mommies" worked fine for her. She doesn't need more info, she's five. All she needs to know is those people care for and love their child.

But the use of the word "gay" seems off to me as a straight dad. I get the "let's get rid of the stigma" aspect, but this seems to open up a big can that I'm not always going to be around to help steer, and the five year old is not (well not mine) going to have the confidence to defend it with a "so what" on the playground. I could absolutely be wrong, but that just seems like a bad idea. The important part to me seems the love, not the label.
posted by Big_B at 2:56 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


And now I think maybe I'm straightsplaining or something there. Apologies if it's construed that way.
posted by Big_B at 2:57 PM on April 3


JANEY: All of life is a parade toward death.

Spit laugh, loud cough, louder guffaw, coworkers accusatory stares: I love metafilter (and Janey47).
posted by MoxieProxy at 2:57 PM on April 3 [8 favorites]


Seems way more likely that we'll need advice on how to explain bigots to our kids when that comes up.

Seriously, I could use some help with this, particularly when the bigots in question are the parents of her school friends.
posted by KathrynT at 3:00 PM on April 3 [10 favorites]


I too have acquired a huge crush on janey47...and a tea-sprayed keyboard.
posted by blurker at 3:00 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]


Seriously, I could use some help with this, particularly when the bigots in question are the parents of her school friends.

"Some people are just assholes."
posted by Jacqueline at 3:02 PM on April 3 [4 favorites]


Seriously, I could use some help with this, particularly when the bigots in question are the parents of her school friends.
Honey, some people are just dumb as shit.
posted by fullerine at 3:03 PM on April 3 [8 favorites]


Who? Who are those people? It DOES seem silly for him to "have to" say that, because, I mean, it's just a really stupid thing to say.

To clarify, my sense was he was saying that talking to kids about gay couples necessarily means, for some people, explaining gay sex to them. (Which seems bizarre to me. Surely even the most squicked-by-gay parents could come up with an explanation that doesn't involve describing sex acts.)

I wasn't asserting that there aren't people out there for whom the totality of being gay = participating in sinful gay sex. Those people exist, certainly, but I didn't feel like they were necessarily relevant to the points he was trying and failing to make.

I may have mistaken his meaning. In any case, it was just an easy thing to pick out of the article. I hated most of the rest of it too, and could have just as easily chosen another quote.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:07 PM on April 3


mudpuppie, but that's exactly what I'm saying - many of the people I'm talking about in that thread appeared to believe precisely that talking about gay people at all is at least a PG-13 activity because you can't explain the existence of gay people to children without going into inappropriately sexual detail. I agree, it makes no sense, but there you go, a real belief that lots of people seem to have.

I don't think anything is gained by telling your kid they'll probably be straight.

I don't know, this seems fine to me, though I think because of the pressure for gay people to avoid even a glimmer of an appearance of "recruiting," he probably would have gotten reamed alive if he didn't make sure to emphasize that being straight is by far the most common option. But at the same time, it's certainly an honest answer that most people are straight, and I can't see how it hurts to tell a child that (unless it comes with a lot of uglier stuff).
posted by en forme de poire at 3:12 PM on April 3


5. If your kid does ask you to speculate, you can tell them they’ll “probably” be straight.

I am glad he has a blog so he can process his thoughts and feelings but I think this is not great advice. I never ran into such a situation but I think I would have said something like "Gee, we don't know and I don't care and you can figure it out when you are old enough for such things to matter" or something like that. My oldest claims to be asexual and he is sometimes mistaken for female, which he kind of has fun with much of the time (though, yes, sometimes jerks yell "homo" or "fag" or something out of their car window -- car people are notoriously obnoxious to pedestrians). When he was about 16, he commented once on how he kind of presents as mildly effeminate and I said something like "Yeah, I know." or whatever. It was one of the few times in his life I surprised him and he exclaimed "You really are very accepting."

Both my sons have said that if one of them came to me and confessed to being gay, I would be upset about it for having failed to realize it on my own. I am fairly socially observant and I would be upset to learn that my radar was broken about something relative "big" about someone very close to me. The actual gay thing? They know I so don't care. I just don't. Love who you want. It's really not my business.

So I hope that over the time the author will get more comfortable with perpetually weirding people out and get more to a place of being able to say "meh" about it and suggest that others do the same. janey47 is right about what most kids would really be asking. It's mostly adults who are all "O.M.G. Two dudes. (get panties in a wad) Whatever shall I say?" or whatever. (Yes, some adults really and truly get all weird about things like "But butt sex is unnatural!" and then don't have an answer if you tell them "There are hetero men who like butt sex. They just do it with women." and do think you have to talk about BUTT SEX to explain GAYNESS or some nonsense.)
posted by Michele in California at 3:12 PM on April 3 [6 favorites]


I know the whenever I explain anything to children I make sure to include as much graphic sexual detail as possible. Like if a toddler asks about step-parents or a widower, I explain that he had to find someone new to have sex with because having sex with a corpse isn't polite or legal in this state.
posted by The Whelk at 3:25 PM on April 3 [33 favorites]


This article's advice for the most part seemed on-point, but I was seriously thrown by

You could also use the word “queer”, I guess, but then your kids and I will just think you’re a pretentious dweeb.

which strikes me as pretty reactionary. I get that not everyone's on board with that term for a variety of reasons, but "it makes you sound like a dweeb" seems like a pretty shitty reason when many people have made it clear that the reasoning for using "queer" is to be more inclusive and less binary about gender and sexuality. Does caring about that really make someone a pretentious dweeb? Harshness!
posted by zeusianfog at 3:30 PM on April 3 [10 favorites]


I think anyone who feels confused about this topic should really do some serious private self reflection. Even if on the surface you "don't have a problem with gays", if it doesn't occur to you that a kid with 2 daddies simply has 2 loving parents of the same gender then I don't know what to tell you.
posted by bleep at 3:36 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Re: explaining bigots, my (5.75 year old) daughter divides the world into 'kindies' and 'meanies'.

It is a surprisingly versatile taxonomy.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:40 PM on April 3 [21 favorites]


I know the whenever I explain anything to children I make sure to include as much graphic sexual detail as possible. Like if a toddler asks about step-parents or a widower, I explain that he had to find someone new to have sex with because having sex with a corpse isn't polite or legal in this state.

A lot of people just seriously do not know how to deal constructively with such questions (I mean any question that implies sexual anything). This is likely why we have explanations like "the stork brought you." The sex part is in their mind and they just don't know how to focus on the loving relationship part (or whatever).

And it's a valid concern. I taught my kids that "affection has to be mutual" and never talked to them about "bad touching" because I fundamentally disagree with some of the standard advice on how to protect kids from pedophiles. One woman told me they taught the kid to scream if anyone other than (short list of trusted people) tried to touch their private parts. Kid dutifully screamed at the doctor's office when given some kind of completely appropriate exam. You do open up a can of worms by association if you do not have well thought replies to how to address awkward questions, what part needs to be addressed, how it needs to be addressed, etc.

So I applaud this guy's effort to think it through and put it into words. I just think he has a long ways to go before he has really elegant answers. That's all.
posted by Michele in California at 3:40 PM on April 3 [4 favorites]


As a parent, I always figured that if I wanted to raise a child with an open mind and heart, a very basic way to do this from early on would be to make it clear that other families were different from her own. So Wee Mew had a toy dog with a single mommy and a toy squid with two daddies and a toy horse being raised in some sort of intentional community or kibbutz or poly family that was constantly growing because Wee Mew had figured out that the parental logic that many hands make light domestic work for this family could be drawn on to advocate for the acquisition of more and more toy horses. . .

Kids whose families are LGBT+ or their allies have no problem understanding family diversity from age pipsqueak because their parents don't wait for the awkward moment when their child has just starting pointing at some same-sex parents and going, "Look! That's weird! Look!" to consider addressing the topic. So they don't need this guide.

On the other hand, as others have noted above, homophobic opponents of same-sex marriage don't know how to handle a situation in which their child sees some happy family with same-sex parents, because they associate homosexuality with selfish sexual perversity, and neither kinky sex nor selfish antifamilism are being displayed. But being homophobes, they won't be interested in this guide.

I'm frankly not sure what audience the author of this blog means to address, but apparently some uncomfortable median between LGBT-supportive people and overt homophobes. And his advice seems to me to be constructed to get these homo-queasy people on board. "Don't worry! By telling your kids that those were gay dads and that's ok, you won't be making your kid queer or telling him this is really normal! You can still tell him he'll be an all-American, chick-lovin' dude when he grows up!"

Maybe there is some substantial audience of heterosexist-but-not-horribly-homophobic audience out there that would actually use this advice, I don't really know. But I'm not this blogger's intended audience, and I find his advice squicky.
posted by DrMew at 3:48 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]


To clarify, my sense was he was saying that talking to kids about gay couples necessarily means, for some people, explaining gay sex to them. (Which seems bizarre to me. Surely even the most squicked-by-gay parents could come up with an explanation that doesn't involve describing sex acts.)

My mom had this friend, someone I'd known most of my life at that point (I was in college when this story took place), who was over for thanksgiving dinner when I was home on break; I was talking about about having gone to DC to see the AIDS quilt and she said "Can't those people think about anything that isn't about sex?" Because to her, I guess, quilts+gays=sex. She was a literary scholar who studied people like Joyce and Stein, and she had a lot of gay friends and colleagues. But apparently anything gay also automatically meant it had to be about sex. People like this exist.
posted by rtha at 3:48 PM on April 3 [8 favorites]


(get panties in a wad)

Eh?
posted by five fresh fish at 4:01 PM on April 3


It's an expression that means "get bent all out of shape" or "wrapped around the axel". I guess I felt it fit the topic.

Is that what you wanted to know?
posted by Michele in California at 4:02 PM on April 3


"Just because it's all you've ever seen, doesn't mean it's true. It may be that you just haven't had the chance to see it yet."

In my experience, this lesson is helpful to cover in almost every field of study from kindergarten right on up through graduate school.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:07 PM on April 3 [6 favorites]


But apparently anything gay also automatically meant it had to be about sex. People like this exist.

What always confused me about the whole oversexed-gay-male trope was the weird double standard. It's like, have you ever met a straight dude?
posted by echocollate at 4:14 PM on April 3 [13 favorites]


You could also use the word “queer”, I guess, but then your kids and I will just think you’re a pretentious dweeb.

This is not helping my efforts to take back the word "dweeb."
posted by darksasami at 4:17 PM on April 3 [10 favorites]




Is that what you wanted to know?

Seems like an awfully loaded term. Why panties? What does the sex, gender, or kink of the subject have to do with it? It's a phrase that to me sticks out weird, especially in a thread about sex-ish issues.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:38 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


"Don't get your knickers in a twist" is the UK version of this and was always either homophobic (when directed at men) or misogynistic (when directed at women).

Probably why you don't really hear it much any more, except when Philip Glennister is doing his thing.
posted by fullerine at 4:52 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


"Don't get your knickers in a twist" is the UK version of this and was always either homophobic (when directed at men) or misogynistic (when directed at women).

That is certainly not my experience. It's a jocular exhortation of calm, like:

Don't get your tits in a tangle
Unjammary your mammaries
Hakuna your Ma-tatas
posted by Sebmojo at 5:00 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


"Don't get your knickers in a twist" is the UK version of this

Don't get your knickers in a twist has a male pairing: relax your kecks (meaning trousers). Both are in equally common parlance here and bother me not at all.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:03 PM on April 3 [4 favorites]


I'm frankly not sure what audience the author of this blog means to address, but apparently some uncomfortable median between LGBT-supportive people and overt homophobes.

People who want to know what to tell their young children when they ask about gay parents, from the (relatively authoritative) perspective of a parent who is gay? Seems straightforward.

It's not a Voight-Kampff test for social justice hipsters.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:17 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]


No, and a whoooole bunch of the country - including ALL OF OUR MOMS - lives in that median.
posted by ftm at 5:22 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Someone's jimmies are rustled.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:27 PM on April 3 [5 favorites]


What always confused me about the whole oversexed-gay-male trope was the weird double standard. It's like, have you ever met a straight dude?

That goes hand in hand with the trope you've never heard someone be like "well everybody knows guys are horny that's why gay dudes are all about the sex?" Or "It must be great being gay, because you get laid all the time hurr hurr?"
posted by atoxyl at 5:53 PM on April 3


5. If your kid does ask you to speculate, you can tell them they’ll “probably” be straight.

I've been out for over 20 years and my dad is still telling me this.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:01 PM on April 3 [12 favorites]


> 6. Remember the magic phrase, "Everyone ends up with the right parents for them."

So abused children deserve it? WTF? What a horrible message.


Everybody is going off on this one - it could be better phrased but come on, he's just trying to say something reassuring in the context of a conversation about different family structures, not to permanently deny the possibility that bad parents exist.
posted by atoxyl at 6:12 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


I went to grade school with a girl who had two moms.

The older of the two moms knew my mom from a local knitting circle thing. Maybe it was because it was the late '70s, maybe it was that it was Minneapolis, maybe it's that I'm getting old real quick and I want to romanticize this, but I don't remember anybody bringing anything up at all.
posted by Sphinx at 6:44 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]


come on, he's just trying to say something reassuring in the context of a conversation about different family structures

Out of seven points, one is: Remember the magic phrase, "Everyone ends up with the right parents for them." It adds nothing, it means nothing, and you might as well say "Santa has two dads." Something like "Lots of families look different from one another; who do we know in your class who has a family different than ours?" might be a better approach.

There is nothing wrong with being on board with what he was trying to do here, but there is similarly nothing wrong with pointing out that he's not doing a very good job of it.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:46 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


Okay, so, when you speak about this to your kids then just say something else.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:27 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


It's not a Voight-Kampff test for social justice hipsters.

Holden: The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over. But it can't. Not without your help. But you're not questioning your implicit privilege from the kyriarchy coding you as bipedal.

Leon: Whaddaya mean I'm not questioning my privilege?

Holden: I mean you're not questioning your privilege! Why is that, Leon?
posted by strangely stunted trees at 7:28 PM on April 3 [15 favorites]


Out of seven points, one is: Remember the magic phrase, "Everyone ends up with the right parents for them." It adds nothing, it means nothing

I have to agree. That is one of those lies we tell to children that we should be more thoughtful about. It is untrue and unhelpful, and potentially quite harmful. The just world hypothesis does not need shoring up from authority figures.
posted by misfish at 7:30 PM on April 3 [6 favorites]


The sex stuff does come up though with some little kids who are really fascinated by the idea that there are different bodies and that babies can come out of bodies doing Mysterious Stuff. 3-5 is about the age when you have the first of the birds & bees talks with kids, and it's pretty common to be matter of fact and sciency about it to reduce shame and make sure the kid is aware that their body is their own, etc. I had to explain to my 2 year old who got scabies on her butt that the doctor is allowed to look at her butt with mummy's permission, because she has a very short list of people who are OK to look at her diaper area, and is suddenly very private outside the house (a relief after the "let's keep clothes on while we're outside" struggle), and I remember having to explain where babies come from and that two boys or girls kissing will not make a baby, etc, to my son when he was small. They just shrugged and went okay, but it is a logical outcome to some kids who ask a ton of questions, and if you're not prepared and comfortable, you could end up stammering out some really dumb things - my husband got relieved from the Sex Talk duty when he ended up explaining that condoms were like straws. Or something.

So if you have hang ups about gay sex (or sex really, given that there is so much overlap between gay and straight sex), they're going to loom large when you are faced with explaining gay love to a kid who has recently learned that Mommies and Daddies who love each other very much have a special hug, or whatever version you're teaching your kid, because a chunk of those kids are going to make the leap to gay love = babies/sex as well and be honestly curious.

A lot of parents would rather avoid any sex talk and gay relationships are still unusual enough to prompt curiosity from kids. Big overlap between homophobic parents and uptight parents, but it's not a strawman argument, "How do I explain gay sex to my kids??"
posted by viggorlijah at 7:54 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


From the article:

Then the dad stands up, walks a little further down the platform and kisses… another man.

Well, that’s different.


Well, that's, uh, not different if you know some queer people?
posted by threeants at 8:31 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


I guess the audience for this does seem to mostly be people who don't really have any exposure in their personal lives to out same-sex couples.
posted by threeants at 8:33 PM on April 3


Also I'm really not sure young children have a good handle on what probability means, so I have trouble believing that "you'll probably end up straight" doesn't sound like "you should end up straight" to a five-year-old.
posted by threeants at 8:40 PM on April 3 [8 favorites]


Seems way more likely that we'll need advice on how to explain bigots to our kids when that comes up.

Seriously. 4-year old children are pretty much the most open-minded people I know. Bigots confused my kids a lot worse than gay couples, and I've been at a loss to describe why homophobes feel the way they do a lot more than I have been explaining why two people love each other. Fortunately, during my daughter's early childhood, there was a couple around the caving community that she knew from pretty much infancy -- they were just Jean & Viv, & they were just married, and we loved them very much because they are wonderful people. Nothing else needed to be said whatsoever.

Why a bunch of strangers might hate Jean and Viv was a much harder conversation.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:51 PM on April 3 [8 favorites]


Something like "Lots of families look different from one another; who do we know in your class who has a family different than ours?" might be a better approach.

I think he's trying to say is more along the lines of - "your friends and classmates may have different kinds of families are different but *don't worry* they're just as good as any other kind of family."

I actually agree he's not doing a superb job and putting this in a weird way so let me be more productive and ask - metafilter people, how you would express this sentiment and *also* how you would you address the reality that not all kids have good parents, if you believe that this is important to explain to a child?
posted by atoxyl at 8:54 PM on April 3


If your kid does ask you to speculate, you can tell them they’ll “probably” be straight.

Yeah, the bugs me a little, too. I never said anything more to my daughter than "I hope you find someone who treats you nice and makes you happy." Turns out that someone is named Brittany. Sweet girl, we love her. I hope it lasts.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:59 PM on April 3 [6 favorites]


Oh I know this one! I draw a little punnet square and put love and care on each side. Then I say "Most parents love and care for their kids. Some parents can only love their kid, but because their lives are very difficult, they can't take care of them. They usually ask someone else to help care for their kid. Then there are a very few parents who didn't learn how to love people or something happened to them that broke how they love people, so they don't know how to love their kids even if they can take care of them. Then there some parents who don't love and can't care for their kids, and that's really sad and those kids usually get a second family who will love and care for them."

I think you have to separate loving and caring for kids, and ask them what they think those things mean to them to have them understand.
posted by viggorlijah at 9:06 PM on April 3 [16 favorites]


Holden: I mean you're not questioning your privilege! Why is that, Leon?

I was gonna go with

Holden: ...You see a gay man, Leon. He's sitting next to you...

Leon: Gay? What's that?

Holden: You know what a homosexual is?

Leon: Of course!

Holden: Same thing.

Leon: I've never seen a gay man... But I understand what you mean.

Holden: You lean over and you insult the gay man, Leon.

Leon: Do you make up these questions, Mr. Holden? Or do they write 'em down for you?

Holden: The gay man sits there, his face turning red from the insult you've given him, furrowing his brow trying to think of what to say to you, but he can't. Because you're not his ally.

Leon: What do you mean, I'm not his ally?

Holden: I MEAN YOU'RE NOT HIS ALLY! Why is that, Leon? ... They're just questions, Leon. In answer to your query, they're written down for me. It's a test, designed to provoke a homophobic response... Shall we continue?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:25 PM on April 3 [3 favorites]


"There are two bands of kale chips in front of you, they are the same price, what do you choose your children to snack on before lacrosse practice?"

is this a test if I'm a Replicant or a Lesbian Mother Of Two Mr. Deckard?
posted by The Whelk at 10:08 PM on April 3 [1 favorite]


It's a test, designed to provoke a homophobic response... Shall we continue?. Honey Maid trolls bigots for corporate fun and sales.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:42 PM on April 3


Re the "audience" question: I kind of suspect he has not thought this through real thoroughly. I don't think this is really designed as professional level writing with a specific audience and specific message in mind. It looks like this is written more to get through his internal process really than to inform, educate, whatever other people. I think this is more "the stuff I fantasize saying to folks who look at me weird and make me uncomfortable but don't because I know those folks would not understand or really care."

I hope over time he ups his game. I did lots of crappy blog writing for a time. You learn as you go. I think he has some good elements here -- an unusual family situation, a desire to educate others rather than just piss and moan about how unfair it is that people look at him funny -- and his writing is not simply terrible (not full of typos, bad grammatical errors, etc). So I think there is potential here for something really good to develop.

An art professor of mine in college who was also a professional artist used to toss out these golden nuggets of wisdom in class. One was "I am the primitive of my own way." When you break new ground, you naturally do it badly, look amateurish, tend to lack polish in the process. That does not mean it should not be done. I guess a current meme similar to that idea is "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly."

So I am glad to see that some folks here are making some of those subtle distinctions and saying, in essence, "He has a good point but he is expressing badly/giving bad advice on how to address the issue." If he sees this discussion, I hope it is a growth experience that enriches his future writing and doesn't leave too many scars. Because, really, I think I understand where he is coming from. I just also think I spent a whole lot of time long ago thinking through similar issues in raising my own kids while recovering from childhood sexual abuse. So some of his remarks look somewhat crude an unpolished to me. Over time, I hope he develops that polish and this becomes a resource to direct people to.
posted by Michele in California at 9:57 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]


Oh I know this one! I draw a little punnet square and put love and care on each side...

Oh wow, that explanation is really great and also, because of that, really sad.
posted by odinsdream at 9:30 AM on April 7


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