“It’s like you’re hoping he will be gay or something, don’t force that on him.” That’s an actual quote that someone said to me about my son recently. Ok, i’ll backtrack a little. If you have a cute baby, (which I like to think I do) people will often tell you things like “Oh he’s gonna be a heartbreaker, all the girls will be chasing after him.” Which I often respond to by saying “Or all the boys, or both, or neither.” I’m not being argumentative or using my son as a tool in the fight for equal rights for the lgbtq community, though I’ve been accused of both. What I’m trying to do is raise my child in a way that doesn’t push cisgender heterosexuality as the norm. When someone grows up being taught that they have to be traditionally gendered and their sexuality has to be straight they are full of guilt and frustration among other emotions if they start realizing that they don’t fit into those categories. On top of that even if my son does grow up to be a straight man, I don’t want him to ever say nay to someone who isn’t cisgender and straight because I taught him that is what is normal. Normal is in the eye of the beholder. I want my son to not blink an eye when he meets someone with two moms or meets someone who changes their gender depending on the day. I don’t want him to be a bigot and I don’t want him to treat lgbtq people like they are some sort of interesting freak show either.
For me it is a bit personal as well, I self identify as pan-sexual regardless of the fact that i’m married to a man, that’s still who I am. But it truly goes beyond my identification. It’s not our job as parents to raise a child that fits into what is “normal”. It’s our job to raise children that make the world a kinder place, to raise children that will one day redefine what “normal” is. For example; I refer to my son as a boy and dress him in fairly “masculine” clothes because he hasn’t yet expressed he wants to do otherwise. But if he asks to be called Leslie and wear tutus one day then that’s what we will do. In the meantime I let him play with his purple kitchen and wear his pink shirt. In the meantime, I refuse to let other people brainwash my son into believing that you have to be cisgender and straight to be normal. He can be what he wants as long as he isn’t disrespecting those that are different from him. Heck, if he needs to experiment and change who and what he wants to be every day, that’s fine too.
If someone doesn’t like that I’m teaching my child about the variations of normal in gender and sexuality, that’s their problem not mine. I don’t ever want my son to be that teenager on the news who committed suicide because he didn’t feel like he isn’t accepted for who he is. Just as importantly, I never want my son to be one of the bullies who pushed that teenager into suicide. Everything you say and do is being absorbed by your kid, so let’s make sure what we are saying and doing matches up with what we believe. Let’s not let people with questionable morals or old fashioned beliefs make us feel bad about the loving and accepting children we are raising. Hate is a taught concept, let’s teach love instead.