This year, President Barack Obama has declared June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month in an effort to eliminate discrimination. As a parent, I have already tried to raise my boys to be aware of a LGBT lifestyle in an age appropriate manner. How do I do this? We talk about how families are different, some families include grandparents living with them, some have two mommies, some have two daddies and some couples decide to not have children.
Why is this important to me as a heterosexual parent?
I have two young children and never want them to question whether they will lose my love if they are LGBT. Adolescents who identify themselves as LGBT are significantly more likely to be depressed and/or attempt suicide. LGBT youth are also more frequent victims of bullying, harassment and assault. I would not want my children to ever fear parental rejection on top of what society heaps on them.
Last year I wrote about my reaction and internal thoughts when Word Boy (then 3 years old) asked to wear a dress. In the past year, his princess dress has sat unused in the closet except for one occasion. His favorite color is now red instead of pink. He spends more time pretending to be a Jedi or a ninja or even husband to a stuffed animal he has than wears a princess dress. I have discovered that what Word Boy likes is wearing costumes of all types and acting out various roles. I am honored that he is confident to express himself so freely with no fear of censure from me.
I want to raise children that are happy, confident and secure. In doing so, I admit that they will make choices that are different than I would make. I will keep them safe to the best of my ability. There is much I cannot control and their sexuality falls into that area. This does stop me from worrying, but I do not want to project my worries or fears on to them. I might worry that being LGBT is a “harder” lifestyle choice for them, but I cannot make that decision for them.
I also hope that in raising children free of LGBT discrimination and with acceptance means that they will not bully others for those reasons. As a straight ally, I hope I can increase LGBT acceptance by at least two people.