Does This Make Me Gay?

If you are looking for gay jokes, get the fuck off of this site. This post, this site, this blogger is not for you.

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My son M is in fourth grade and I don’t have to tell you how cruel, how unkind, how mean kids can be at this age.

Last year when my husband was home, M told him about a game that some kids were playing that he didn’t want to play. The Cheese Touch game from Diary of a Wimpy Kid stems from a scene in the book where the kid who touched an old piece of cheese on the play ground was tainted. He had the cooties.

Ooh. Big deal.

Only my son told my husband those kids weren’t playing Cheese Touch. They were playing Faggot Touch.

Yes, pick up your jaw off the ground. I had to also when I heard this from my husband.

Both my husband and I have many gay and lesbian friends; in fact, his favorite uncle, now deceased, was gay.

My husband told him what that word meant, the hatred in the word, and to avoid the game. M understood but I think, in retrospect, his friends started to drift apart into smaller cliques at that time.

Tonight after his sisters fell asleep, M came to me, held out his hand palm down, and asked me if that made him gay.

Once again I was floored.

“This boy said if you look at your nails like that, that means you are gay.”

Whoa. All I was doing was getting hungry while looking at food pics on Pinterest. I didn’t have to take a deep breath because I was afraid of what I was going to say. I had to take a deep breath because the word GAY in his sphere of friends has taken on a powerfully negative connotation and it seems like there is no stopping it.

It has to stop. But how?

While homophobia is down in the UK, it is not the case here in the United States and obviously not on the playground of the kids’ school.

“Look,” I said. “How you look at your nails does not determine if you are gay or not. The only thing that makes a person gay is if he is a boy and likes other boys or if she is a girl and likes other girls.”

He said, “But what if the boy likes another boy as a friend?”

“That doesn’t make you gay. That makes you friends.”

I went on to remind him that he’s met many of my gay friends but he just didn’t know who was gay and who wasn’t BECAUSE IT DIDN’T MATTER.

IT DOESN’T MATTER.

I don’t make friends based on whether they are straight or gay, their religion (my religious humor is questionable), funny or boring, rich or poor. Though I am always taking applications for funny, rich, and generous friends.

The only people I discriminate against are assholes. Yup, I hate assholes.

But I digress.

This will not be the last time he encounters this. I will bring this up with his teacher but as an educator myself, I have no idea how I would even address this in school. Have you or your kids heard something troubling? What advice did you give? Did you do anything about it? If so, what?

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. All hateful remarks will be deleted.

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8 thoughts on “Does This Make Me Gay?

  1. Some kids and their dumb ass parents need to be punched in the head. I would’t know what to do if this happened to me.

  2. Wow, my jaw has bruises it dropped so hard… such amazing intolerance from kids so young is truly truly frightening, and I also hate to think of where they pick up these ideas and what else they hear at home.

    Here in the Netherlands there are still some die-hard haters but they are fortunately very very few as gay marriage is legal and generally very accepted as “just another long term partnership”

    My kids haven’t had this issue to deal with so neither have I, but we do talk to them that when sometimes people find love with other people and that just because it isn’t the usual boy/girl combination that it’s still love and that that’s what counts in the end.

    Excellent that your son feels he can talk to you and that you are totally open to talking to him honestly, I have no clue what to do next, except to say keep the door of council open so that he can continue to express his thoughts and fears.
    As long as you are the counter balance that brings rationality and calm to the situation then that should hopefully be enough. It’s a tough call when peer pressure in school is obviously so strong, just be there for him.

    I do have faith but personally believe that we face God at the end of our days to answer to a report card on our deeds, our attitudes and how we dealt with anything in the “too hard basket”. That’s where the rubber meets the road. Actions… I don;t think the bible or any other religious script says anywhere that we get brownie points for judging others ourselves. Quite the reverse actually.

    I heard a saying way back that said something like “don’t judge people on colour, race or gender preferences, the world needs all the good people it can get, we should embrace every good person and what they look like or who they prefer should’t matter’ … ok that’s not the exact quote but it is the spirit behind it.
    I agree totally with that spirit.

    i wish I had more advice… maybe just add a HUG? … Kiwi 🙂

    • Hello Kiwi, thank you for your kind words. My husband has been to Europe several times for work (lucky bastard) and doesn’t understand how big of an issue homophobia is here compared to the countries he’s been to. And he has a point.

      I am very thankful though that my son was able to come and talk to me about it. When the first incident happened, he went straight to my husband for advice.

      I freaked out a bit when I first heard it and my husband thinks there are probably even more questionable things that happen at school, that this is only a fraction of what they are talking about.

      Let me add that my son is no saint by any means. Like every child he is not completely innocent. And with that said, I do not all of his friends, let alone this kid, are evil. Kids are picking up stuff from everywhere, whether it is from the racist parent or uncle (let’s face it, everyone’s got one, lol) or a joke from a TV sitcom. It just saddens me that they would place so much importance on the word and are quick to spread it.

      Alma

  3. AMEN! (And I mean that in a loving religious way.) Thanks for your bravery in saying this. Interestingly, I find far more homophobes OUTSIDE the military and much more support for gays inside the military. Why? The answer: education. Military service members always receive training about how to respect people of different religions, cultures, and also now sexual orientation. I wish that training extended to the civilian world.

    What additionally disturbs me about what you describe is the inherent chauvinism young boys must experience. The implication is that boys “shouldn’t act like girls” and I can’t help but wonder: Why not?

    Seems as if though boys can’t read anymore, can’t do art anymore, can’t play the flute anymore, can’t can’t can’t anything other than play “boy-centered” sports because they’ll be “like girls” or “gay.”

    It’s still common for boys to yell out: “You throw like a girl!” and that be a shameful thing. What if they yelled out: “You throw like a (add a race or ethnicity here).” Teachers would be out there in a heartbeat suspending the child who said it. (At least, one would hope.)

    I’m waiting for the “Male Revolution” where men and boys rise up and say: “We’re not going to take this anymore. We get to be who we want to be… and we don’t just all play or watch football.”

  4. The level of hatred you talk about…it doesn’t get better, especially in middle school. And I live in Canada, one of the more tolerant countries. Yet I hear the words ‘gay’ and ‘Jew’ being tossed around as casual insults by both girls and boys. It’s frankly sickening!

    I honestly don’t know the solution. Perhaps better and more education programs from a young age would be the solution, but such things would be called ‘indoctrinating our children to the homosexual way of life’ by hard-liners.

    Perhaps you and your husband can sit down and talk it over. Talk to him, not at him, and have a discussion about what it means to be gay and how it doesn’t change whether or not you are a good or bad person. If you level with him, he might be able to understand why using ‘gay’ as a slur is a horrible thing to do.

    If you don’t educate him at a young age, there may be an incident like the one at my school where a bisexual girl was bullied relentlessly for five years. It didn’t get better, teachers and school administrators didn’t do a thing and she ended up moving to get away from it. I lost my only best friend when that happened. Don’t let something like that happen to either your son or anyone else in his class, please. Try to get some sort of education program in your school so the kids can be more sensitive toward differences in culture, religion and sexuality. Education is the most important thing you can do, in my opinion.

  5. Pingback: The Bully Transcendence « navywifechronicles

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