“If in a few years my child comes home and tells me that they are gay I will 100% accept them”.
Said among a group of parents, with those listening, nodding along emphatically. Loving your child unconditionally is the heart of being a parent. So why did this statement raise my hackles? For good reason.
I often get irate when people say to Olivia that she will have a little boyfriend or that Thomas will have a little girlfriend. For me, it is, even at this tender age, telling them that relationships should come in one form.
Derek, takes a no-holds barred approach. He corrects anyone who implies just one gender. And when discussing with Olivia about her future he will say things such as ‘it is important to be kind to your boyfriend or girlfriend’. Simplistic perhaps, but we both strongly feel it is important that from the word go both our children are made aware that romantic relationships come in many forms.
We both have close friends who are in same sex relationships. We have both watched and endured seeing friends struggle with coming to terms with who they are. Then having to watch as they ‘come out’ to friends and family. In most cases before they even had a romantic relationship.
We have heard stories of how this news was received either as a shock or anticipated news. Stories of how the news is then communicated to the wider family circle. Until finally everyone knows. And after all this, often at a later stage in life, they can finally get on with approaching a romantic relationship, comfortable and ‘out’.
The friends who have had to go through this are now helping us set an example of Olivia and Thomas about relationships – and all the forms it comes in. Olivia has never once asked us why two men or two women are together. She gets the basics. They love each other. Two mummys and two daddys have children when they love each other. That is all the information she wants or needs. Any over-explanation implies there is something different about a family set up.
And so yes, if my child comes out to me then I personally have failed in being the type of parent I want to be. Simply because I never want them to ‘come out’. I hope they will be comfortable and secure in who they are, their understanding of loving relationships and of our love for them, that one day they will each come home and just introduce us to their girlfriend or boyfriend. Just that. This is who I love. No trepidation, no big announcement, no fear. Just love.