We are deep into a new era of social acceptance in which some of life’s clouds have parted and the son has come out.
So has the daughter.
We are among the families who have received a new kind of telephone call, a variation on the traditional family phone call. “It’s a boy!” Or, “It’s a girl!”
Today we live in a ground-breaking time in which the call comes from the child himself, announcing, “It’s a gay boy!” And he is that boy.
The call came during the opening years of the great coming-out party of the nation’s gay community. While I had doubted that any of our six children were anything but straight, I did kind of look around our nuclear and our extended family, realizing it was theoretically possible we might have a gay relative.
We had gay friends who were pretty obviously born that way. And we had come to realize that most people who still think gayness is a changeable choice are unwittingly revealing that they don’t actually know any gay people very well.
In our experience, the notion of “curing” gayness is about the same as telling me that I am being bald just for the fun of being difficult. If I really wanted to stop trying to shock people with my naked noggin, I would have the decency to grow hair.
When discussing the matter with my bald self, I recognized that, if one of our kids ever did come out to us, his gayness would be an accomplished fact. And once parents face that reality, they almost all make one of two choices:
In an angry and useless fit of denial, they disown the kid.
Or they recognize reality, accept one of Nature’s accomplished facts and tell the kid they love him anyway and will stand by him in his surprising way of life.
That’s what the members of our family did – all the brothers, all the sisters, all the aunts and uncles and almost all of the cousins rallied around. That’s a more normal pattern for families in that situation today than some of you might expect.
This business of whether to accept gay kids is a bit like the common practice a few decades ago in which families frequently disowned their children for marrying into a different religion, race or even political party.
“Good Lord, Elsie, you’ve married a Democrat. Have you no shame?”
The tension in some families with gay kids is a little fresher in today’s lives than the old hissy fits thrown in families over race and religion (not to mention baldness). However, I am told that far fewer parents today are rejecting their own children for practicing romance inside their own gender.
That’s may be partly because so many people’s gay kids have come out in recent years. That takes the pressure off twitchy parents who worry too much about what the world will think of them for producing a kid like that.
Today, know it or not, almost everybody’s got at least one gay relative somewhere in the extended family. That development is what now pushes gay marriage approval well past the majority mark in national polls and what brings legal questions about gay marriage before the U.S. Supreme Court this month.
So don’t worry so much about the possibility that your son might not want a girl just like the girl who married dear old Dad. In fact, he doesn’t want a girl at all.
Ignore the dark clouds of your attitude. And brace your feet. It’s possible that the son will come out tomorrow. And maybe the daughter as well.Bill Hall can be contacted at email@example.com or at 1012 Prospect Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501