I give a lot of advice in the real world and I’m VERY opinionated but when my own child came home and told me he was called gay by some classmates – I was speechless. To be completely honest my son is too similar to me as far as his mouth goes and I have to take a step back before I say certain things in front of him – but I felt out of the few times this has come up I never asked. Not sure why but I always answered with the assumption he was straighter then an arrow (it could argued arrows aren’t truly straight).
My son attends a Middle School that is a lot like an episode of FAME. They have all these performing arts classes but also have a well rated honors program which he is a part of. My son is a dancer – yes a DANCER. Now last year he was called gay because he is very creative fashion wise – or what the kids call SWAG. I come from a family of many talents but one thing I can say we can all do is throw together an outfit I mean we get down – from the hair accessories down to the socks. I’ve been pretty dismissive until recently of the tales he told about others peoples opinions.
So this last time he stayed after school and he is in a dance class where he is the only male. When waiting for the girls to change he went to hang out with the Boys Dance class – where one boy mentioned
“We all think you’re gay because you’re the only boy in that dance class”.
Children’s common sense doesn’t tell them
“Hey Little Dude you’re in a dance class too”
Actually todays adult common sense won’t tell you that. I felt like someone punched me in the gut and I also felt that if I gave the wrong response I would get a call the next day telling me my son (who has a black belt) would be suspended. Although, my son acts a lot like me he has his father’s calm and patient demeanor #LookAtGod. I said a silent prayer to myself asking God to give me the words as this is the age children start to experience things that shape their adulthood. I calmly, in front of his father, asked was he gay. He calmly answered “Last I checked no”. I then reminded him that although my mother and I both had professional dance training his FATHER is a semi well known dancer and can still break out his Step Up moves to the right music and that man is no where near gay. I reminded my son that in this world people insult what they fear or don’t understand. The boys that made the comment know you had to audition to be in the program that you are in. I reminded him of Justin Timberlake, Usher all men that dance circles around you and me. He can’t let other’s people’s opinions alter what he wants to do with his life (except me and his father’s of course).
My son has a friend who also loves to dance, however his mother isn’t supportive and also thinks boys that dance are gay. I told him while we may never see the day that this world isn’t overrun by idiots – if HE enjoys doing it than I fully support him. His father then chimed in and advised he never had that issue growing up. However, I chimed in maybe the people didn’t feel comfortable saying it to his face or it could be that he was surrounded by like minded people. I told my son while we are all entitled to our opinions it is NEVER ok to set out to use your words to tear someone down. My son is a happy child and very positive – dealing with depression myself it made me think about how some of my issues began at his age. I can only pray that I said the right thing. I ended the conversation by asking him did he feel like I needed to make an appearance (yes I am one of those parents) and maybe speak to a teacher; etc. He told me no and that my talk helped. I pray that I left the door open that if he wanted to revisit this topic he didn’t feel judged. I had to ask God to direct my words in a way that wasn’t judgmental but I also could no longer talk to my child with assumptions or make him feel like my assumptions indicate it would be wrong if he wasn’t heterosexual. This conversation taught me how to speak to my child about homosexuality and while that wasn’t the time to make it a PBS special I now know how to deal with this issue going forward.
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