LGBT Lessons for Straight People: So Simple a Child “Gets” It
Even straight people who support gay rights can struggle with what to tell their children about gay relationships. We’re barely comfortable talking about straight relationships. And for many straight people, sex is front and center, covering up the real person.
Let me tell you about my friend at work. Last fall, there was a movement to send postcards to Obama, asking him to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA. I bought forty postcards, addressed and stamped them, then sent an email to folks at work that I knew support gay rights. This is a dear friend. She comes to me and says “Tomorrow I will let you know how many postcards I need.” Ok.
The next day she comes in and says she needs three postcards. I’m curious so I ask her why.
She tells me that their family discussed this at dinner. She has a ten year old and six year old. She explained that in California, the judges gave everyone the right to marry. Boys could now marry boys and girls could now marry girls. She explained that love is so rare, so special and so priceless, that if you find love with someone and want to spend the rest of your life with them, that it doesn’t matter if they are a boy or a girl. And that we are born usually preferring one over the other. But then, there was an election and people voted to take that right away. She explained that it meant these people might not be married any more and if they had children, they might not be a family anymore under the law.
Her six year old son was outraged. He pounded on the table and said “You can’t take away some one’s family. You can’t take two people away from each other if they love each other. I want MY OWN POSTCARD.”
My postcards were all superhero postcards, and my selling line was “because if you are straight and support gay rights, you are a superhero.” She took Spiderman, her son’s favorite and let her son write his own message, in his six year old handwriting. At the bottom she wrote “My son is six. And he gets it.”
Children understand love and family instinctively. Because that is what makes them feel safe and secure. I wonder what the law would be if children made the rules. More so, what can we adults learn from them?