Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How do you explain same-sex without the sex?

My 10 year old son and I were watching The Amazing Race the other night.  One of the couples came up and under their names was the description, domestic partners.  Of course my curious son then looked at me and asked, "hey mom what's a domestic partner?" and "does that mean they are gay?"  This was it!  One of those defining moments as a parent in which what you say and how you handle yourself would be remembered forever.  I took a deep breath and.....

Real quick lets back up...as most of you know, I am a Republican.  I consider myself a liberal Republican but I am, in fact, a Republican.  There are 2 main things that I am extremely liberal in my thinking and one of them is gay rights.  I grew up in a small southern town with a conservative father and a more liberal mother.  My mom loved the theater and spent her summers performing in the local theater productions.  This is where we spent our summers as well which, as you can imagine, gave us the opportunity to meet many different types of people.  And for those of you conservative blowholes...no the gay people did not rub off on me and make me gay.  Actually maybe they did rub off on me because I ( and my 3 siblings) was always very comfortable backstage at the theater and we grew up counting many of this group among our good family friends.  After college I went to work at a large corporation (a Bank) in a department called Survivor Support (Death benefits).  This is when I really realized where I stood on gay rights.  I had been vocal about the need for a civil union for the gay community but I was still unsure about marriage (I am nothing if not traditional).  But after handling death benefits for a number of domestic partners and realizing that there were couples that had been together for 15 years and still had no rights, I modified my thinking and realized that marriage was the only way to make sure that equal rights became a reality.  OK so back to Sunday night...

I looked at my son at age 10 and realized that I was not ready to have a sex talk but I also realized that if at age 15 or 21 or 28 he came to me to tell me that he was gay, I wanted his memories of this conversation to be positive.  So I explained, as best I could, that God makes everyone differently.  Some people are black, some people are white, some men like women and some men like men. I further explained that there was nothing wrong or off about this but that he might hear negative words or opinions because people are always scared of anything that they do not understand.  He seemed to accept this and then he said, "well it must suck if you like another man because then you cannot have children, oh wait you can adopt kids, right mom, because plenty of kids need good homes." and that was it.  We continued to watch our show and he seemed content.  Whew, one hard conversation down, only about 1000 or more to go. 

4 comments:

froggy said...

:-)
The Ponder children have two sets of Aunts and Aunts-in-laws. So they were lucky in that they grew up with it being normal to come in a matched set.

I think you'll be fine for all the other conversations. And they are never what you think they will be. bwa-ha-ha!

Bob said...

What a great conversation you had with your son.
i wish more parents would have that chat.
And your son's response was lovely and priceless.

David Dust said...

Excellent explanation. This world needs more Republicans like you :)

BTW - To pick up a conversation we had a while back - a country/western gay bar just opened on my old block in Manhattan. It's called "Flaming Saddles". Seriously.

XOXOXOXOXOXO

Tivo Mom said...

Thanks guys for the support. I know that this is not the last of these type of conversations we will have.

Oh and DD, if I ever make it to NY we are so going to Flaming Saddles. Just because we can...

Love ya'll!