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UPDATE: I want to meet a gay person.


Kinsa

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Okay, don't berate me or belittle me. I am exposing my naivete here, and thus very vulnerable. Please be gentle with me.

 

Okay, here goes...

 

I have never known a gay person, or at least not known a gay person who has let me know that he/she was gay.

 

I grew up a military brat back when homosexuals weren't allowed in the military, period.

 

I went into ROTC in college, and those folks were my social circle. It was during that time that Clinton's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy came into effect, but that didn't exactly mean that gay people were signing up in droves, kwim?

 

After college, DH and I got married and we have lived and moved in the military circles all the rest of my life to now.

 

Add the fact that I am a conservative Christian.

 

My social world does not include gay people. It just doesn't. Military plus conservative Christian (not to mention living in Texas, which, from my understanding, isn't exactly a haven for homosexuals... unless it's Austin - lol)... well, I just don't know any. I never have. It's not from actively excluding them in my life, it's just that it's never been.

 

Sorta like the fact that I've never known a Jew or Muslim. I just don't.

 

So short of walking into a gay bar, going up to a person and saying, "Hi, are you gay? And if so, would you be my friend?"... how do I go about expanding my exposure to persons different from myself?

 

I'm embarassed to say it, but this board is the most diverse place that I've ever experienced. Seriously.

 

So, be gentle. How do I expand my world of acquaintances to include more diversity (without being pathetic or obvious about it)?

 

ETA: The thing that really brought this to my attention is the fact that one of my teen sons made a VERY stunningly derogatory remark the other day about homosexuals, adding the words, "I hate gay people!" It stunned me and broke my heart. I don't know where he learned that attitude, but it wasn't from his father nor from me. Yes, he was soundly chided for his attitude, but it got me thinking about how little diversity we have in our lives, and that it would do my kids some good if they could meet people different from them.

 

ETA again: Actually, I did know one Jewish person when we lived on the base in South Dakota, but she was so distraught over being forced to live at "the end of the earth" that she literally never came out of her house. She couldn't move away from there fast enough. Her husband was a military doctor who used the military to pay for his medical school, and she was most displeased with that. So even though she lived right across the street from me, I didn't really get to know her much at all since she was all sour grapes.

 

**************

 

UPDATE, of sorts:

 

You're not going to believe this.

 

I took three of my kids to a teen gathering a few minutes ago, and OUT OF THE BLUE this same son said it AGAIN!~ What the heck?!? (I'm actually wondering if he's reading this thread on his phone...???)

 

So I had the opportunity to talk with him in the car. I told him that one in ten people are gay, and that there are likely many people in our own neighborhood who are gay. He said he didn't REALLY care if they were gay, as long as they don't ACT gay. So I asked him how, exactly, DO gay people act?

 

Then I had an epiphany. I remembered a Colonel that lived down the street from us when we lived in North Dakota a few years ago who was openly gay, whom my son used to mow the lawn for! (LOL)

 

So I asked him if he realized that Colonel Son-n-So was gay. You should have SEEN THE LOOK on his face! I don't think he believed me. I told him that yes, I was positive that he was gay, and that it didn't really matter, did it? I asked him why it would matter to him at all if someone was gay or not, how it would affect his life. He admitted that it wouldn't really, but he still doesn't like it when they ACT gay. Okay. Whatever.

 

Then I mentioned that he has a 17yo brother who doesn't at all seem to be into girls. What if your brother is gay? Then there was complete denial. Interestingly, my 13yo son asked me if we would disown him if he were, to which I assured him that we would not. Then he asked me if we would disown any of them if they ended up in jail, and I said yes. (LOL) So then my 15yo was ALL confused and indignantly asked why I would disown them if they ended up in jail and not if they were gay, so I told them because it's not illegal to be gay. (LOL)

 

Then the conversation was diverted to something else at that point. But I'm SO THANKFUL to have had that opportunity to plant a few thoughts in his head. I think it has given him some things to think about. I wanted to mention to him how Jesus would be hangin' with the gays if he were here today, but I didn't get a chance to. I guess I'll save that one in my back pocket for the next time it comes up, because I'm sure there's going to be a next time.

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Do you travel?

 

Do your kids participate in groups that encourage diversity?

 

Do you put yourself out there or stick to your comfort zone?

 

Those would be some things to think about.

 

Here are some other ideas:

Get to know your neighbors.

Visit different/bigger churches.

Attend community cultural events.

Sign up for a class or group outside of your area/religion.

 

 

 

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You could leave Texas or dabble in the performing arts. Still, you may be dissappointed. They're just people. Once you decide there is nothing wrong with them you may be less fascinated.

 

Yup. And some are even 'conservative Christians'. How do I know? One of my SIL's is the most conservative Christian you could meet, and she's also a lesbian. :) You would never know it to meet her. And then my other SIL (her twin) is also a lesbian. I adore them both and I am grateful that they have been so willing to educate ME throughout the years. But they are just regular people.

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You could leave Texas or dabble in the performing arts. Still, you may be dissappointed. They're just people. Once you decide there is nothing wrong with them you may be less fascinated.

 

 

That's kinda the point. I need some of these "different" people in my life so I can show my kids that, hey, they're people just like you and me.

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Come to San Francisco? (I'm just kidding)

 

Hubby knows a classmate that is a transsexual. I know hairdressers and tailors that are gay as well as transsexual. We often see gay and lesbian couples here. i don't know how you could purposely get to know them though.

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That's kinda the point. I need some of these "different" people in my life so I can show my kids that, hey, they're people just like you and me.

 

 

Couldn't you just explain that? Without having to put a gay person on a pedestal?

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Couldn't you just explain that? Without having to put a gay person on a pedestal?

 

 

Well, yes, I DID explain that. But it's one thing to have Mama tell you it, but it's another thing to have your experiences verify it. And I don't think I'm exactly wanting to put a person on a pedestal, kwim?

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You could leave Texas or dabble in the performing arts. Still, you may be dissappointed. They're just people. Once you decide there is nothing wrong with them you may be less fascinated.

 

 

Yep. Lots of them are just going to jobs and raising families and have the same kind of struggles the rest of us have. We go to a welcoming church and live in a gay friendly community. I know at least a couple dozen gay couples. 3 families within blocks of my house. My daughter's BFF (LOL) was adopted and is being raised by a single gender couple.

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Well, yes, I DID explain that. But it's one thing to have Mama tell you it, but it's another thing to have your experiences verify it. And I don't think I'm exactly wanting to put a person on a pedestal, kwim?

 

 

I think you probably know more gay, bisexual, or transgender people than you think you do. Not all gay people are the stereotypical "flamers". That's what I meant by "telling your kids that". Anyone you know could be gay. And, to that end, respecting people as people is a good thing to do. If you wanted to meet a gay person, who is "obviously gay", for the sake of showing your kids that they don't eat babies or cause cancer or molest small children... then, yeah, it's kinda putting a gay person on a pedestal for your kids to study.

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You probably have, they don't come with a badge or something (not being snarky really). I was surprised to find so many of the boys I knew in high school are "out". I was also surprised to hear a few of my male cousins are gay, it's just not discussed openly on that side of the family.

 

One of my dear friends where we used to live was bi-sexual. I only knew because she told me.

 

I don't think you have to search out different people to help your dc learn about diversity and acceptance.

 

Homeschooling is a place to start. It's different, people don't get it unless they see it from the inside. You can use that as a talking point to create an understanding of other viewpoints and lifestyles. We've also used the gay marriage as a discussion point, looking at it from a civil right perspective.

 

There is probably some information on a LGBT education site. Perhaps someone here knows a link.

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I hear what you are saying, but it's almost reinforcing the belief that people who are gay or Jewish are in some way different from you. We are all inherently the same, and we are all inherently unique. No two white conservative Christians are the same, kwim?

 

As far as concrete suggestions, hmmmm, are there any interfaith charities at which you could volunteer? Traveling? Studying different cultures and religions? Also, if you are a conservative, evangelical Christian, if you really want to appreciate diversity, you have to be able to separate out your desire to proselytize. It's a hard line to walk, staying true to your beliefs while respecting the rights of others to hold theirs.

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I think you probably know more gay, bisexual, or transgender people than you think you do. Not all gay people are the stereotypical "flamers". That's what I meant by "telling your kids that". Anyone you know could be gay. And, to that end, respecting people as people is a good thing to do. If you wanted to meet a gay person, who is "obviously gay", for the sake of showing your kids that they don't eat babies or cause cancer or molest small children... then, yeah, it's kinda putting a gay person on a pedestal for your kids to study.

 

 

Okay, so let me tell you exactly what happened. I took my kids to the pediatric dentist, the same ped dentist we've been seeing on-and-off for the last ten years. I made some quick little comment on the drive home about the dentist's "partner", and my 13yo son caught on and came home and told my 15yo. My 15yo came running down the stairs: "DR. SO-N-SO IS GAY?!? OH MY GOSH!!! I CAN"T BELIEVE HE"S A F**! I HATE GAY PEOPLE!" I was so stunned that I'm afraid I didn't quite know what to do. I told him that his sexuality didn't have anything to do with how well of a dentist he is, that he's a good dentist, and we will continue to see that dentist. I told him that more people are gay than he realizes, and what if one of his brothers ends up gay? How would he feel then? Blah blah blah.

 

But it got me thinking. I wonder if I should be pointing out those kinds of things more often? On the other hand, wouldn't pointing out that so-n-so might be gay just defeat the purpose of making kids realize that they're "normal"? I mean, if they're normal, why bother to point it out? But if you don't point it out, then perhaps they don't realize that there are gays among us, who are our dentists? (LOL)

 

Sigh.

 

I just don't know how to handle this. I really don't. I don't want to be raising bigots.

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ETA: The thing that really brought this to my attention is the fact that one of my teen sons made a VERY stunningly derogatory remark the other day about homosexuals, adding the words, "I hate gay people!" It stunned me and broke my heart. I don't know where he learned that attitude, but it wasn't from his father nor from me. Yes, he was soundly chided for his attitude, but it got me thinking about how little diversity we have in our lives, and that it would do my kids some good if they could meet people different from them.

 

 

Well, I understand what you're trying to do here. However, I think that maybe a more important lesson is to love people no matter what "kind" of person they are. It isn't so much that he said he hated gay people, its that he said he hated a group a people that are different from himself. It isn't hard to find people who are some kind of different from you, even in a seemingly-homogeneous community. I guess my point is, you don't need to find gay people in order to teach loving your neighbor & extending grace to those who are different.

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You do know gay people, they just haven't told you that they are gay. In a way, that's more important than meeting someone who is out: the knowledge that gay people are all around you and they are just..... folks. That's the message that I would be passing on to my children: they are surrounded by gay, pagan, atheist, other faith, other political stripe .... people and they are just folks.

 

Laura

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Okay, so let me tell you exactly what happened. I took my kids to the pediatric dentist, the same ped dentist we've been seeing on-and-off for the last ten years. I made some quick little comment on the drive home about the dentist's "partner", and my 13yo son caught on and came home and told my 15yo. My 15yo came running down the stairs: "DR. SO-N-SO IS GAY?!? OH MY GOSH!!! I CAN"T BELIEVE HE"S A F**! I HATE GAY PEOPLE!" I was so stunned that I'm afraid I didn't quite know what to do. I told him that his sexuality didn't have anything to do with how well of a dentist he is, that he's a good dentist, and we will continue to see that dentist. I told him that more people are gay than he realizes, and what if one of his brothers ends up gay? How would he feel then? Blah blah blah.

 

But it got me thinking. I wonder if I should be pointing out those kinds of things more often? On the other hand, wouldn't pointing out that so-n-so might be gay just defeat the purpose of making kids realize that they're "normal"? I mean, if they're normal, why bother to point it out? But if you don't point it out, then perhaps they don't realize that there are gays among us, who are our dentists? (LOL)

 

Sigh.

 

I just don't know how to handle this. I really don't. I don't want to be raising bigots.

 

 

First, how did your son know the word "f**"? I'm just curious because that's a word that we just don't hear & if my kids knew it & used it in that way, I'd be questioning where they heard it & start there.

 

Second, I think this was probably a good opportunity to talk about what was making him say those things. I get that you were not prepared at the time but I think its worth persuing at another time. Without getting upset about it, ask him to explain his motivation for saying those things. That would be the best place to start, I think.

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There's nothing wrong with wanting to broaden your social circle to include more diversity. I have several gay friends and my kids have been brought up around them and vacationed with them. They're just people....but, I agree with the OP that being told something and experiencing something are very different things.

 

I used to know a person who was racially biased against blacks, but that person didn't KNOW any (I mean personally know, not mere acquaintances). A few years later he/she ended up working with a black friend of mine on a project at work, and they became friends. Of course, this person changed opinion - how could they not?

 

OP, don't "find" a gay person to show-and-tell with your kids, but be inclusive and open to new friendships. I love all our gay friends dearly and my life is much richer because of them - same with all my friends!

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First, I think it's wonderful that you want to broaden your horizons and be intentional about introducing diversity into your life. And, for what it's worth, I know what you mean, to some degree.

 

I grew up in a very liberal home, in a pretty liberal area. I was taught all kinds of good messages about diversity and tolerance and equality. However, when push came to shove, the sad truth was that my hometown was very, very white. We had a fair number of hispanics, but no more than one or two black families. And those families didn't happen to have kids with whom I shared activities or interests. I just didn't have the kind of casual, comfortable, ongoing interaction with people of color that would have normalized contact for me. It wasn't until I graduated from college and got my first professional job that I actually got to know a black person socially. And -- being completely honest, here -- it was weird for me. I was uncomfortable, scared of saying something wrong or offensive. I just felt out of my depth.

 

It was fine, eventually. We got friendly. I've gone on, over the years, to have a veritable rainbow of friends and acquaintances. I've dated guys of various colors. I got over it. But I won't lie and say it wasn't something I had to learn to be comfortable with, despite an entire childhood of being taught the right messages.

 

I think it's brave of you to come here and ask for help, and I think your goal is a good one.

 

In terms of how to go about meeting some gay folks, I don't have any really helpful ideas. It's funny to me, because in the circles in which my family moves, I'd say about a third of our friends and acquaintances are LGBT. Both of my kids are performers, an interest/profession that seems to draw an unusually large number of openly gay people. For all of my kids' childhoods, we belonged to a church that is openly and intentionally welcoming. (Each of my kids has had the same lesbian couple as leaders of their church youth group. For a decade, the church had a lesbian minister.) We live in a city that happens to be considered LGBT friendly. And my husband works for an employer who has a good record on providing benefits to lesbian and gay couples and a welcoming work environment for LGBT employees.

 

If you're looking for a more heavy-handed teachable moment, the only thing I can think of is to check and see if your city has a shelter or agency that serves homeless LGBT teens. Studies have shown that a very large percentage of kids living on the streets identify as LGBT. They often end up out there because they get kicked out of their homes when they come out to their families. Maybe meeting some kids roughly his own age who are struggling with that kind of rejection would give your son something to think about? Help him see that these other kids are just kids, like him?

 

I hope other people have meaningful and practical suggestions for you. But I wanted to chime in and let you know that I respect your goals and motivation.

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First, how did your son know the word "f**"? I'm just curious because that's a word that we just don't hear & if my kids knew it & used it in that way, I'd be questioning where they heard it & start there.

 

Second, I think this was probably a good opportunity to talk about what was making him say those things. I get that you were not prepared at the time but I think its worth persuing at another time. Without getting upset about it, ask him to explain his motivation for saying those things. That would be the best place to start, I think.

 

 

I have no idea where he learned that word, and I'm afraid to find out. But the attitude is more stunning to me than the word.

 

I don't want to have this conversation with him, but I suppose I'm going to have to, aren't I?

 

Crap. Sometimes I hate being the mom.

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We keep ending up having conversations about teens using the term as a derogatory adjective. Sheesh! It's rampant, ironically, in my teens' workplaces, but not so much at church. I guess the church teens have learned that we parents don't like the foolisheness of using those (or any other group) descriptors as a slam.

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Sigh.

 

I just don't know how to handle this. I really don't. I don't want to be raising bigots.

 

 

Selectively quoting so that you can delete later if you want to. I get where you're coming from. I truly do. I think the way of going about it - finding a gay person to befriend - isn't going to help, though. As a PP said, you'd just be reinforcing the idea that gay people are somehow different from straight people in a way that promotes fear and hate. Honestly, if you're wanting to make your son really think about what he said and reevaluates his stance I think the first step would be to tell the 15 year old that his reaction was hateful and unacceptable to you. Let him know that the dentist you see is skilled and trustworthy and that NOTHING else about him is of a concern in how he treats his patient. Then I'd stress the "love everyone" idea. People are people, you know?

 

Maybe others have ideas.

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Too bad we don't live closer. I could introduce you to my daughter. I may be biased, but I think you'd like her! She has a lovely little apartment in a smallish sized town, which she picked because it seemed like a safe area to raise her child. She drives into the big city a few days a week for classes (she's in the orthotics/prosthetics program), dropping her child off at the church daycare program on the way. When she's not in class, she's either working at the airport pushing wheelchairs, or staying home doing crafts with her child and catching up on laundry. In her spare time in the past, she liked to do volunteer work involving the elderly. She drives a crappy old station wagon held together with duct tape and wire, because she's broke, just like lots of people her age. She just got engaged (yay!), but knows that the wedding date depends on many factors, so the date is not set. She loses her car keys and purse ALL the time, and forgets to charge her phone. So she drives us all a little crazy, but she's so stinking adorable that we don't mind. She's not much of a cook (she eats out a lot), but is an OCD housekeeper and budget keeper. She sings like her mother (that's a joke, because we are awful), and has the kind heart and calm demeanor of her father.

 

All this to say, you've probably run into lots of gays in your lifetime. But I am truly glad that you asked and put yourself out there. I understand what you mean about the board here being your only diverse hangout. It is for me, also, and I wish it were different for my family IRL.

 

ETA: OP, I am a slow typist and I was posting just in answer to the title of your thread, nothing more. Mom to mom, I commend you for trying to correct your son's thinking. Thank you!

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I explained some of this to ds in this manner, we tend to have these conversations once in a while. I value my privacy as a person, in my own home I believe I have the freedom to do with as I please so long as I don't endanger my life of anyone elses. I like to homeschool, I want people to stay out of that. I don't like to wear a bra in the evening, I take it off sometimes. My relationship, physical or otherwise, with my spouse is my business. What I do with my spouse in the privacy of my home is no one else's business. If I believe in that freedom and right for myself, I have to be willing to give it to others.

 

Jesus says we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. He didn't exclude gays, Muslims or anyone else that isn't like you. In fact, I've used the fact dh had gay neighbor when he moved here years ago. The man's dog died, he was crushed. He came over and we all gave him hugs and comfort. This was years ago, but it was the first time I hugged an openly gay man. I've explained that to ds, that this man was grieving and it didn't matter anything else at that point. There was nothing contagious about it.

 

I don't like scallped potatoes (to reference another thread), so what, some people may love them. I like men, I like my man. Just because I like men doesn't mean I'm looking now. I'm in a relationship. Gay people are the same way. They aren't out to "get" every other person of their gender. Some are in a monogamous relationship, some aren't, just like, duh, people. some people wear yellow, I don't wear most yellow, it makes my skin look sallow.

 

You gay dentist is first and foremost your dentist. His relationship status is really none of your business (as a point to your children). People judge others too much. He's not asking for your judgment, he's asking you to floss.

 

You can also look at gay celebrities. There are many that don't ever mention it, or finally do to honor the commitment they've made to their partner. We all do something that is a little different, just like the stereotypical comments about homeschoolers. Doesn't mean they are right, they are simply ignorant.

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you might want to find a movie or tv show with gay characters and watch them with your kids and talk to them about it. you dont need a minority person on hand to teach your kids about diversity and tolerance. but also, if you've never talked about it before, hopefully this can be a first step. you also might ask where they are getting their ideas about homosexuality from?

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Trust me, you do know gay people. After all, that's about 10% of the population. The ones you know just have not shared this fact openly with you - because in most daily situations it does not matter. They are normal people. They do the things other people do, behave the way other people behave - your sons most likely could not tell that those people are gay because there would be no difference.

I am always astonished when people are reduced to one small aspect of their personality, especially since it is an aspect that is nobody else's business.

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I think a 15 year old could hear f** from any number of places. My young kids have asked me what the word means. They never heard me use it.

 

 

Yeah, I didn't mean that to be accusatory, It just seems weird for a teen to pull that out of seemingly nowhere. If he has heard it used in that way enough to have said it himself, then I would look at that as a negative influence that would need to go away. KWIM?

 

Disclaimer: I don't have teens. :D

 

ETA: Another disclaimer is apparently necessary. I'm not in any way implying that the OP taught this word to her kids. I do think it's worthwhile to ask the question - where did my child learn this word? IT MAY BE that there is a negative influence that could/should be cut out.

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I think *seeking out a gay person* would backfire, because (if you can even accomplish that), it will feel awkward and contrived. And it may just reinforce your kids' perception that gay people are somehow separate and you have to go looking for them.

 

As others have already said, I think the best approach is just to focus on being open, welcoming, and respectful to people from all walks and backgrounds that *naturally* come into your life. And if there's a concern that your existing circle is decidedly non-diverse, then expand it in ways that make sense. But seeking out specific groups of people in this fashion isn't necessary IMO.

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This should have come up in their homeschooling. They should have studied civil rights issues, abolition, suffrage, changing laws, persecution of minorities or even just the current "other."

 

This should have come up in the Bible studies. What is sodomy? What are those verses in the first chapter of Romans talking about? What is our church's position on homosexuality, and homosexuals in the clergy? What is our denomination's history with this topic? How have we changed, or have we?

 

This should have come up in family exposure to mainstream entertainment. What movies and TV shows do we watch? How do they refute or bolster our family's worldview? How does a particular character or plotline reinforce stereotypes?

 

This should have come up in family exposure to politics and current events. What was all the fuss about California's Proposition 8? Who was Matthew Shepard? What does the President of the United States mean when he talks about diversity and tolerance? Do I agree with him? If I disagree, am I disagreeing with the definition of the problems or do I only disagree with his proposed solutions, especially in our public education system?

 

This should have come up in family discussions on how we talk to and about other people not like ourselves. Do we use profanity and pejoratives? Do we believe that individuals are more than a label? What is the Golden Rule?

 

I would see this episode as a crisis. I entirely agree with you that this is a very big deal. But I wouldn't just go find a gay person; I'm afraid I have to agree with KKinVa that people are not zoo exhibits to be studied. Instead, I would wonder two things:

 

1. How is it that my children have been raised entirely in a bubble? Did I mean to do that, or did it just happen? How do we join mainstream America while retaining our personal beliefs and convictions? How can I raise my children to be informed, compassionate, and effective at making our society better?

 

2. What's up with the name-calling and hate. Have I modeled that? If not me, then who? Where did my kid learn that his response was at all appropriate in any way? How can I find out what else lurks in his heart that I need to bring into the light?

 

I'm praying that answers will present themselves to you, Kinsa. This is very shocking and frightening, but I hope it's a matter of ignorance and can easily be addressed with this child. I hope it's not an ingrained hatred that you won't be able to remedy at this late date.

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I could invite you to meet my ds#2's college roommate. He is one of 3 roommates ds has this year and is, by far, the best of the 3 :).

 

I think a college campus is probably one of the best places to find openly gay people who are just going about their daily business like all the other students. Maybe you could sign up for a class or two.

 

I had an experience years ago with one of my sons who said something similar about another race. I *do* know where it came from and we quickly addressed the issue (family friend's child). Another son made a derogatory comment about public schoolers many years ago. That also met with discussion about life choices. Sometimes kids pick up things that shock us and we have no idea where it came from. And all you can do is address it then.

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I second the idea about finding a LGBT organization and maybe doing a bit of volunteering there, but only after he acknowledges that people are not deemed worthy/unworthy because of how they're born. I have gay relatives that are still belittled by other relatives. I'm glad you're trying to help your son, because I'd be very worried about that attitude in a teen, and wonder where he he developed it. I lived in an extremely racist home growing up, and sadly my siblings never "out grew" it.

I also think you've been around many, most likely, gays in the military, and just do not realize it.

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You could see if you have a PFLAG meeting in your area, some often have social events and activities that are open to anyone and a good open way to meet people. These can be a bit more comfortable for some to attend than GLBTQ group meetings because their for Friends and Family members of Gay and Lesbians but often a diverse group of people show up. I have a gay daughter and we attend meetings and social events all the time and have lots of fun. We have a church that has LGBT social activities as well that we attend and again have lots of fun there and have made some great new friends too. All the groups I've met have been very open and wouldn't blink an eye if you show up without having a gay family member or anything but simply loking to either learn more or expand your experiences.

 

I don't see any thing wrong with reocgizing that your social circle may be more limited that you want and looking for active ways to expand that. I think saying 'I need a gay friend' would be wrong, but simply reocognizing the world is made of large diverse groups and being open to events and activities that are more serving or open to other groups can help broaded things a great deal more than just assuming going about usual day-to-day life is going to suddenly bring in more diversity.

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I'd like to meet a black person. Oooohhh, a black gay person!!

 

 

See more, black people HAVE been in our social circle. Black people are well represented in the military, and our church is a racially diverse church. (And I probably don't need to mention that since we live in San Antonio, we know LOTS of Hispanics.)

 

But a black gay person??? C' mon. Everyone knows those are really just mythical creatures that don't really exist. ;)

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You can absolutely address your son's bigotry without finding a gay person first. He got the idea from somewhere. I understand how easy that would be growing up in a homogeneous society. Also, when your kids are young, their friends might not know WHAT they are yet.

 

My first gay friend was my roommate in the military. There have always been gay people in the armed forces, but they kept it under wraps for so long. Anyway, this girl joined at 18, and wasn't sure of herself yet. She even tried dating a few men. She eventually found herself and ended up coming out to her Army friends shortly before we all ETSed.

 

I got a letter years later. She became a he and is married to a woman and happily raising three adopted children. His community has no idea because, well, it's Georgia and probably easiest for the family not to make an issue. NOBODY looking at that family would have any idea that they "know" a gay person. They're Mormon and have an entire church community that just knows them as a happy family.

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you might want to find a movie or tv show with gay characters and watch them with your kids and talk to them about it. you dont need a minority person on hand to teach your kids about diversity and tolerance. but also, if you've never talked about it before, hopefully this can be a first step. you also might ask where they are getting their ideas about homosexuality from?

 

 

I was wondering about working the celebrity/TV/movie angle, too.

 

I was listening last night to a program on NPR about the Trayvon Martin shooting, which happened a year ago not far from us. Among other things the hosts discussed with callers was what we can do to help kids not grow up with racial biases. The number one thing sited as helpful was knowing and interacting with people who are different from us from as young an age as possible. One teacher called in and said she had struggled with how to teach these concepts, given that her classes were pretty uniform in color and socioeconomic status. She eventually came up with some lesson plans that had the kids learning about Bill Cosby, about his life and education, about his goals in creating The Cosby Show, etc. She acknowledged it wasn't perfect, but given what she had to work with, it was what she could do. The hosts were very positive about the approach.

 

There are lots of films and TV shows that have gay characters and attempt to portray them realistically and sensitively. I recently finished watching Brothers and Sisters on Netflix, and I was very impressed with the way that show handled the life and relationships of the gay brother. I'll bet there are others you could try, too.

 

Oh, also, what about investigating the It Gets Better video project, which features LGBT people, including lots of celebrities, talking to young people about their lives now that they are adults? There are some heartbreaking stories, but it's a great message.

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How will your son handle going back to the dentist? I would be certain to bring this up with him again so as not to cause a problem when you get to the office.

You know gay people; he knows gay people. Please don't bring home a gay to display.

Often overt strong homophobia is a reaction to discomfort with one's own sexuality. He is a teen. Teen years are a barage of information (from internal and external sources) about sex and desire. While teens are still developing their own identity they are overly fearful of being coded in the wrong crowd. In our society it is not surprising he has come to realize gay folks are a group not always considered the in crowd. When he figures himself and life out a little more he will relax about it, provided he has consistently heard positive open messages about all characteristics of people.

It's good that you had the conversation with him. Keep the lines of communication open.

 

Sheesh, am I the only/token lesbian on these boards? ;-)

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But a black gay person??? C' mon. Everyone knows those are really just mythical creatures that don't really exist. ;)

 

Nope, I've seen them in The Wild. They exist. I dance with them :-). (You don't find a ton of straight, male bellydancers, but there are a few.)

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I have no idea where he learned that word, and I'm afraid to find out. But the attitude is more stunning to me than the word.

 

I don't want to have this conversation with him, but I suppose I'm going to have to, aren't I?

 

Crap. Sometimes I hate being the mom.

 

Aw, Honey. Sometimes kids pick up the darnedest things. It stinks being a good mom. And you so are because this concerns you, as it should.

 

I don't think I would make a point to try to find a gay person to talk to your kids. I can't tell what I would do in your shoes. We have a very diverse group of friends/people with which we socialize/know. My boys don't even bat an eye.

 

Here are some of the things we've taught our kids and continue to reiterate as they get older.

 

Skin color makes no difference; we are all pink on the inside.

 

Love is love. It doesn't matter who you love as long as it's healthy (and we talk about how healthy/unhealthy love).

 

There are all kinds of people with all kinds of beliefs. As long as they do no harm, it's none of your business. Respect every single person you meet. You don't have to agree with their beliefs; you must be kind. When in doubt, shut your mouth. ;)

 

Everyone has silent struggles. Mean people suck, but they are still people. Do not engage. Walk away. Show kindness. (This one is so crazy hard!)

 

If your ds is still having very negative thoughts about gays, I think watching some of the bullying videos made by gays/lesbians would be useful. The Matthew Shepard's story would be a great start. He lost his life. It's extreme. But, it's a story that must not be forgotten.

 

:grouphug: And as a friend of gays, thank you for being a concerned parent and stopping the hate.

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I just want to thank everyone for being so kind to me about this. I am looking at all the links, and I am carefully reading everything you've said.

 

And clarkd, no, there are other lesbians on this board. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure at least one of them is black... and lives in Texas, if I'm not mistaken!

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Well, here are some folks from Dallas:

 

 

And as for kids using homophobic and hateful language, best to deal with that early. This is a new world. When they get older, in college or in the workplace, they will have an unpleasant surprise. Would they call each other retarded or something similar and expect to get away with that? Would you accept that? Maybe yes, I guess, but that is sad to me.

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Yes, I think that the key is to nip in the bud the teenage tendancy to look down on other people because they're different. One week it is gay people, and the next it is fat people. Then they start on black people. They're constantly comparing themselves to others.

 

This is of course the root of bullying, and I don't tolerate it at all in our house. As we grow up it is very natural to feel uncomfortable with people who aren't like us. But that is how it is. In college and in the workplace getting along with people different than you is very important. That is one reason that we've focused on community-based activities of late versus homeschool and/or church activities. Of course there are times that you can be with people who are mostly like you, but you'll have problems if you can't respect and be around people who are otherwise.

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