When I was around 13 my mom told me “you better not be gay”. I had just made the softball team and that was her response. She was “right” but I would not know that until much later in my life.
As information on sexuality and gender becomes more accessible, less people are afraid of being their true selves earlier in life. In a recent study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 4 teens identify as LGBTQ. There are even people who share they’ve known of their gender and sexuality as early as age 3. Homophobia, transphobia, trans-hostility and queer-hostility prevent many people from sharing what they know about themselves to other people. The beliefs can also be internalized by members of the community which when left unchecked can cause harm within the community.
Last year my child and I attended an event, MPACT DFW’s Spa Day, and were told to leave as quickly as possible. The host didn’t feel the event was “appropriate” for my child to attend. The event was a spa day with press on nails, face masks and sparkling juice. The organization is “a social group for young gay/bi men of color.”
This year we attended a Pride Resource Fair where we made crafts, painted nails then connected with local LGBTQIA+ resources, community advocacy groups and wellness experts. I am a queer parent. My child may or not be queer. Either way I’m going to love and support my child. I need more parents and people to think this way. I need more spaces, outside of Pride month, for parents, their children and other people to exist and learn without the questioning of “appropriateness.”
I’d love for these conversations to happen in school but it’s not looking good with more and more legislation being passed to prevent conversations on race, gender and sexuality. I know many organization’s probably steer away from including parents and children because of the over-sexualization of the LGBTQIA+ community, the community’s relationship with substance use along with the fear of pursuant slander that “the community is grooming children” but the kids are gay. They’ll be gay whether you help them, educate them or not. I’d much rather live in a world where my kid doesn’t have to hide who they are or take years to connect the dots because they didn’t have access to this information.
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