Last night I went to a celebration for Rhode Island Pride, and it reminded me of a great article I read last week. Have you read this article written by a mom about her 7 year old coming out? You should. It’s amazing. This paragraph absolutely made me tear up:
Since that day, any time the word “gay” has come into conversation, he has happily announced to those around him, “I’m gay!” He says this very naturally and happily, the same way he announces other things that he likes about himself. Mention that a person is tall and he’ll quickly add, “I’m tall!” If he hears the word “Legos,” barely a second passes before he says, “Legos. I love Legos.” Saying “I’m gay” is his way of telling people: this is something I like about myself.
Until I read this paragraph I didn’t realize that this was the reason that I’ve been doing queer acivism – so that queer and/or trans kids can stop knowing there is something weird and shameful about themselves that they must hide, and recognize that they have differences that are wonderful facets of themselves. Pride shouldn’t be something we have to come to in adulthood. It should be something that we feel from the moment we start coming out to ourselves. And for that to be true, we have to change the world so that young folks get the great and positive messages this little fellow has.
On one occasion after an “I’m gay” announcement, I watched my husband reach out to ruffle our son’s hair. “I know, buddy,” my husband said to him. “And you’re awesome, too.” That’s how we’re handling it. We want him to know we hear him, and that he’s wonderful. It feels like the right thing to do, and that’s all we have to go by. We don’t have any other examples.