A Non-Homophobic Home
My faith impels me to teach my children that love comes in many forms, both straight and gay.
"Mommy, do you know what a fag is?" my 7-year-old asked.
I sighed; I was tempted to rest my head on the steering wheel of our minivan, but that's hard to do when the car is moving. Remain calm, I told myself.
"Actually, honey, there's no such thing as a fag. It's a mean name that folks call men who love other men, to make them feel bad," I told Allen.
Through the rearview mirror, I could make out his puzzled expression.
"But I love my daddy, and he's a man," he said.
"That's true. But I'm talking about two men who love each other the way Mommy and Daddy do."
"Oh. OK." And he went back to playing his Gameboy.
That's as far as the conversation went on that particular afternoon, but it pops up again periodically. In a society as highly sexualized as this one, many of us find ourselves talking to our children about things we thought we'd have years to discuss. True, I first discussed with my oldest son the basics of sexuality when he was three and a half. Why? Because I was pregnant with his little brother, and Allen asked me how the baby got inside me. But there are few experiences equal to attempting an explanation--in a public place--of why so many magazines have pictures of women on the covers with "just their bras on, Mommy--you can even see their nipples!" I told them that some magazines--and some people--will do anything to get attention, and that showing women's bodies that way was one of them. That answer worked for now, but I know that the questions, prompted by radio, TV, and the kids down the block, will continue to emerge.