The internet, and specifically blogging, is a wonderful place for sharing opinions and ideas. You may not agree with what others have to say but as soon as you click off their page its gone, no harm done. You don’t have to think about it anymore.
A few months ago I read some blog posts that I just can’t shake off. The words in these posts and the comments were so damaging that I have to speak out. If I’d have tried to write this post then, I would have thrown the laptop out of the window. Just to give you an idea, one of the posts were titled ‘How to stop your son from being gay.’
I won’t go into too much detail about the blogs themselves but the basic premise was that there are certain things you should never do, or always do, to stop your son turning gay. One of the bloggers in particular was telling her readers, among other things, to never allow their sons to wear dresses, girls fancy dress costumes or even play with girls toys. She had gotten this advice herself from a ‘family specialist’ at her church* and was doing it herself after her son had been trying on his sisters shoes.
She wanted to pass on this invaluable information that this ‘specialist’ had given her, mainly that by allowing her son to do these things she was not only encouraging him to become a homosexual but that when he becomes an adult he won’t be accepted by gay or straight communities if he chooses to wear women’s clothing. That she was damaging his future by encouraging efemininity.
He was six.
He was trying on shoes.
Some of the advice that these blogs were dishing out were so damaging that I feel I need to address some of these matters. Yes maybe by giving you my opinions I am doing exactly the same thing as these other mothers, but my advice is far less harmful. If I’m wrong and after heeding my advice your child comes out to you in the future. Then I’m sorry, but that was how life was meant to be.
Hold them tight, tell them you love them, support them, then get on with your lives happy in the knowledge that your child feels accepted and loved.
Here are my answers to some of their solutions (Not one of these blogs mentioned girls but I added some extra advice for that):
Wearing a dress, or girls shoes, or girls fancy dress, even makeup will not TURN your son gay. They may or may not continue this habit into adulthood and if they do develop a penchant for wearing girl’s clothing you don’t need to encourage or discourage the habit. Accept it as you would any other choice. Just make you child feel loved and safe. Let them find their own way in life knowing that you are by their side.
Same goes for girls wearing boys clothes. (I was the biggest tomboy around as a child)
A father hugging and kissing their son past toddlerhood will not TURN him gay. Same goes for discouraging affection between same sex siblings. He may become isolated, depressed and unloved but not gay!
Your son doesn’t need to be encouraged to do ‘manly’ activities. Making them do physical activities like chopping wood and playing rough sports will not ‘sweat out the gay’. Some boys just prefer more sedate activities, get over it and enjoy the fact they’re not constantly going through the knees of their trousers!
Your daughter won’t TURN gay because she wants to play football or go camping. Some girls just enjoy running around, climbing trees and getting muddy, some like tinkering with cars. Keeping your daughter at home sewing, cleaning and cooking will not change her sexual preferences.
Boys playing with girls won’t TURN gay, neither will girls who play with boys. Let’s be honest here, if you think about it. Really think about it, isn’t that a bit arse backwards anyway?
Boys who play with dolls or ‘girl’s toys’ will not TURN gay. There’s nothing sweeter than seeing a child playing gently with a baby doll, or making you that first ‘cup of tea’ with the pretend kitchen. They are learning valuable life lessons through play, why not encourage all children not just the girls?
And finally: No, even if you REALLY believe it, you cannot ‘pray away the gay’!
It has taken me four attempts to write this as just thinking about it makes me so angry. I can’t believe that in this day and age, people still believe things like this. If a person is gay, more often than not they knew themselves from a very young age. If they didn’t ‘know’ they would often have felt different or confused, until they did realise. There is nothing anyone could have done to TURN them.
I have photo’s of my husband in a very pretty dress when he was a child, he is not gay.
My seven year old was always playing with his sisters dressing up clothes, playing with their dolls and getting his hair done ‘all pretty’. He now loves grubbing about and getting mucky, even if he wears a bow tie and fedora whilst doing it!
One thing that angered me the most was that most of the commenters were grateful for this information. Glad that they had some advice on how to treat their children. Glad to put a halt to their concerns over their sons being gay. These commenters didn’t just read and disregard this harmful information, they accepted it as fact. They were willing to risk psychologically damaging their children on the say so of a random person on the internet.
But it’s okay because some of the advice came from a ‘family specialist’.
*The fact that these women all happened to religious made no bearing on my anger toward this subject. I have heard similar things said from fathers especially, who are not religious at all, these women just happened to be the catalyst.
Just to calm me down a little here is a sweet picture of my son with his baby doll, that he adores:
So can you really stop your son from being gay? I know what my opinion is, what’s yours?