What if you were the new parent, teacher or friend of a kid with a gay mother or father?
This dad talks about raising stepchildren that have a natural father who’s gay, "I am a straight man raising 3 wonderful stepchildren whose biological father is gay." Brahnamin continues, "Having grown up without my own father it is imperative to me that these kids not grow up without theirs...certainly that they don't pick up the stupid prejudices that seem to abound in today's world." (read more)
These tips can help parents, friends and educators support children with gay parents:
Kids can absorb information at early ages. Homosexuality is not perverse, nor is it strictly a topic for the bedroom. More than likely your kids will surprise you by asking why they have two moms or two dads. If they don't beat you to the seemingly awkward conversation, talk with them about the emotional bonds same-gender-loving people share and how that compares to other relationships. Have practice discussions with your spouse or a friend in preparation for the conversation.
Walk Normal, Don't Tip Toe
Being the kid of a gay parent is becoming more common as an increasing number of gay couples choose to raise children
. Use direct (but appropriate) language while speaking with kids about their gay parent(s). Speak candidly and discuss how having a gay parent affects family, friendships or classmates. Show your children that it's ok to be gay by being comfortable, direct and confident.
There's No Need for Special Treatment
Being the child of a gay parent is not a disease or disability, and even if it were, there's no need to treat them any differently than you would any other child. The love, nurturing and respect gay parents have for their children is independent of their same-gender-loving feelings.
Break the Myth
Despite what some anti-gay conservatives or organizations may claim, there is no direct link between homosexuality and pedophilia. According to a study cited by adoption specialist Carrie Craft
, "A child's risk of being molested by his or her relatives' heterosexual partner is over one hundred time greater than by someone who might be identifiable as being homosexual."
See The Future, Share The Possibilities
When most people are coming out or dealing with friends that are gay, they focus on the negative perceptions of gay life imposed by internal and external homophobia. Gay people aren't destined to being alone
, contracting HIV
, or living promiscuous lives. Show the child of gay parents a glimpse of a positive and productive future for their gay parents. Emphasize that their relationship with the gay parent remains the same despite his or her homosexuality.
Prepare for Negative Realities
While it's important to focus on the positive, there are some realities you should also share with the kid of a gay parent. Prepare them for the possibility of ridicule, harassment, discrimination or hate for having a gay parent. Make them aware that their parents may also experience forms of discrimination.
Educate Those Around Them
Ignorance is never bliss. Try to extend your conversations of tolerance to the kids' friends, parents and teachers. Try to increase awareness about the risk of ridicule or harm from the child's peers. This is also an opportunity to discuss communication techniques with teachers. Don't wait until an incident arises where a conversation of tolerance must be presented. Start educating early. In classrooms, for instance, let educators know that it's not appropriate to single out or identify the children with gay parents, but do make them aware of their presence.
Lead by Example
Kids and the community often mirror your actions as a parent, teacher or educator. Monitor how you refer to gay people and your actions around gay individuals. In your comfort and acceptance lies theirs.
Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE)
is an extensive resource for kids of gay parents. They have active support groups where children of gay parents can openly discuss issues and relate to other kids with gay parents.