Monday, March 29, 2010

Explaining Gay Issues to Children

The issue of homosexuality has become so much more prominent in today’s culture then it was just a generation ago. Terms such as “gay”, ‘lesbian’, and bisexual are becoming much more common in today’s world. This shift is shown by how much more openly gay celebrates who are now in the media such as Rose O Donnell, Ellen DeGeneres, Lance Bass and Elton John. As well as movies and televisions shows such as Brokeback Mountain, Kissing Jessica Stein, Queer Eye and Will and Grace the show homosexual life styles.

As well as being more prominent in the media there is now a much bigger push for gay rights, such as in 2004 same sex marriage s became legal in Massachusetts, in November 2008 they became legal in Connecticut and just recently in March 2010 they became legal in DC.

This is such a drastic change because in the culture of the 1950’s the issue of homosexuality was a very taboo one and often swept under the rug and now people are much more open to this life style. When referring to someone as homosexual it means that he or she is sexually attracted to members of the same. Terms such as ‘gay’ refers to homosexual men and ‘lesbian’ refers to a homosexual women. The term ‘bisexual’ refers to those who are attracted to both men and women. Nobody knows for sure why people are homosexual, some studies oh human sexuality believe that it is a result of genetics social or individual factors, either alone or combination. Though since nobody knows for sure there is much confusion about this issue. As well no matter how far that gay rights have come there is still a long way for them to go because homophobia which is an irrational fear, prejudice or discrimination towards homosexual people. Homophobia can vary from name in calling in school to serious hate crimes such as assault and murder. Homophobia is usually based on fear and ignorance.

When wondering where people get these fearful and hateful ideas towards homosexual individuals it is interesting to explore into how parents have taught their children about this issue. When surveyed many people do not remember ever being spoken to about homosexuality as a a child. Some had it be explained and had it treated as any other type of relationship that was the same as a heterosexual relationship. Though many remember their first interaction with the idea of homosexuality to be in school. In schools terms such as ‘faggot’ and ‘gay’ are tossed around loosely as adjectives that have negative meaning attached to them. If that is a child’s first interaction with the concept of homosexuality it is no surprise that ideas of homophobia based on ignorance grow.

It seems that parents do want to shield their children from the concept of homosexuality. These commercials arguing for the passage of proposition 8 in California in 2008 prove how it was believed that teaching children about homosexuality would just confuse them.

As well as in Lexington Massachusetts there was controversy in schools when parents a second graders were protesting the teaching of a fairy tale about gay marriage to the class without warning the parents. The book “King &King” showed different types of weddings where a prince marries another prince instead of a princess. A Lexington parent complained staying “By Presenting this kind of issue at such a young age they’re trying to indoctrinate of children. They’re intentionally present this a norm and it’s not a value that our family supports”

Questions to Think About

1. If you were a parent how would you explain homosexuality to your child.

2. 2 Do you believe that terms such as “gay” or “faggot” are more likely to create homophobia.

3. Do you side with the parents who complained to the Lexington second grade teacher.


  1. If I were a parent I would want to help my children understand homosexuality and not shelter them from it. I disagree with the parent from Lexington. I feel that if you don't explain the concept of homosexulaity it will only leave children more confused later in life. If they are taught that being straight is what is normal and right than once they are confronted with homosexuals they could be confused. Teaching them young will help them understand that it is normal and they will not be confused. The more time they have to understand homosexuality the more comfortable they will be with it. I do think that discriminating terms such as "faggot" and "gay" only fuel homophobia. Usually these terms are used to describe something or someone dumb or stupid. To use these words as a replacement for stupid will place the idea in children's heads that being gay is wrong.


  2. I do not believe that words such as "gay" and "faggot" are more likely to create homophobia. I believe that homophobic people do use these words in a negative and degrading way when they are referring to homosexuals. However, I do not think people even realize the word they are using and looking at it in relation to sexuality. I do not support use of the words and I think at a young age children need to be taught to not use them however I do frequently hear a younger cousin or a younger person calling something gay or calling a friend a fag and they do not look at it in a sexual light. Yes, the word has a very negative connotation but I do not think it promotes or escalates homophobia.

  3. If i was a parent, i would want my children to be well informed about everything. I do not want my children to be close minded to any issue...including same sex marriage.

  4. I believe that modern’s world has changed dramatically when it comes to addressing of gay issues to children. I believe we live in the world where it is more comfortable to talk about it to children than it would of been before. I believe that this topic can relate other issues such as dealing with different cultures, skin colors, etc. And if I was a parent, I explain that it is okay to be different and accept people who they are. I think it is more important to respect others who might not be just like you.