The answer: You are apparently a conscientious parent. Your paramount
responsibility is to stay ahead of your children in being informed
about the reality of the world in which they are growing up.
If you try to shield them from
the truth, you will confuse and alienate them as they grow older.
Your civic and moral stewardship should include an excellent backgrounding
in human diversity. Not because that is some modern trend. Not because
I say so. Because you need to stay ahead of your children.
Your children will get the information and facts they require to
survive whether you are the first to offer these or not. And then,
demonstrating the eternal gratitude of youth, they will make up
their own minds, whether you like it or not.
The pressure on you to first become informed yourself is probably
greater as a parent than for even a single person, but the pressure
is great on all of us. The world was very complicated even back
when it seemed very simple.
Do not make the mistake of assuming that what was good enough for
your parents is good enough for you. It may fool you, but it won't
fool your children.
As a first step, you should at some point meet parents of gay
children to learn that neither gays nor their parents are different
anybody else. As a heterosexual parent of children you only presume
to be heterosexual, you should do this to stay on top of the issues,
even if you don't really give a damn. Parents of gay children have
different problems, but what you will discover that they are not
so different, and you are not so unique.
Parents who rear their children to believe that they alone are
chosen, special, and unique are doing their kids a grievous injury
from which they may never fully recover.
I would recommend PFLAG to meet parents of gay children. One meeting
is not that much to invest in your children's welfare and happiness.
Remember, there is about a 10% chance you are unknowingly the
parent of a gay child. There is a much greater chance your child
will at some point discover that he or she has befriended a gay
child. The kids need you on their side.
Don't worry, the Rev. Falwell notwithstanding, whether your children
are "gay" or "straight", there is nothing you
can do about it except to be there, be supportive, and be truthful
even when you first have to find out what the truth is.
If you lie to your children, or unknowingly deceive them, they
will know it. Even if they seem to go along with it, you may never
win back their trust again.
This means that all the claims of the "religious right"
that gays are trying to lure, entrap, entice young "recruits"
is absolute, pure twaddle. Think what you like, but personally I
do not even believe that most of the evangelistas really believe
this either. I believe it is cold, deliberate slur and slander to
manipulate the political power blocs and the dollars of the faithful.
Be that as it may, no matter what lifestyle "they" tried
to flaunt in front of your son or daughter, no power on earth (or
elsewhere) is going to be able to sway your child's basic sexual
orientation. Gays cannot be "changed", and neither can
I admit I have more sympathy for this kind of question. My parents
never asked these questions. I had a brother who was also gay, once.
A week before he was to be flown to Boston to see a shrink who would
"talk some sense into his head", he committed suicide.
No matter what else you believe, it has to be tough being a just
and fair parent in today's world. No matter what else happens in
this world, every gay and lesbian has or did have parents who, at
least at one time, loved them and were loved in return.
I think it was Arsenio Hall who said, "I'd
rather be black than gay, because, if I was black, I wouldn't have
to tell my parents".