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"I Am A Concerned Parent"
Section 11 of 16

I am a parent of young children. I have no objection to "live and let live" for gay people, but I do not want my children exposed to an openly gay culture.


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 from 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 your children.

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".


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