How do you talk to kids about homosexuality?

I asked fans on our AJCMomania Facebook page to send in hot topics for this month. You guys sent in a bunch of great ideas so I’m going to weave those in during this month. This topic comes from one of our regulars. Here’s what she wrote:

“I have MANY gay friends and have struggled in the past with how much to let the children digest regarding that part of my life….my friends know that I do not spiritually condone it. Biblically…it isn’t covered at all. Leviticus is thrown around a lot…but it doesn’t delve in it deeply. But I have come to this conclusion….if it is indeed a sin….and I believe to a degree it is….how does one reconcile it? It isn’t mentioned in the 10 Commandments. Is it any worse than stealing a pack of gum…sassing your parents….murder? How can a parent teach about homosexuality? My kids know that my very best friends in life are 2 gay men. But they also know that their gayness isn’t who they are…and it especially isn’t the reason why I love them so much. So….I have found my spiritual and moral balance concerning this….how do others fare?”

So how do you teach your kids about homosexuality? How do you balance your religious beliefs with real-world experience – i.e. if you do have gay friends? What’s a good age to even address it?

298 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

January 6th, 2010
7:07 am

I am interested in this topic but have to head to work. so I will check in later.

Jane

January 6th, 2010
7:25 am

First of all, to address one point she wrote: “if it is indeed a sin…is it any worse than stealing a pack of gum…?” Man views different levels of sin. But to God, a sin is a sin – there’s no ranking order.

Now, I admit, I don’t understand these schools that have “gay clubs.” Where a bunch of 13, 14, 15 year old meet as “gays.” How do kids who haven’t had sex with anyone (I know lots of kids do have sex), know that they are gay? That totally baffles me.

lakerat

January 6th, 2010
7:37 am

Jane -

We discussed this topic a few weeks back – I asked the same question you asked, and some of the bloggers castigated me for saying that until you do the sex act you cannot be “lesbian” or “gay”. Their belief is that you do not have to have sex to tell the world that you are homosexual. I still maintain that until you have sex with someone of the same sex, and then continue to have sex with only persons of your gender, can you be lesbian or gay. You can prefer to deal with women only or men only, but that does not make you homosexual – only, in my opinion, when you “do the deed” and continue with only those of your same sex, can you really be homosexual.

I am just preparing you for the same vitriol that I received then…..

mom2alex&max

January 6th, 2010
7:57 am

Lakerat, that *might* sound logical, but let me ask you this: are you saying you didn’t know you were straight before you started having sex (with women)?

Jane

January 6th, 2010
8:00 am

lakerat, thanks for the warning. I understand that boys like to hang out with boys and girls like to hang out with girls. That’s fine. But, I too, don’t see how a boy can say he’s gay unless he’s experienced it. He may not like it when/if he eventually tries the sexual aspect of it. Even an effeminate (sp?) boy may not turn out to actually be gay and it seems like these “clubs” are just focusing kids in one direction instead of letting them develop naturally.

Just my opinion, but I’m sure others on here will enjoy trying to force their opinions on me.

JATL

January 6th, 2010
8:06 am

I have no problems with homosexuality, and we have several gay family members and friends. We haven’t been asked about it too much, but we just say that lots of families have a mommy and a daddy and lots of boys like to marry girls and girls like to marry boys, but some mommies like to be with mommies and daddies with daddies. There are gay families at our preschool, and plenty of gay people where we live, so it’s not unusual for our kids to see gay couples.

@Jane and Lakerat -being gay isn’t all about sex! As many of us said last time, when you started going through puberty you started having attractions. I guess the two of you were attracted to the opposite sex just like I was, and I remember those OVERWHELMING first crushes and feelings very well. It’s the same for gay kids -only they are attracted to the same sex, and depending on the school they attend, it can be much safer and better to have a group of you than to be or feel like the only, lonely one.

lakerat

January 6th, 2010
8:06 am

See what I mean, Jane?

jct

January 6th, 2010
8:08 am

In my family we incorporated it with any other discussion of sex, sexuality and love. Each of these items were discussed from any early age as our son as appropriate for his age and question level.

Discussion started with love and how love is most important in a relationship. You can start with love very early.

@Jane – those clubs are not ‘gay clubs. Those clubs are gay/straight alliances. Way different. These young people don’t have to be gay or even questioning to participate. These groups are to help stop bullying and other negative issues that happen in schools.

Again, I will stated I absolutely knew that I was a lesbian WAY before I had sex. Sex has absolutely nothing to do with attraction. I am attracted to women, not men. Sex is a physical manifestisation of the love that I feel for my spouse.

Photius

January 6th, 2010
8:10 am

Oh no…. you’re going to have every religious wack-o, God-Squad type from the Bible Belt firing away at this one….

Andrea

January 6th, 2010
8:26 am

Before I had a discussion with my child about homosexuality, I had a discussion with my friend. My friend, “Gary”, is gay. I love him dearly and consider him to be a member of my family. Based on my religious views, I don’t condone homosexuality. I had a candid conversation with my friend and explained to him that while I love him, I view the lifestyle as a sin. I explained that I would no more disown him than I would my philandering brother. I also explained my views on the subject, I listened to his views, and after I cried about it many days, I held firm to my beliefs.

My son knows that Uncle Gary is gay. He also knows it is not something we condone. I explained my views on the subject and I listened to what my son had to say on the subject. I was surprised at how much he had to say. My son also had a talk with Gary. Gary explained that while this is something we don’t agree on, it doesn’t stop Gary from being his Uncle. Gary is still there for school celebrations, holidays, birthdays, and just plain old Tuesdays. At this time, Gary’s partner is not involved in my son’s life. Perhaps, it can happen in the future, but not now. There is no separate hell for anyone based on his/her sin. One sin does not have soverign immunity over another. All will land you in the same place.

As for the gay clubs in schools, I am not a proponent of the idea. I know the comments will come, but I agree with the other posters. I think these clubs are steering kids in one direction. I don’t get it.

RJ

January 6th, 2010
8:37 am

I have always struggled with accepting homosexuality. My parents taught us that it was a sin to be gay, and so I believed just that. Once I hit my 20’s many of my male friends came out of the closet. I didn’t run and refuse to be their friend. I just had a lot of questions. Today, after teaching many kids, I firmly believe that you are born homosexual. It’s no more a choice for them than it is for me to be heterosexual. But even when I defend this point, I get some of the most baffling responses from my “Christian” bretheren. For example, last week I had an extremely disturbing conversation. I was explaining that a former student had been embarassed by his gay sister and said many inappropriate statements around other students about gay people. When I spoke to the mother she brushed it off and said, “Oh, I never knew he felt that way.” I suggest she sit down and talk to him because he was obviously torn because I knew he loved his sister. She became defensive and didn’t want to discuss it anymore. She had not accepted her daughter’s “lifestyle” either. Well, when I told this story to this woman, she stated that gay children are all products of molestation that they can’t remember. Even as newborns. What?! Conversation over!

I have had many discussions with my kids about homosexuality. They know where I stand. As a Christian it is not my place to judge them. I have gay friends that are Christians. My God is a loving and forgiving God. God doesn’t love them any less because they’re gay just as he doesn’t love me any less because I had pre-marital sex, lied and swore.

mom2alex&max

January 6th, 2010
8:38 am

Lakerat and Jane, you misunderstand me I think. I do not condone homosexuality. However, I am not sure people only discover their sexual orientation when they have sex. I mean, I knew I liked boys WAY before I started having sex with them!!! I’d have to assume that gay people are the same way. They are attracted to their own gender before they start having sex.

But I also don’t agree with the clubs. But I know they are not going away in public schools, so I guess I’ll just have to deal with it.

Lori

January 6th, 2010
8:44 am

Um, Biblically it isn’t covered at all??? You might want to speak with your pastor/priest on this topic. I believe it is covered pretty clearly.

Julia

January 6th, 2010
8:47 am

Photius I beg your pardon but I find that very offensive. This is an open forum and everyone has their views… Yours are no better or worse than any one eles.

Hi There

January 6th, 2010
8:57 am

In our family we have several members who are gay. Growing up it was never spoken about in a negative way and being Catholic (the only one in the family I might add) I spoke to my preist about it to clear up the whole religious side of things. My family has always been a bit more open than most to be honest, but I have always been greatful for it, esp. as I have gotten older. Someone being gay is nothing on my radar screen as most of my best friends are gay and it doesn’t have anything to do with me if they are.

As far as your kids are concerned, you should just be open and honest with them and if you are confused, speak to your priest or pastor and ask them for ways to speak to your children on the matter. I will be open and frank with my daughter as she’s already been around many gay people and I don’t ever want her to grow up and be different to someone because they are gay or have blue hair. Just me, but that is how I was raised.

Best of luck T on this topic today. I just hope everyone keeps it together and off their high horses.

anonymous coward

January 6th, 2010
8:58 am

Some postings have referred to homosexuality as a “lifestyle” as if it were a choice like choosing what to wear that day. Perhaps that is what is causing some confusion, because it is not a choice; it merely is. Nothing is black and white, but *most* people don’t choose to be hetero- or homo-sexual. They just *are* that way. As one poster graciously commented, it isn’t for us to judge one another or even to try to understand it. We merely have to accept it regardless of your approval.

As for the gay-straight alliances (not clubs!) in schools – I want to reinforce what another person has already posted. These are gatherings for all regardless of sexual orientation to express themselves in the comfort and protection of friends and like-minded, non-judgemental people. Perhaps you remember how cruel humans can be to one another when they see someone else as different. The gay-straight alliances provide a valuable safety zone for those trying to safely be themselves, nothing more.

YesIamGAY

January 6th, 2010
8:59 am

For all of you that dont understand the gay life style you never will unless you sit down and talk to someone who is. I am a GAY Male and was not molested as a child or out to jump every guy I see.. I have been in a relationship for over 16 years with the same guy and love him dearly. My family loves him as family as well and accepts him every bit as much as my sister-n-law. I knew when I was 6 years old I like boys and always played that in my head and wanted to be like everyone else but knew inside I was not. This is not a life style I think most gay people say they would choose but go with the true feelings and true attractions to the same sex. It is not a easy lifestyle but you accept yourself for who you are. So I ask all the straight people did you choose to be straight ? Do you want to sleep with the same sex ? No it is what you where attracked to at a young age and did not have to choose. So with the groups and open minded people learning to accept the lifesyle and love people fo who they are and not for who is in there bed at night is the way we all need to be. I dont judge a straight couple when i see them walking down the street and neither shoudl a gay couple.

Bubba

January 6th, 2010
9:01 am

Jesus says nothing about homosexuality. There is, of course, Paul’s letter to the Romans, but they are Paul’s words, not Jesus’. Some will try to use Mark 7:1, but it’s ambiguous at best.

The bottom line is that homophobes use Scripture to advance a social agenda. It starts with the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Reformation, the witch hunts… I could go on and on. The bottom line is that who a person loves is between that person and God, and He is the only one to whom we must ultimately answer.

That’s what I tell my kids. It doesn’t matter who you love. What matters is whether that love is expressed in an honest and devotional way.

Dan

January 6th, 2010
9:01 am

The same way you would discuus polygamy, bondage, beastiality or any number of practices outside the norm. The problem is people want to be politically correct and don’t want to deal with the issues. I could not care any less what people want do. One of interesting ironies I find is that if you believe in evolution, homosexuality clearly creates an evolutionary disadvantage ergo, it is a defect or miswiring. So unless you are inclined to march or raise the banner for any number of other sexual orientations you are as much a hypocrite as those who call it a sin or abhor homesexuality for any other reason. (here comes all the quotes from experts)

Blake

January 6th, 2010
9:01 am

Wow. This is shocking, and really speaks to the socio-economic background of the author. The reference of Leveticus, the bible, etc when mentioning homosexuality is so base.
The bible says many things…we should slaughter pigs on Saturday, we should own slaves, women should be deferrential to men. On that front, I don’t believe hyphenated last names are bandied about in the bible! Wake up, get an education, expand your mind and pick up a medical or science journal. Really outrageous. I implore all readers….Take the same article…cross out the word homosexuality, and REPLACE IT WITH, women, african americans, hispanics, handicapped, or ANY demographic segment, and read it then. Really, really….base. Momania….? Who would want a Mom that labels hers two best friends, sinners ? What?

DAVID

January 6th, 2010
9:03 am

TO LIBERALs…..nothing is sinful….However……………to a liberal……WATERboarding a terrorist for INTEL is a terrible sin……..

Julia

January 6th, 2010
9:05 am

Yes a sin is a sin and one does not out rank the other. I just dont judge because I have my own judgement day coming. I also dont care what someone does behind closed doors unitl it affects me or my child. Then I have a HUGE issue. With that being said, if you are gonna be gay, be gay. Dont lie, dont hide and just be who you are.

Theresa I would love to talk to you off line :).. you will just fall over laughing :)

Katherine

January 6th, 2010
9:07 am

Comments like this are why we still have hatred in this country:
“if it is indeed a sin….and I believe to a degree it is.” Appalling.

norman

January 6th, 2010
9:08 am

I Corinthians Chapter 6, verse 9 & 10
states: “Do you not know that the unrightwous will not inher the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor HOMOSEXUALS, nor sodomites,nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers nor extortioners will inhereit the kingdom of God.”
How plain can that be?

Julia

January 6th, 2010
9:10 am

I find it very interesting who gets their panites in a wad right out of the gate…

Julia

January 6th, 2010
9:13 am

Thank you Norman

Patricia

January 6th, 2010
9:14 am

The subject came up for us when our son was 4 and spent the day playing with his friend from church who has two moms. On the way home he asked who R was, and I told him it was A’s mom. “Well, then who’s M?” he asked. She’s A’s mom, too, I said, then explained there were all different kinds of families. He was quiet a moment, then said, “I guess it would have been pretty boring for God to make every family the same.” In the five years since then we’ve had other conversations when he’s brought the topic up — like the “gay” toilet in the boys’ bathroom at school (if you pee in it you’re gay is the lore) and how some people make fun of or are mean to people who are gay. But he always brings it back to his friend with two moms and other gay couples at church and that there is nothing wrong with them. He gives me hope for future generations.

Peadawg

January 6th, 2010
9:14 am

Just tell them it’s wrong, it’s a sin, and it’s not normal.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 6th, 2010
9:14 am

Hey Blake — to be clear with you this is a reader submitted topic — I didn’t write this and I’m pretty much staying out of it other than to moderate.

mm

January 6th, 2010
9:14 am

Heck who do you think raises the property values in your run down neighborhoods?

Andrea

January 6th, 2010
9:15 am

I really don’t get those that are championing acceptance and tolerance are some of the same ones vilifying Theresa for expressing her opinion.

M

January 6th, 2010
9:15 am

Believe it or not, there are people out there who don’t think the Bible is the last word on anything except 3,000-year-old cow sacrifices.

Get your morality from somewhere else, people…and stop using it to justify your fear and hatred of others.

oneofeach4me

January 6th, 2010
9:16 am

@ David. As a Liberal I feel the need to correct that statement of yours. Most Liberals are NOT religious.. therefore the waterboarding of a terrorist is not seen as a sin but rather as just plain inhumane. That’s all.

As for the original posted question for one of Momainia’s readers… I really think it should depend on the age. I remember my daughter asking me one time about two women in the grocery store, she was 5. At that time, I told her they were close friends. Now that we have had the birds and bees talk, at age 8, she understands that some bees like bees and other’s like birds or vice versa. In other words, let a kid be a kid and don’t boggle them down too much with political correctness or the way of the world. They will have plenty of time for that. Just teach tolerance everyday and when the time comes, it will trickle down to every area they explore or come in contact with.

It's Really Simple

January 6th, 2010
9:16 am

Jane, if a person has fantasies or have crushes on or about the same sex whether they have had sex or not they are gay. Don’t heterosexual kids 13, 14 and 15 fantasize and have crushes on or about the opposite sex. Due to peer and societal pressures gay kids hide their crushes and keep thier fantasies to themselves. You and only you know what’s going on in your head unless you share it. Having said that, I was around 17 and my closet door was about to burst wide open due to the frustration of pretending to be something that I knew I was not – heterosexual. I could not share my innermost feelings with anyone, and thought suicide was the only way out. But something inside of me said hang in there; soon you will be out of high school and on your way to college where you may seek reprieve. Are you more enlightende now, Jane?

Tom

January 6th, 2010
9:16 am

Norman’s comment makes him a “reviler.” Per I Cor 6:10, he will not inherit the kingdom of God. Wow, sucks to be you, Norman.

Patricia

January 6th, 2010
9:17 am

Enter your comments here
And I would add that to liberals treating anyone as less than human, and not recognizing that all people are created in the image of God is a sin. So yes, waterboarding anyone is a sin. So is denying them health care. And so is persecuting someone because of who they love (and I”m talking mature, concensual relationships here). Liberals are very aware that sin abounds.

What's a...

January 6th, 2010
9:18 am

…”panites”?

And I am pretty sure, norman, that the ORIGINAL writing of 1 Corinthians did not use the word “homosexual” – that is a translation that “evolved” though I am in agreement with what you are trying to say.

tru story

January 6th, 2010
9:20 am

As another gay male, I had my first crush on another boy in kindergarten as I think back of when all this started. I also dated girls and went to prom and did the “normal” stuff but realized that I was just a little bit different but didn’t want to believe that I could be gay. I prayed about it, but just realized that’s who I was and told my mom that I was gay and she said that she didn’t understand it but still loved me regardless. Now with dad we don’t talk about it at all but he knows.

The Truth

January 6th, 2010
9:20 am

2 comments for the price of one.
First. Jesus was gay. Why do you guys think John was singled out as the “desciple whom Jesus loved”? Why were John and Jesus laying beside each other at the last supper? Why did Jesus weep when he heard that Lazarus died? Why was Lazarus also referred to as one “whom Jesus loved”? Why was Lazarus so special that Jesus raised him from the dead? How ’bout Jesus and Lazarus were lovers. DaVinci Code had it all wrong folks. This is the truth that the Vatican has been suppressing for centuries. I am far more like Jesus than any straight man because I’ve never experienced original sin.
Comment 2. All you straight married people need to take a look at craigs list m4m personals and see how many married men are out there looking for gay hookups. You might also take note of how many young guys are out there looking for it.
Point is I’m really sick of all you straight people holding your bible and your marriage up as a shield. It’s only a shield in your own mind. In reality it’s nothing. Open your eyes for God’s sake!

Patricia

January 6th, 2010
9:21 am

And there are plenty of liberals who are religious. I’m liberal BECAUSE I’m a Christian. Jesus was about as liberal as it gets.

Beyonce

January 6th, 2010
9:21 am

I have 2 kids and my son told me was gay. He is now 15. And I’m really having a hard time dealing with this. Someone in my neighbhoood told my other son that his brother is gay. I had to talk to my other son about his brother being gay. I really dont understand. I guess I’m Embarrassed.

Julia

January 6th, 2010
9:24 am

Jesus gay?? That has to be the funniest thing I have ever heard.. I would love to be a fly on the wall when you and him are talking one on one

Williebkind

January 6th, 2010
9:24 am

“I have MANY gay friends and have struggled in the past with how much to let the children digest regarding that part of my life”

Where do you hang out to have that many homosexual friends. That statement tells me the population of homosexuals must be 30% to 40% or you are deliberately living in a homosexual community.

The answer I teach my children and kids around me is that homosexuality is a vile disgusting behavior acceptable to only small groups and athiests. You can be homosexual because that is the law but that does not make you normal.

Tolerant

January 6th, 2010
9:24 am

I have no issue with homosexuality, just as long as everyone isn’t real gay about it.

Went the pride parade one time with some friends, felt that set back the acceptance of homosexuality a good 100 years

oneofeach4me

January 6th, 2010
9:27 am

@Patricia that is why I said MOST not ALL. I was only speaking of the Liberals I am in contact with, wasn’t attempting to offend anyone.

Williebkind

January 6th, 2010
9:27 am

The Truth

January 6th, 2010
9:20 am
You sure do know very little about the Jewish culture! Your remark qualifies my statement homosexuals are not normal.

DAVID

January 6th, 2010
9:28 am

CHECK OUT {CRAIGSLIST.org}……& you will learn all you want about gays….WOMEN having sex with women…………MEN…having sex with other men……..

Jane

January 6th, 2010
9:29 am

Alright, “YesIamGAY” and “tru story” – you two are a little extreme.

YesIamGAY said that when he was 6 he realized he liked boys. Whatever. Even straight folks don’t know at 6 they like the other sex. In fact, most 6 year old boys “don’t like girls.” So, your 6 year old view wasn’t an admission of gayness.

tru story said that he had a crush in kindergarten. Again, hogwash. At 5 years old you aren’t “in love” with another kid in that kind of way.

If you folks want to say you’ve been gay since you were young, fine, but those examples are seriously flawed.

Julia

January 6th, 2010
9:29 am

The purpose of Lazarus’ sickness. We often do not understand the purpose of many of the events of life. In fact, some incidents may be without purpose. However, Lazarus’ death had a purpose. His sickness was “not unto death” (vs. Jn. 11: 4). Lazarus’ sickness did result in unquestionable death, but death was not to be the permanent end result. The sickness and death of Lazarus had a higher purpose, “for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (Ibid.). This miracle would also strengthen the faith of Jesus’ disciples and many of the observers (vs. 15; 45).

The reason Jesus delayed coming to Bethany. Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother was sick, but Jesus delayed going to Bethany (vs. 3, 6). They believed Jesus would come and heal their brother (vs. 21, 32). Jesus did not delay out of indifference or because he was too busy (vs. 5). Jesus knew there was a more important purpose to Lazarus’ sickness that took priority over Mary and Martha’s anxiety (vs. 4). How many times we believe a matter should be thus and so, but just as Mary and Martha we do not understand the intent of God! Jesus was firm and even though he loved these people greatly, he put duty first. Sometimes it may appear that God does not care for his people, but could it be that since he knows the future that he does not grant the immediate request? (See I Jn. 3: 22; I Pet. 3: 12.)

Some observations regarding death. Jesus referred to Lazarus’ death as a sleep (vs. 11-13). The death of saints is often considered to be sleep (Matt. 27: 52; Acts 7: 60). Such an allusion is not because death is annihilation or unconsciousness, but because sleep is incompatible with suffering, weariness, or pain (see Lk. 16: 19-31).

Some considerations relative to Lazarus’ resurrection. Jesus came to the tomb and commanded that the rock be removed (vs. 38, 39). Lazarus had been in the grave for four days already (vs. 17, 39). As a consequence, decay had already begun (vs. 39). Lazarus was wrapped in the typical grave clothes (vs. 44). Jesus had already raised Jairus’ daughter while her body was still in her father’s house (Mk. 5: 35-43). He had also raised the widow’s son while the body was being carried to the place of burial (Lk. 7: 11-17). However, there is not a recorded case of Jesus raising one whose body was already in the state of decay (vs. 39).

Williebkind

January 6th, 2010
9:29 am

Patricia

January 6th, 2010
9:21 am
You and Truth should got to the library together and read up on Jewish Culture. You will see you can place Jesus in the liberal category.