Friday, November 18, 2005

The Straight Truth ... thoughts provoked by Oprah's show yesterday entitled "When I Knew I was Gay"

I thought it was a good show and I am really intrigued about the whole topic. I'm not even certain how I feel or what I believe to be true when it comes to "Are you born gay?" or "Do you choose to be gay?" I think it may be a little of both depending on the person.

Totally not the point to my post today. My thoughts are about how some of the people were saying "How they knew..."

Grammy award winning musician Melissa Etheridge recently shared her experience
growing up gay. "I remember crying one Christmas because my grandfather bought
me a truck," she says. "I remember crying because I knew that it wasn't normal
for girls to want a truck."
And others stated similar incidences of girls doing typically "boy" things and boys doing typically "girl" things. For example, the men talking about how they used to dress up in their mothers heels and purses and things.

And they are all agreeing that these are OBVIOUS signs.

Okay, so here's my grief with this logic: I, as well as MANY of my friends and both of my siblings, would definitely be homosexuals if this were accurate. I loved sports growing up, loved the rough and tumble stuff we call "boy" and catching crabs on the beach, helping my dad fix his truck, playing street hockey, digging in the dirt with my tonka trucks. I really didn't like dolls and mostly preferred to have my hands in grease and mud. I did some girly things too but I really was a Tom Boy. I even have a "tonka" scar on my lip where I got a little too close and closed the tailgate of my pickup truck on my mouth.

Many of my girl friends were the same. My sister was the same. And then my brother, though very boyish in his love for all of the above-mentioned things, didn't have a choice with the hand-me-down girly stuff but to play with some of it.

Our next door neighbour, a boy, played with his dolls more than I ever did. He carried them around and took care of his babies all the time.

I understand that if all of these things were coupled with obvious statements of attraction to the opposite sex at a young age then it could certainly be a sign. For example, the one girl talked about telling her mom when she was 10 that she liked women. Yeah, that's probably a good sign. And we all know that there really are some instances where a guy is clearly gay and probably did spend most of his time in his mothers dresses and putting on makeup and dancing in front of the mirror.

But to be honest, I just don't think this in and of itself can say anything about the sexual orientation of a child. I do not understand at all how Melissa Etheridge could have been so upset about simply wanting to play with trucks, unless she was given grief by her family about it. It could have hit a chord because she already "knew" but I really don't see how this alone would be THE sign.

And I don't understand why we freak out so much about children crossing what we consider to be gender lines. All children explore. All children play. All children experiment to try and find themselves and figure out the world around them.

Does this mean that every parent with a daughter who loves softball or a son who enjoys playing dressup should be "worried" and start accepting and directing their children to a homosexual lifestyle? Please parents, life is crazy enough as it is without overanalyzing the fact that your three year old son wanted to be a bunny rabbit for Halloween rather than Batman. And don't, for goodness sake, tell your dear innocent child that they are not allowed to be the bunny rabbit because of what you fear it may mean. Instilling those fears just doesn't work out well in the long run.

I just think that sometimes, often even, if a girl like trucks then she just likes trucks. So what? she loves trucks. Big deal! Really! Why make it into a sexually confusing event for her. And if that girl when she was older then decided that this was not just about the trucks, that it meant more, then I would hope that her parents would love her unconditionally, as always.

And again, I'm not trying to pretend that I really know anything about how it feels to go through this. Most of the guests on Oprah shared the same feeling - that "coming out" was the most difficult thing in their life, that they often wished they were not gay. I don't understand any of it. I just cannot empathize. I can only share my thoughts. My thoughts today may change down the road. But for today, I really feel strongly about this, about not worrying about kids being kids, about not feeling so overwhelmed. I am afraid for my own future children enough as it is.

All said, I am grateful for Oprah...seriously, silly as that may sound to some of you...for allowing us to THINK about things like this, for educating us on a topic we are so ignorant of.


dafrhug said...

I saw this show too and had the same mixed feelings as yourself. It also brought to my mind a show of Dr. Phil's that aired a few months ago. This was of a 3 or 4 year old boy who kept saying he wanted to be a girl and kept asking his mommy and daddy why he wasn't one. Complete with all the girl things that he done was a topic of worry from his parents that he may be gay. Certainly gives us all something to think about.

Quirky Christa said...

I sometimes fear having children just for having to deal with all sorts of unknown things. Who knows what my kids will be like, what if they are gay? How would I deal with it? But all things that I won't worry about and I will cross that bridge when I come to it.