Where are the gay kids?
Nearly three weeks ago, same-sex marriage was legalized in Oregon and my kids and I were thrilled! One kid was was even more thrilled than the rest of us though. My youngest, who just turned 8, has identified as gay since she was 4 years old and I have known her sexual orientation for just as long. As we were discussing Judge McShane’s ruling, my 8 year old’s eyes welled with tears and she said, “Mom, I’M gay! Now I can marry whoever I want?!”
I am not here to debate whether children know or do not know their sexual preferences at an early age. I have promoted acceptance, love, tolerance, justice, and empathy. Our family consists of blood relations and chosen folks. We exist in a community full of blurred lines, but we are not confused. Love wins, every time. It is from this foundation that my children have grown into the people that they are. My 8 year old is one of the lucky few to be supported by loving adults; she has had the confidence and the room to speak her truth since she was a preschooler.
I consider my family lucky to be surrounded by such a diverse community. But what we are missing is a diverse peer group for my littlest human. I have spent hours (that turned into days) on the interwebs, trying to find out where the other gay littles are. Instead, I always end up at sites that talk about accepting transgender children or bullying because of sexual orientation. Although these subjects are definitely important, my 8 year old is begging for me to find “the other gay kids.”
I find myself desperately longing for a lesbian auntie to take her under her wing. I want her to have an example of a strong, confident, proud, lesbian woman who will understand her in a way that I never will be able to [as a straight woman]. My daughter’s experience is not unique, and even though most folks know at a young age how they identify (although they may lack the language), there are very few resources out there for the gay littles.
So I’m asking you, mamas and papas, do you have any resources? If you identify as a part of the LGBTQI community, how old were you when you realized you were not straight? How did you process this as you were growing up? What do you wish your parents/ community had done for you? Do you have a child that identifies as LGBTQI? I am a fish out of water here and I will be damned if my baby becomes a statistic.