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Where are the gay kids?

Balloons
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.

 

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they're not specific to "littles" per se, but you might try contacting the folks at SMYRC @ the Q Center to see if they have any ideas.

Hi there:)

I gotta say that you are one Amazing Mama ! I have been a Nanny for 20+ years and have worked with open minded folk, yet never as open as I would like. I am a Lesbian amoungst other lovely qualities. I am mostly a spiritual Warrior who is on a healing/healer quest. I think your sweet little one may be an exception and possibly a leader/healer. She sounds like an Amazing soul herself:)


I know you will find the support you seek cause you are a seeker. I also want to say, I am so Grateful to know there are strong parents out there that are pathing a way for their children's truth to be all that matters !

ps: Your baby has you and although you are not a lesbian, love is more important than titles :)

blessings

Charity

I don't have anything substantial to add, but just want to say thanks for posting and for being the kind of mom that you are. I hope you find good resources and your kids are lucky to have you.

If you are in Portland, I would contact the Q Center. They have groups and meet-ups and there may be one for you and your little one! I'd offer myself as a mentor, but I just had twins a year ago and I work full time, so what little time I have I need to devote to my little ones.
Q Center is at 4115 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97217, ph#(503) 234-7837 or http://www.pdxqcenter.org/

As a lesbian kid myself (I'm 13), I know the struggle of not really having anybody to relate to about my sexuality. What I found to be helpful was joining Facebook groups that talked about LGBTQ+ things, and I made quite a bit of friends there. There's also the Q center as somebody else mentioned, although I haven't been there myself yet, I have a friend who went there and said it was a really cool place.

Hope you find what you're looking for. (P.S. if your daughter is looking for a pen-pal, my email is always open :))

Not sure about your religious background? I grew up Unitarian Universalist and have recently gotten back into it (now that I have kids). They are very excepting of everyone and try to combine a multi world view religion in step with tolerance, love and understanding and social justice. They also have very active youth group though possibly aimed at older children.

If you are in Portland you might check them out, I am sure you could find a way to connect to this community (if you wanted to) w/out necessarily becoming a member or even going to church!

http://www.firstunitarianportland.org/our-programs/social-justice/lgbtq-pride-group

Hi- in addition to checking into the Q Center, there is an amazing summer camp in Seattle for gay kids and kids of gay parents. It's called Camp Ten Trees.

I'm happy to talk more if you want to message me separately: mandyputney@gmail.com.


Yayyy for you for listening to your girl's needs for community! I like your idea of older role models. Good luck; will be checking back here to see if anyone else came up with ideas.

PFLAG Portland Or National should have additional information. I'd suggest the Q Center too, but others already have. Also, you could attend the Gay Pride Parade this weekend, specifically looking for youth focused floats advertising programs. Besides there's always a ton of families attending and who knows, after talking with a few people, you might bump into the perfect match for your family.

I've shared this on Facebook and am getting people agreeing with the UU idea. I know the UU church in Hillsboro was very welcoming to us when we first moved up from Sacramento and I was looking for a community that would welcome our son with Down syndrome without pity or prayers for healing.

There's was also a suggestion that the community around In Other Words might be helpful, in case a secular choice fits better.

It's great to read the story of a family that is so accepting instead of "how do we cope?" I hope this journey leads all of you to wonderful places with wonderful people.

SMYRC (part of Q Center now)
Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center

Thank you for this post. I came to this site after hearing you on OPB. You are wonderful and supportive! If you need a gay auntie, my wife and I would love to be that! I knew I was different my whole life, but didn't say the word "gay" until I was in college. But my mother told me that she knew I was gay when I was 4. I had/have very supportive and loving (and Republican - don't knock them all until you've known them) parents. Anyway, good on you for this!

Yes! I knew I was gay when I was 8, I wish I had the support to feel comfortable to come out.

My suggestion... Find a lesbian mom's group and reach out to them. Tell them your story. While you may not fit their traditional member families, we gays know a lot about breaking the traditional. I hope they welcome you with open arms and your daughter gets a bunch of great lesbian aunties.

I have tolerance, gay family members, and fully understand a child of 4 identifying as a different gender. But gay? This is where I get confused, because what 4 yr old is even thinking of sexual orientation? Seems a little young to me.

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