“No, my 10 year old son is not looking for a girlfriend. He likes boys.”
In the beginning of this semester, the school of our children sent home a list of extracurricular clubs available for students. Our younger son chose a board games club, our older son chose Zumba. He loves singing and dancing, and we were all happy.
As the semester passed, they both enjoyed their clubs, but the choice of the older one always received the same reaction, something like “He’s smart. I bet he’s the only boy there and he can choose the girl he wants.”
The first time this happened I was chocked, because I had never thought like that. In our family, we don’t exactly follow the gender roles. My hunsband is the one that stays home and cooks. We have three sons and what they want to do is simply what they want to do. We accept them. It doesn’t matter if it’s not “male like”. We asked our older boy if being the only boy there made him uncomfortable, he said “No” and that was it.
But people’s reactions bothered me. My older son is gay. Yes, he’s only 10, but he identifies himself as gay since he was 7. So this idea that he was there only for the girls bothered me. For years, we’ve been dealing with a good number of chocked reactions for our son’s sexual orientation, but I never stop being bothered by people assuming that my son’s straight. At some point, I got so bothered that I started to correct people.
“No”, I say, “he’s not interested in girls. He’s gay. He says that girls are his friends.” So the reaction is “Oh, really? How does he know that? He’s so young…” These people don’t see the contradiction in their words. They assumed my son was straight and wanted to be with girls, but he’s too young to know he likes boys. Assumptions are dangerous. This, in particular, implies that is something wrong with my son, and there isn’t. He should be exactly who he is.
I remember my first crush. He was a friend of my uncle. I think I was 6 or 7 and I used to follow him everywhere. It wasn’t sexual. I just knew I wanted to be around him. I see how my son blushes when he talks about a boy he likes. He’s discovering what he likes, like I did. Before gay kids had the opportunity to be raised in a non homophobic environment and with out people in their lives, their crushes had to be kept as a secret. But my son doesn’t have a secret.
I think that it’s important to speak up, correct people when they assume my son is straight. I have to say “No, this doesn’t apply to my son.”
Because kids don’t become gay by magic when they hit puberty. Sexual orientation is something deeper. It’s something that has nothing to do with sex, but with love and attraction. And it’s beautiful. There’s nothing wrong with it.