“Coming Out” As Bisexual to My Kids
I seriously doubt Facebook ever thought part of their social networking services would be to provide a mother with the opportunity to come out to her kids as bisexual. And yet, in my case, it’s true. This is how the conversation started.
My son, now 12 years old, has recently become rather active on Facebook. He and his other middle school friends all have pages now, closely monitored by their vigilant and attentive parents. But alas, a conversation via comments on a photo of 4 middle school boys at a Giants game quickly raged out of control in the hands of several pubescent kids trying out their “sexy selves. Yes. Sexy selves starting in middle school-it is not as uncommon as you might think.
I happened to be the vigilant parent this time, checking up on my son’s activities (how can I not be when all his posts come to my home page anyway, right?!?!). I noticed the exchange, and when it deteriorated to the point of one of the older boys talking about being horny and having boners, I eventually spoke up and simply stated “Dude, you know your parents can read this, right? Haha! That got them to think a little harder before posting more drivel. But I was also struck by a conversation that ensued in the middle of it all about being gay.
OH yes. One boy in the group made a comment about how “hot his buddies in the picture were and the girls were all over him about his being “so gay. When he asked if they had a problem with him being gay, one of the girls responded “No, not really. Well, maybe a little. Hmmmmm¦.This girl being rumored to be my son’s first crush, my husband and I wanted to find out how our son felt about her “little problem with another friend being gay. We quizzed him mercilessly:
“Is she homophobic? Would you date a homophobe? Are you okay with your friends gay bashing? Would you stand up for your gay friends? Are you a homophobe?
Fortunately, he is a calm, cool, collected and open minded child. He simply stated that he believes it is possible that some of his friends might be a little homophobic, but he doesn’t judge them for that, any more than he judges folks for being gay. He added that he believes that as long as they are good people, he doesn’t care what their sexuality is. Oh my stars. I was so proud.
His dad then proceeded to launch into a lecture about the spectrum of sexuality and how, although some folks may be at the extreme ends of the spectrum as either 100% homosexual or 100% heterosexual, the majority of folks land somewhere in between those on the spectrum. He also went on to make the statement that its often true that the people stating most loudly, notably certain politicians, that homosexuality is wrong, are people who are most likely to be in the middle of that spectrum and very uncomfortable with that.
Somehow all this led to a discussion of our own sexuality. In particular his dad used the example of his own affectionate and snuggly behavior with some of his male friends and noted that some folks might judge him and call him gay for this behavior. Our other son, 6 yrs old, was also at the dinner table and had been listening raptly to the whole discussion, asking clarifying questions here and there. At some point in the discussion, their dad made a statement something like, “Many people you know and love are bisexual.
I locked eyes with his dad. Admittedly, I had already had a glass of wine with dinner, but I think my judgment was sound when I blurted out “LIKE ME! My boys both looked at me, not with shock, but with interest and curiosity. My 6 yr old asked if this was really true. I asked them if they realized that I sometimes go out on “dates with women. They agreed that they were aware of this fact, but hadn’t really thought about it as my being bisexual. I told them that I was able to love both women and men pretty equally. Their dad asked, “Well, you knew she had a girlfriend, right? And my 6 yr old very candidly stated, “Yes, I knew she had a girlfriend, but I didn’t know she was BISEXUAL!!
We devolved into giggles, as I was clear that he didn’t need to hear the details of my sexuality much further. No child really wants THAT many details about their parents and sex, right? I am just proud that we can have these discussions with our kids. As a child, my parents never would have thought to talk to me about their sexuality or even mine. I am proud that my kids know that we can talk about sex without any hang ups. I hope one day that they feel comfortable to seek me out when they are struggling with their own issues. As I can tell from the middle school sexy talk, we are not too far off from that phase of parenting!