Do your kid(s) know you are queer? When/how did they figure it out? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 07-09-2010, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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These may sound like weird questions. I don't mean to suggest that anyone is closeted to their children.

I'm just thinking about my 21-month-old DD and how at this point in her life, everything around her is normal and right to her, and she has no concept of difference. We're just her parents. We're a family, not a "queer" family. We're her parents, not her "lesbian parents."

How long can that last? And when she becomes aware that lesbian/queer is a category that doesn't apply to everyone, how will she become aware? Is there anything I can do to make that discovery a positive thing for her & us? Or am I wrong in thinking that there will be some kind of "discovery"?

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#2 of 8 Old 07-10-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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My DP adopted our son just after his first birthday. I didn't come into his life until just after he turned 3. We always let him be the one to somewhat dictate who I was to him. One day he just started calling my mommy, and still does. He's almost 6 now, and is very proud of his 2 mommies. He tells everyone. We've always told him he was special because he has 2 mommies, while others only have one. We always explained to him that he can love anyone, regardless of what anyone else says. He seems very comfortable with it, and has only had 1 issue with someone telling him differently. He asked us about it after school, and we explained that some people only have a mommy & daddy (therefore, they're different. Ha!) You will know when it's time, and how to handle I think. The main thing is to constantly remind her that both mommies love her no matter what anyone else says. I honestly believe that the kids feel the love and they're comfortable with it. Surrounding yourselves with others who don't see you differently will also help. Good luck.

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#3 of 8 Old 07-10-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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We have two kids, DD is almost 3-1/2 and DS is 25 months. We each gave birth to one of them.

DD talked on the late side, but she began asking questions about "daddy" as soon as she was using many words, probably close to your child's age. We have tried to answer by telling her our family has a mama, a mommy, DD and DS, and then talking about different kinds of families. We tell her that lots of families do have a mama, a daddy, and children, but many families are different. We don't talk about what we lack, but what we have. DD has been very book oriented (probably where she first noticed the daddy/mama thing), and Scott Parr's "The Family Book" really echoes the kinds of things we've tried to tell her. It's a colorful, loving book that was never her favorite but seemed to be something she needed to come back to at times. She also went through a phase where she wanted read "Heather Has Two Mommies" a lot.

DS is different. He's much, much more verbal, yet hasn't asked anything about this yet. He's been around for most of the conversations started by DD, but I anticipate he'll eventually have questions. He is very, very interested in Grandpa right now.

But I don't think that quite gets at what you're asking. We went to Pride this year, explained to DD it was a celebration for people like our family, and then explained that as a mama who wants to be with a mommy, or two daddies together. That felt a little weird, since Pride is not so much about parenting choices, but that's how she's defining things so we tried to put it back into words that reflect what she has said and asked.

Sex questions haven't come up in any form yet.

I also have to say that we are lucky to live in an area where I feel very, very comfortable being out as a family. We have not had the slightest hint of a problem from her preschool, any healthcare providers ever, at the grocerty store, the library, etc. There is so much she is shielded from at this point by where we live.
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#4 of 8 Old 07-10-2010, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Letitia View Post
I also have to say that we are lucky to live in an area where I feel very, very comfortable being out as a family. We have not had the slightest hint of a problem from her preschool, any healthcare providers ever, at the grocerty store, the library, etc. There is so much she is shielded from at this point by where we live.
Yes, we're lucky in that regard, too. We live in one of those great Midwestern college towns where you can't swing a cat without hitting a lesbian. DD's nanny is a lesbian. Our next door neighbors are lesbians. We meet other lesbian moms & their kids at the park, and she's not likely to be the only kid with 2 moms once she starts school. In fact, one of the things we like about our community is that it's soooo normal to be a lesbian, it's almost boring.

I'm glad we can bring her up in such a safe & sheltered place. But I do want her to see the world and be comfortable in it, and I know that every place isn't like this.

Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DDenergy.gif(Born 10/09/08 ribboncesarean.gif). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!

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#5 of 8 Old 07-10-2010, 11:37 PM
 
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When I read your thread title, it occurred to me that my kids (ages 4 and 5) do not know what "queer" is, nor "gay," "homo[]," "lesbian" or any variation. I'm unsure whether they've heard the words. dw and I have used the words a few times in front of the kids, but I don't get a strong feeling they were listening.

At some point when the kids were 2 or 3, we started up more intentional conversations about families -- about all the types of families there are -- because it occurred to us that our kids were probably noticing differences. Around the same time (not sure about correlation vs. causation), they started saying things every now and then that let us know they were indeed taking note.

When the kids were 3 or 4, I noticed something that bothered me a little. Despite all our really intentional conversations and reading of certain books, the kids had already internalized the "mom and dad" as norm. Every time, and I mean *every* single time they played make-believe regarding families, it involved a mom and a dad. When I asked them who else they know who has two moms, even though we know two or three such families, they would simply say "no one."

We've been trying since that time to remind them periodically about the other kids they know who have two moms. We continue to have our positive books and discussions. I'm not sure how successful we've been, as their ability to recall and name kids with two moms is still spotty. They also still include a "dad" in nearly all -- if not all -- of their pretend play regarding families. I have a feeling next year I will introduce them to "Pride" a bit and start giving them some context for the various things they might hear. The older they get, the less control I have over what they get exposed to, and in some cases, the less information I have about what they are exposed to or are noticing. Afterall, four year old dd is reading, and she doesn't always tell me what she is picking up as we move about our world, but when she does, it astonishes me.

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#6 of 8 Old 07-11-2010, 10:35 PM
 
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My seven-year-olds definitely know; I don't think my three-year-old does. So the understanding occurred sometime between the age of 3 and 7. I think it was actually fairly recent. Granted, the kids have always known that they have two moms and about different types of family structures, but the word "gay" has only become relevant in the past couple years (maybe?).

On father's day, I was talking to the kids about not having a father, and Lukas (7) asked, "how many gay people are there in the world?" and then, after my oh-so-helpful answer ("a lot"), he continued, "do you think there are more gay people or more man-and-woman people?" (This is when I introduced the word "straight" for the first time.) So, my big kids know what "gay" means, and they know that their moms are gay, but they don't have much (if any) understanding of the larger implications (e.g. the percent of the population that is queer or what it means to be queer in different parts of the world; we happily live in a fabulously queer bubble).

My kids so far feel very positively about having gay moms; they of course want the exact family that they have. I'm sure it helps that we always speak positively about being gay and that we live someplace where our family is recognized and reflected everywhere we go.

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#7 of 8 Old 07-13-2010, 10:32 AM
 
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My daughter didn't ever "not" know, but it's definitely an evolving conversation. So it started with the basic, 'Some families have two moms, some have two dads, some have one mom," etc. with examples of the many diverse families we know. Gay Pride was about "families with two moms or two dads." Now that she's six, she's starting to understand a bit more about what "gay" or "lesbian" means (as well as "transgendered" which is a whole different thread.) We've moved to a definition more like, "A man is gay when he decides that they want to be partners with another man, instead of a woman." something like that - going beyond just being parents. We've talked a bit about civil rights too.

We also live in a very queer-friendly urban area, so it's not a big deal for her at all. But we do want her to know the door is open for conversation. It would be easy to forget to talk about it!
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#8 of 8 Old 08-02-2010, 11:13 AM
 
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I was just thinking about this over the weekend! Our son (almost 3) does not know the words gay, lesbian, queer, etc. He is mostly focused on having two moms, and that he doesn't have a dad. Although we live in a gay-friendly area, we live in the suburbs with lots of straight families and their kids. I've heard there is another lesbian couple with twins nearby, but haven't met them yet. Anyway, we are really the only non-straight couple our sons sees on a regular basis. We have gay friends with kids, but they live in other states. Our son does remember that these kids have two moms, though, so that is great. When the conversation comes up about no dad/two moms, he can remind us of all his friends that also have two moms. We also like to keep photos around of the kids and their two moms so he has a tangible reminder that there are other kids out there like him.
So far his questions/comments about not having a dad are more about comparison. All of the neighborhood kids have dads, so he likes to tell us that so-and-so has a dad, but he does not. That's when we remind him that he doesn't have a dad, but he has a mommy and mama. We try not to let it stick out in a positive or negative way, just a fact of his life. He also verifies with us that grandpa is mama's dad, and papa is mommy's dad. And then he usually says, but I don't have a daddy? We confirm, and usually return to the statement about him having a mommy and mama. So far he just takes it all in and doesn't seem to really think much more about it. It seems kinda like when we were all kids at a big family event. You know these people are your relatives, but whether it's Aunt or Uncle or Cousin is just too hard to delve into, so you just accept that these people are relatives and leave it at that.
Our son really has good language skills, but the words gay/straight/queer would just be too hard for him to comprehend. He knows he has two moms, but doesn't have any idea what that means in the larger world. And even the kids he plays with (usually up to age 8) have never said anything about us being two moms, so he hasn't had to think about it too much. He definitely has some questions about men in general, and is way more friendly with women than men. He was freaked out by beards for a while (although he never disliked Santa...haha) but we've talked a lot about fear of strangers, and not judging people based on the way they look. That seemed to make him a little more friendly with neighborhood dads and other men in general.
I'm sure we will eventually have discussions about gender and sexuality, but not until he is much older.

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