Oct 162019
Why I Told Our Kids About A Gay Family Member

Family members might not have been shocked about my husband’s niece who recently came out. However, they were concerned that we told our children.

Although the news may sound like something we shouldn’t discuss with small children, it’s important to address that society has changed. Yes, the world will continue to surprise our children, but I strongly believe in addressing certain topics and asking them about their thoughts.

Learn to raise compassionate children, who accept others for who they are.

Tell Them Anyway

Parents might think they’re doing their children good by not bringing up tough discussions. My husband and I believe it’s better for us to explain/teach something to our children now than to have society do it for us. Society might not be as kind.

I grew up in a Catholic household where we didn’t discuss homosexuality. Members of our church would believe the person was confused or uncertain of themselves.

Growing up, my brothers and I were sheltered during our childhood, and we didn’t socialize with certain people. We went to Catholic schools where homosexuality was seen as a sin.

Yes, you would hear stories about lesbians at my all-girl Catholic high school, but no one dared to discuss it.

College Years With LGBQT Members

It wasn’t until I hit college that I met people who would socialize with gays and lesbians. It was fascinating to me, and I remember my cousin telling me she had a gay friend. She embraced him as a normal human being.

I wanted that for myself — to connect with others, and know who they were and what they were about. The people that I grew up knowing as “sinners” were roaming the same halls I was.

I made friends with several, and I keep in touch with them through social media. It’s been fascinating to see my friends fight for equality. Being able to share their struggles with my children is important for me. It’s almost as if I’m giving back to the wonderful friendships I’ve made throughout the years.

Today, we live in a society that (for the most part) accepts the LGBTQ community. You can even see representations of members throughout the media as well.

We’ve seen movies where the same sex is affectionate, and our kids asked questions. As a parent, it’s my job to answer them in the best way possible.

One of our kids’ favorite cousins told me she likes girls. My husband and I made it a point to share the news with our children. Although our oldest was confused at first, it didn’t make him love her any less.

We met her girlfriend this week and it was exciting to see that our boys embraced her as another person. This is one of the reasons why we tell our children about the “tough” topics. So they understand that we are all created equally.

Why Address ‘Tough’ Topics When They’re Young

At this age — three and six — our boys are still developing their perception of the world around them. I wouldn’t want them to raise our children like my brothers and me. We’d take whatever our parents’ beliefs were and roll with it.

I strongly believe children should have a mind of their own. They also need to be educated on what’s going on around them so they can properly form their own opinions.

How To Start The Conversation

Telling your child about a gay/lesbian family member requires patience and time. The worst thing you could do it blur out whatever comes to mind. You’ll want to begin the conversation somewhere.

When we’re going to discuss a tough topic with our children, we turn to TV news. It’s full of interesting topics to share with your family and friends. We use our mornings as a time to discuss life lessons, mainly about the consequences of our actions.

Another way we like to focus on certain topics is to think of everyday scenarios. Much like like going to the grocery store. You’ll meet some interesting people at Walmart. I never hold back on the opportunity to share a life lesson with the kids.

Have you ever had to explain the LGBTQ community to a friend or family member? Share your thoughts below!

Fatima Torres

What's life like with three kids and two pups? It's entertaining, that's for sure! MTME breaks down family fun ideas and shares personal insights from a former B2B editor and digital marketer turned mom running a business and a household -- all under one roof. With her husband as her #1 fan, there isn't anything she can't accomplish. Read on to learn how she breathes in fire and exhales success.


Reader Comments

  1. You are wonderful. You are a role model as a parent. I am gay, and hated myself for that, for many years. I realized I had to learn to love myself, and have been working on that ever since. I eventually met someone who was as old fashioned as me and we adopted an infant, at birth. We are your typical American nuclear family, except there are two dads. These days families come in so many different shapes and sizes, it makes it easier for us. We thought it best to raise our son in NYC where there is more acceptance, and we have been very blessed in the lack of judgment we have felt. Meanwhile, he always has a girlfriend, and I have to guide him through that! How ironic.
    I wish there were more aware parents such as yourself. Because you see, we are not different, we are the same. Do you know who my friends are? The parents of the other kids that my son has been in school with since four months old. That is our gay life. For us, it is all about family and friends, and that is how we are raising our son. Our 16 1/2 year old annoying as all heck, son!
    Mitch

    1. This is beautiful, Mitch. Thank you for reassuring us that this was a good decision to make. I think it’s great that you and your spouse took on an infant and raised him as your own. People will judge others no matter what, but if you stay true to yourself (as you’ve learned to be throughout the years), you’ll be able to appreciate more of what life has to offer.

      PS: I always love catching the gadgets you and your son are testing. I swear if I wasn’t budgeting myself, I’d grab those headphones you’re promoting!

  2. We are not born with prejudice and intolerance, it is taught to us. Bravo for talking to your kids about what should be a perfectly normal topic, although I find it sad that – in this day and age – people still think that such a topic is taboo and should not be discussed with children. Children need more love, not less.

  3. I don’t know if I totally agree. I think it’s important to talk about sexuality and explain that some men like men, some women like women, some men like women, some women like men, and some liked both, but I don’t think it’s important to “out” people, to specifically be like “your uncle is gay” or “your aunt is a lesbian.” It makes it a bigger deal than it is. I think it would be better to keep it more casual so if your uncle has a boyfriend, and your kid’s meeting him for the first time, well then you would just say “and this is your Uncle John’s boyfriend.” No need to point out that they are gay, the kid will catch on and it comes across as normal rather than different.

    1. This is true. I will say that my son brought up that a classmate has two moms. This was when he was in kindergarten. He seemed a bit shock (he had never seen it before) and we talked about it. We said two people can love each other regardless of sex. I brought up their cousin because they would see it more in the family.

  4. That’s such a tough situation to be in to have discussions like this. However, I believe that it’s better that we as parents teach our children about topics like this, than their friends. Everyone will have their own opinions on how this should be handled, but I applaud you for finding what’s right for you.

    1. Thanks, Jess. I’ve always believed in being true to yourself and those around you, so I made it a point to mention it to our kids. If someone is happy being who they are, why should anyone have a problem with it?

  5. I think its great to tell the kids at a young age. They learn alot and accepting more than the adults of todays society. I am honest like that as well in my family.

  6. I think it’s very important to talk to kids about LGBTQ people as if they are normal people. Kids don’t have the same prejudice as we adults do and for them LGBTQ people are not different.

  7. No, I honestly haven’t had to explain this to my girls. Because this has never been a big deal for them. Because we have never made it a big deal. My mama’s pastor, who is like a second son to her (she had been assigned as his layperson mentor in our denomination when he first moved to where she lived, and she actually quit her church/switched her membership to his because, well, he’s an amazing man of God) was happily dating someone he met in seminary when she first met him. Then Pastor Jay got engaged – then got married – and Pastor Jay is now happily married for 5+ years. To another man. Who happens also to be ordained clergy in our denomination. So no, it’s not at all weird to my girls that Pastor Jay is married to Pastor Geoff. Or that our church’s current seminary student (who’s serving as our associate pastor), Pastor Dan, recently was off for the summer and came back in the fall as Pastor Stephanie, who now knows our congregation/her wife/her children are “safe” enough and love her enough that she can FINALLY be who she is (and always has been) on the INSIDE, with all of us on the outside. God doesn’t make mistakes, and God made each of us who we are for a reason. And it breaks my heart that so many people still have trouble accepting that, in the 21st century. (In case you’re wondering, I’m a lifelong member of the United Church of Christ – go look it up at ucc[dot]org.)

    1. Thank you for your feedback, and for telling me about your Pastors. I think it’s good that your children were exposed to the idea of same-sex relationships at a young age. I’m also excited that Pastor Stephanie could be true to herself and those around her. That’s one of the beauties of life — to accept who you are no matter what.

  8. I was born and raised in a Roman Catholic family as well. I have cousins that we knew that he is a gay but never had a heart of admitting it to his parents and also with us as well.
    I am so thankful that my parents open my eyes in this kind of community that gay and lesbians exists telling me that it is not their fault to be in that situation and telling me that they are also human that need love and respect from all of us. I have so many gay and lesbian friends and I love them so much, I love their community!

  9. I couldn’t agree more.. And you’re right, society may not be as kind. Might as well just tell them about it with appropriate and respectful words. 😘

  10. This is so beautiful. I am so glad you did it even after coming from an orthodox background. We really need more young parents like you so that the LGBTQ community gets all the respect that they deserve and the kids can learn that it is not a taboo and only love 🙂

  11. This can definitely be on the next step in making the new generation aware of alternate sexuality. It also helps them in making decisions about their lives as well. Some of the new generation members could also be from LGBTQ community and when they see that they are already members of their fraternity in the family they would find it easy to talk about it and to cope with the the stigma around it.

  12. I think our kids are more tolerable than we give them credit for especially if we are good role models. Both of my kids have known about the LGBT community since they were very little because we go to a UU church and we leave the house and engage with society. LGBT friends are people just like straight people. There is no reason to jump through hoops explaining their lifestyle to kids. I just explain some girls like girl and some boys like boys and some people like people and that’s ok. Love is love.

  13. I agree with this, to an extent. It is important to teach kids from a young age – but it also depends on the maturity to comprehend what we are telling them. Our family (on my husbands side, has quite a few gay members) I will plan on telling my daughter about it, when she’s able to understand what it is that we are saying. Right now, she just understand that boys are boys and girls are girls. She’s only 4. lol. But yes, I do agree that they need to be taught these things, not all families are the same and it’s an important lesson for them to learn.

  14. This is a decision of a specific family when to chose the right time and words to explain things like that. Being true is always the best way to go.

  15. It seems like a good idea to tell your kids! They will probably find out sooner or later. Everyone makes different choices and it’s important that kids learn to respect diversity.

  16. We don’t shy away from anything in our house except for death. So far my son isn’t aware of the fact that his grandfather died last year. We’ve decided to spare h the details. He hasn’t taken the death of one of our cats well.

  17. I think it’s very important for kids to know. They need to learn to respect other people’s decisions and thoughts. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Thankfully our local library has some wonderful inclusive children’s books. My toddler currently has the My Two Dads board book downstairs. They are growing up just knowing that families come in all different forms and sizes thanks to seeing real life examples of loving relationships at our church. We are just making it a normal part of our life because we are in community with diverse families.

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