In the four years or so since I've come stumbling out of the closet, Alex and Simon have never had to deal with homophobia directly at school. They've had at least one LGBTQ teacher, and their other teachers have been supportive of our family through the transition the boys have journeyed. Friends didn't dream of questioning their parents' sexuality, largely because many of them had met both me and my partner, and liked us.
But now we're at a new school, and the boys are making new friends. Friends who don't know the backstory. And friends who -- despite their alleged intelligence (it's a congregated Gifted class; all the students had to take an IQ test to get in) -- may come from rather conservative and "traditional" families.
Today one of my boys told me a hard story to hear.
He's got this great new chum at school. We've heard the name continuously since early September. I met the kid (and his parents) at Open House. This friend is serious.
So, he prodded a little to see where things stood. (Thanks to my partner's homophobic family, my kids learned this past year that not everyone views who you love as a non-issue. But until now, they've lived in the blissful semi-innocence of childhood, and "homophobia" and other big words existed only for the adults in their lives, not personal friends. It would appear they are starting to recognize that homophobic adults may also be parents, and that if they are, they might influence their children, the buggers!)
It was important to my son that this new friendship not be ruined before it even got properly launched. Or maybe he wanted to see if the kid was worth his time and investment in the friendship. I don't know. But in any case, he asked his new buddy today if the buddy thought that being gay was wrong.
"Sort of" was the non-committal answer.
That wasn't good enough for my son, so he asked if the kid would still be friends with someone who he had found out was gay.
Kind of a death sentence when your own Mama is card-carrying a lesbian!
I asked why he didn't just tell his friend that he disagreed, and that actually, his mom was gay. And this is where is gets sad because the innocence lost part comes in...
"Mom!" retorted my son, "I didn't want to tell him just yet. I want to educate him some more, first. If I tell him now, then he'll probably go home and tell his parents, and then he won't be allowed to play with me."
One the one hand, I want to hug my baby for being so darned savvy. On the other hand, I want to run right out and strangle every homophobic douche-bag out there for making my kid have to so carefully assess what he can and cannot tell about his family. :(
I'm trying to stay cool about it, asking him how he feels, and honouring his choices and chosen speed of revelation.
It's sad, though, huh?