Wednesday, August 12, 2009

That's soooo gay...

So, good afternoon intranets! I read a post at today talking about a discussion she had with her son at some point.

It reminded me of my own son coming home and telling me that some of the mean kids were calling him 'gay' and using the word 'fag' to describe him. My son knew what 'gay' was, but the first time he heard it he didn't know what 'fag' was. I felt bad for not preparing him, but I also thought he was almost 13, shouldn't he have known what that was?

Fast forward to almost a month ago, and one of my other friends (who is also a lesbian) told me that a child of a mutual acquaintance of ours had called her daughter a 'fag.' She then had to explain it to her daughter because, like my son, she had never heard it before.

This leads to my point (a tad long winded, I know!), are we as gay parents not preparing our kids for life in the real world by avoiding what we deem an extremely ugly word? I know personally, that word is not allowed in our house. But, when I voiced my concern to another mom (who is hetero) she said perhaps I was being overly sensitive. Her statement was "all the kids say it, it's just a saying."

I disagree wholeheartedly! To me, and most gays, it is a word most often used in hate speech. It is a word used to denigrate and demean the gay,bi,queer,tran members of the community. But, should we be explaining it to our children young? Should they know what the word is, so they are hurt earlier, or should we explain it when it happens?

I am torn. I want to protect my son, but my stomach turns when I even use that word in a sentence. I know that before I even came out I deemed the word 'fag' to be hate speech. I always felt (probably because I hid for so long) that the people who were openly gay deserved our sincere respect for their strength. So that is my question...

When do we prepare our kids for the ugliness in this world? What do you think??


  1. Ok everybody, obviously my link didn't work. I was reading when I thought of this post. Please continue to read, even though I don't know w.t.f. I am doing.

  2. Since my family is Jewish, if we hear the word 'kike' and rebel, does that mean we are oversensitive?

    I hate the 'fag' and 'queer' stuff, too. My metrosexual son gets it all the time, often from his own brother. I try to quash it, but it doesn't work well. Not that telling the Grouch anything works particularly well, mind you.

    I am all for explaining as you go. The last thing we as parents want is for a kid to have that "hit them on the head" moment, when they realize what something really means, and that we haven't been completely honest about it.

    Gay or straight, sex is a fact of life. The mere fact that the kids using those words probably heard them from their parents and really don't know what they mean does NOT protect our kids.

    Personally??? Lay it out, let them absorb whatever their brains are currently wired to handle. You've opened the conversation and they know that they can ask you, because you'll not shrink and will tell them the truth.

    Long winded enough?

  3. I use the word fag, but not maliciously. I suppose that doesn't excuse it, but I do. But, now that you mention it, I'd hate to hear my nephew say it.

  4. @ The Mother- I totally understand what you are saying about the hate speech. I hate all those words that are used to describe people that are not homogenous white people. You are right, we will just have to talk about it now. At least he knows we listen!

    @Syd- I know what you mean, C and I have used it alone when we are joking about each other. But, like you said, I would hate to hear those words come out of our kids mouths.

    It is just a hard fact that there can still be so much hatred out there.

  5. Unfortunately, no matter what, our kids are going to hear ugliness. And say ugliness - either because they didn't think about and it was an automatic spout-off or because they were lashing out and trying to hurt someone.

    For us, we teach the kiddos that certain things hurt people when they are said, no matter how they are said. There are words that we simply do not use in the house. It took a long time for Gunman and me to learn NOT to cuss or call each other names (in fun) because the kids pick up on it and then use it on each other. It isn't just training your kids, it is also retraining yourself.

  6. There are a lot of words I jumped my kids about using - words they picked up from other kids. Two come to mind immediately. One is "queer" as in "Smear the Queer" football games. It's kind of like hot potato, I think. Lots of little kids running around with an excuse to jump on each other. When my boys came home saying they were playing it, I jumped them about it, told them I didn't care how many other kids were using it and "it's just a word", it wasn't going to be heard in our house, it was mean.

    The second, believe it or not, was the term "wife beater". My poor kids had to call them "A shirts" because the term "wife beater" just hit a little too close to home for Mama, you know? And I told them it was not something to trivialize.

    Honey, you don't know what words are going to come up for kids. Hell, I didn't even know the word "fag" was even used anymore. The frightening reality of parenthood is that you CAN'T prepare and innoculate them beforehand against everything. They ARE going to get hurt. Our job, as mothers, is to be there when they ARE hurt. You're doing fine

  7. While I'm not gay myself, I've been lucky enough to have openly gay friends for years (and a now-open friend who I've known in-closet since we were two). I try to tell my son about all kinds of things early, but not specific ugly words. I more teach the "there are lots of different families" line ("We're a family with one mommy. Your cousin has one mommy and one daddy. Your friend Jesse has two daddies and one mommy. Your friend Liam has a daddy, a mommy, and a stepdaddy." etc.)

    Where I live the N-word is used far too often (mostly by white/Hispanic kids). I've told all my friends I don't care if they drop an F-bomb, as long as they don't use words that are deragatory like bitch, fag, or the N-word (I won't even spell that word out).

  8. @ Ilexa- I guess our excuse for our filthy (and I do mean FILTHY) mouths is where we work. We hear it all day long, and we were both in the military. So, while I don't allow hate speech I don't mind the cussing. My kids know they are not allowed to use those words, even in anger.

    @Nanna-I know we can't protect them every day, it just isn't what I thought I would have to deal with as a parent. And yeah, I hate the term wife-beater too.

    @Angie-Hahaha! My fairy princess put us all out in the open on Monday, she looked at her teacher and said "I have two mommies!" I was so proud!! We use the word bitch around here as an endearment, my no-go word is the C word. I can't even spell it, b/c if I say it that means I triple-hate whatever it is that person is or stands for.