The gay child. Does anyone want one? Is a gay son better than a gay daughter or vice versa? Or are both equally undesirable? It was a conversation I had with a friend of mine, a friend who happens to be gay, that makes me ask the question. For the record, he believes that no parent wants a gay child. I happened to disagree.
When I became pregnant with my first child I remember feeling complete joy and wondering whether I was going to have a boy or girl. I devoured books telling me what could be expected during my pregnancy and labor. I thought of names and colors for a nursery. I imagined a light haired baby and pictured him or her playing soccer like I did as a kid.
Music streamed constantly through my house to ensure that my baby was going to come out of the womb a fan of rock and roll. And of course I said all the things that everyone who never has kids says, “my kid will never do that,” only to discover much later that no matter what “that” was, I still loved my child and, in fact, thought that my child did “that” in a bigger and better way than any child before had ever done. In all my expectant parent hopes and wishes though, one thing never crossed my mind. What if my baby was born gay?
I never wished for a gay child but I also never wished for a straight one. I just wished for a healthy child who would grow up to be happy and successful. I wished for my child to grow up to be a good person who is kind to others.
Some of my wishes for my children were a reflection of things I wish I had done differently. I wished for my kids that they wouldn’t sweat the small stuff that seemed important as a teen but in hindsight didn’t matter much. I wished that they would have a better sense of themselves which would lead to better decision making when it came to relationships, all relationships, not just romantic. Really, I just wished that my kids would grow up to be awesome people.
Whether or not they would be gay never really dawned on me and I have to wonder if that is just because the expectation was that they would be straight. I didn’t equate happiness with being straight or gay but I suppose that’s easy for me to say considering I never had to struggle with the realization that I was “different” or have my sexual orientation considered “shameful” or “immoral.” I never had to come out of the closet fearful of whether or not the people I loved would still love me or wonder if they would condemn me because they felt being gay was a lifestyle choice, one they felt was wrong.
I have loved my kids through broken bones and stitches, temper tantrums in the grocery store as well as the dreaded phone call from the principal after a school yard fight. I have loved them when they brought home great report cards, hand prints from school or a “#1 Mom” mug from the Holiday Fair. I have loved them through everything no matter what. Isn’t that what parents do? It seems so simple and maybe that’s where we get lost.
Why is gay even an issue? Why must we reduce flesh, blood and feelings to a political issue? Whether my son ends up loving boys or girls or my daughter ends up loving girls or boys means nothing to me. I can only hope that I’ve raised my children to be respectful and compassionate people and that the people that love them treat them well, no matter what gender.