.

Loving Your Children Unless....

Does loving our children unconditionally also include our gay children?

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.               

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kristen Ferrari August 25, 2011 at 03:23 AM
Thanks Cathy. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all just get along and accept each other!
Kristen Ferrari August 25, 2011 at 03:24 AM
Annjeanette, I love hearing other parents who feel like I do, that our children are perfect in our eyes no matter what they are!
Joseph V Bellavia August 25, 2011 at 03:26 AM
It's a great topic but perhaps I am jaded from hearing so many different responses from very positive, to very negative, and in between. I've seen parents embrace their gay child, but also I've seen some shun them and literally erase them from their lives. For me, I know I carry some of my own homophobia that I'm not proud of, but because of past experience I see and feel the pain for someone that has to come to terms with the fact that they're gay and what it means. I of course would love and cherish my own child if they were gay, but I would by no means hope for it knowing what I know lies ahead. It's not an easy path but thanks to changing times and temperaments, it's easier for people to accept themselves and others for being gay. I applaud any parent that welcomes their child with an open heart, and arms, whether gay or straight and hope for more examples like you've described in your blog. Thank you!
Kristen Ferrari August 25, 2011 at 03:38 AM
Joey, there have been so many segments of the population that have faced some form of discrimination or intolerance. I do hope that the time comes that this isn't even an issue and that people who are gay are just as accepted as an equal part of our society.The only way we can get there is by making the issue personal and realizing how much we love our kids and how they are worth so much more to us than who they are attracted to in a physical sense.
Joseph V Bellavia August 25, 2011 at 03:50 AM
I hope so too but while some people think that past discriminations have leveled out and feel they're now being treated equally, I do not. I still see it. That being said, I think although we've come a long way, we're still breaking down walls. Gay marriage for one, it's approved on the state level, but until it's approved federally, there are still a lot of rights denied to gays in regards to being married.
Kristen Ferrari August 25, 2011 at 04:04 AM
Don't forget that gay marriage is not legal in all 50 states. On a Federal level marriage is still considered legally defined as being between a man and a woman meaning that gay couples who are married still do not share many of the financial rewards a hetero married couple enjoys. And again, not to minimize the need to grant equality in a legal way, I think the bigger issue is the societal mindset, especially in certain parts of the country. If the mindset changed, the rest would follow. At least I believe it would.
Andrew B. Herzman September 03, 2011 at 02:10 PM
If a parent can't love their own child for who they are, then there is something wrong with the parent. I agree with you 100%, Kristen.
Yankee Man September 06, 2011 at 10:33 PM
We should all love our kids regardliess of if they are gay or straight. We all want our kids to be healthy and happy. Having said that, I would dare to suggest that none of us would choose to have a gay child. Anyone care to disagree?
Kristen Ferrari September 06, 2011 at 11:28 PM
Dan, its funny that you should say that because that was exactly what started the debate between my friend, who is gay, and me. I can't say I'd choose a gay child, but I also wouldn't choose a straight one. I suppose saying it doesn't matter to me is making it a little too simplistic when its not really a simplistic scenario. What would upset me would be the struggles my child would have to face if gay regarding discrimination, social bias, and unequal rights. That would be what would upset me if one of my kids came out to me as gay. I did have a friend tell me that she would be upset for similar reasons and because she would feel as if the hopes and dreams she had for weddings and grandchildren could never be realized although things seem to be changing in those areas as well. So I guess my question to you would be is it the fact that you don't want a child to be gay because of the social stigmas and hurdles, the reasons my friend states, or a different reason? And please know that I realize its a sensitive subject and I'm not baiting you into an argument. I'm honestly curious. After all, I did argue with my gay friend over this which prompted this blog.
Yankee Man September 06, 2011 at 11:48 PM
Kristen,,,,you are just kidding yourself and trying to be politically correct. I would love my children if they were gay, but yes I am glad they are not. There I said it. We accept all kinds of things in this world and no one should be attacked, annoyed or otherwise screwed with because of our differences, However I reserve the right to feel that the best way to go though life is as straight person.
Kristen Ferrari September 07, 2011 at 01:41 AM
Dan, I could be kidding myself but I'm not trying to be politically correct. Growing up, a family friend was gay and the people I knew him through always presented it as normal and acceptable so I never thought anything of it. Its easy for me to say I think it wouldn't bother me because the situation hasn't presented itself but I don't think I would care either way. My kids all seeming to be straight is not something I've ever felt relief over and I've never feared that any of them would be gay so I'd have to say that I wouldn't be upset about the fact that they were gay. I'd be upset over societal views and what they'd go through. But again, I ask the question because it was a discussion I had with a gay friend and I had never really given it any thought. I do appreciate your honesty. My friend was afraid to be honest because she feared she would sound politically incorrect. I'm interested in the discussion and while I don't want to see bashing of anyone, I'm not as interested in political correctness.
Joseph V Bellavia September 07, 2011 at 02:17 AM
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I though gay, am on the fence with this one. Obviously I would never wish an ignorant parent on a gay child because it's hard enough accepting being gay, let alone hope for a loving and understanding parent. It takes a strong person to love their child enough to put up with their own homophobia, and what they encounter from friends and family etc.. Not everyone is cut out to be a parent to a gay child. Most people just want a child to fit into whatntheir version of a child is supposed to be. It's not always an easy road but thankfully I have family that loves and respects me for who I am. Would they have rathered a straight son or brother? Who knows. It is what it is. I will say however that their hair would look like shit if I were straight.
Kristen Ferrari September 07, 2011 at 03:08 AM
I do want to disclose that Joeybell13 is the friend I wrote about and it was him I had this argument with. I wanted to have his permission before I stated that because although he lives openly I don't feel its my place to out him on a public forum. Joey, I don't think a parent upset about a gay child is necessarily ignorant. I think its like my other friend who is afraid to participate in this discussion says. There are certain visions you have while your child grows up regarding college, weddings, and grandchildren and because we're only coming to a time now where gay marriage is being legalized and accepted, parents worry that they'll never share in certain milestones. Also, because I truly believe that a person is born gay and that it isn't a lifestyle choice, I see it as what a person just is and accept it. I don't consider that a politically correct position as much as just what it is. Maybe in a few years as the perceptions and attitudes change, people will feel differently. Without preaching, I do feel that open and honest discussions are important. I never want someone to feel they can't share an honest opinion on anything I write and welcome all opinions and discussions. By talking about it and going back and forth is where we learn from each other and create change. There's a way to discuss without bashing and I hope to continue doing that.
Joseph V Bellavia September 07, 2011 at 12:58 PM
As much as I value your friends point on the disappointment a gay child brings to the mix when they don't marry in a "normal manner" or have children "normally", I can't help but think of some straight children that may have strayed from the norm also. Scott Peterson? OJ Simpson? Charlie Sheen? Or any straight kid for that matter that doesnt speak to their mother or siblings because she isn't living in a manner that they expected of her.. Being gay is just a label to have a reason to shut someone off or turn them away. The truth is loving your child, or whomever it may be, equally and respecting their differences.
Kristen Ferrari September 07, 2011 at 01:18 PM
Joey, I don't think comparing a parent's disappointment over missing what's considered a milestone with a child becoming a serial killer is fair. Societal views of what's considered normal or acceptable are part of the reason for some of the disappointments some may feel. Its not always about love as much as it is about perception. A parent may feel they won't get to walk their daughter down the aisle or that parenthood is no longer an option for their kid. While this is no longer as true as it once was, it is still a struggle for the gay community and I think that's where some of the disappointment may come from. Comparing that to Charlie Sheen or Scott Peterson misses the point. Do you really want to put having a gay child in the same box as having a child who commits horrific murders or abuses their partner? I don't want my kids growing up to become criminals but I try to teach and guide them to become happy and productive members of society. I can't teach them or guide them to being straight as opposed to gay. There is a great organization called PFLAG that recognizes and addresses the issues families may face when a member of the family comes out of the closet. I've heard wonderful things about it.
James M. September 07, 2011 at 05:07 PM
I would have to say many parents have an expectation for their kids. Some parents can only focus on their expectations such as the college the child will go to or what type of person they will live the rest of their lives with. For many it is a disappointment because of their expectations not with the child. I love my kids and can better lead them on the path of a straight heterosexual individual. If my kids are homosexual then I don't have a clue , a plan, or even know what to expect and I think that is what scares most parents. Expectations lead to disappointment. Don't have expectations and enjoy your kids for who they are.
Kristen Ferrari September 07, 2011 at 05:25 PM
J. Marshall, I think a lot has to do with expectations as well. Thanks for commenting.
Joseph V Bellavia September 07, 2011 at 06:28 PM
My point was not to say whether or not a parent would rather have a gay child or a psychotic serial killer, but to say that even the straight ones can be a huge disappointment. It's a sad world when people will not allow their kids to watch dancing with the stars because of a transgendered person is on it yet will allow them to watch jersey shore, or anything kardashian related. It's all related to your post. And for the record, with most of the people I come in contact with, the straightest most homophobic parent usually gets the karmic lesson of having a child that's different from their "norm". They usually change their tune and and love their child unconditionally. For the others thank God for their more approachable aunts and uncles etc.
Kristen Ferrari September 07, 2011 at 06:38 PM
Joey, kids can grow up to be disappointing in many ways whether they are gay or straight. I didn't like your correlation because while you can raise your child and hopefully instill good values, you cannot instill heterosexuality. Its sad to me that people would ban DWTS because of Chaz Bono. I think he's very brave. His mother who is famous for her support of gay causes did have a difficult time with the fact that Chaz came out first as gay and then as a transgender. And why pick on the Kardashians because some small minded people are banning another show? They aren't out clubbing. They aren't getting arrested multiple times. What is their big crime? Having money and allowing cameras to follow them around? Ah, maybe a future topic...all the Kardashian hate.
Gina September 07, 2011 at 07:26 PM
Honestly, the topic of whether or not my child will be gay or straight is not even something that would ever concern me. I actually know of some people who would prefer their child to be gay, but to me, it does not make a difference. I wouldn't care if my son was gay or if my daughter was a lesbian. That is not what makes a person's character. It shouldn't matter who the child and/or person loves, as long as they love and receive love in return. If the child is raised properly and turns out to be a wondeful being in society that is all that counts. Those who have an issue with others being gay and living their lives openly, make me sick. We all make mistakes, but the biggest mistake would be to teach your children to discriminate.
Kristen Ferrari September 07, 2011 at 07:30 PM
Gina, I think a big part of your thought process is your age. One of the things I love about your generation is how open you all are as far as accepting people and differences. I think with each passing generation we learn something and your comment is one of the reasons I have such great hope for the future.
James M. September 07, 2011 at 07:48 PM
Yes Sadly it is the children of the 60s and 70s who had free love and free drugs are some of the same people that continue to be biased towards homosexuals religions and minorities. Maybe it is a cross between nostalgia for their youth and and the trained bias of their parents and society.
Joseph V Bellavia September 07, 2011 at 07:48 PM
I love Gina and her thinking. She should teach classes.
James M. September 07, 2011 at 07:49 PM
I've got plenty of "Reality TV" hate.
Kristen Ferrari September 07, 2011 at 07:56 PM
J. Marshall, funny that you say that because I had a friend a little older who was a hippie and big believer in free love and drugs. She told me I was repressed because I wasn't interested in drugs. Fast forward many years and she's now found God and has a bias against not just gays and other religions but pretty much anything that may produce enjoyment of any kind. As far as the reality tv hate.....I don't watch much television at all but have to admit to an addiction to the Kardashian show. Not sure how it happened. We tuned in one day to see what all the talk was about and became instant addicts.
Yankee Man September 08, 2011 at 12:41 AM
Gina... Do you have kids?
Andrew B. Herzman September 08, 2011 at 03:19 AM
Dan: Why should she answer a personal question like that? Does it change any facts if she has kids or not? She stated her own opinion, so respect it. What is it with you and the personal fixation with others? Can't you debate a topic without an ad hominem?
Yankee Man September 09, 2011 at 02:05 AM
well andrew since we are talking about kids, I felt I needed to know if the writer had kids. If they dont then I disregard their opinion on how "they would raise them", because only those people with kids, ( single moms, dad, gay, straight whaever) reall yknow what parents in like and how we feel about kids. If you dont have a kid than you cannot know the depth of feeling that parents have. Our hopes, fears, all the stress that coes with it.. Gina made a lovely point. however if she does not have kids than I will treat it as a fairytale. You have no kids, so you would not be in any position to tell me what I should or should not do in parenting. Believe me if you have a child, whether you are gay straight, curved (lol), you will want your child to be a striaight person and live a so called normal life.. Yes I used the word normal... People can be whatever they want and they have a right to live a life free of discrimination. However my science class and psych calls decribed normal as "what is the normal behavior for a great majoity of a population". Taking this defination, I beleive that being straight is the normal behavior for any animal . Other things are acceptable but not normal....go ahead kill me for this !!!
Kristen Ferrari September 09, 2011 at 03:00 AM
Dan, I'm don't think you're meaning normal in an offensive way at all and I do understand your point. We want the best for our kids don't want our kids to face discrimination or bigotry which is what I'm gathering you mean. Being straight would be the easiest route therefore the route you'd choose. Am I understanding you? If so, I think it is a perfectly rational argument and not based in hate. As far as your comment that you'd disregard any comment by a childless person goes......we all think we know what we'd do as parents and find the reality very different. However, Gina's openness and acceptance makes me think that any struggle faced by a child she had would be met with love and understanding. It really starts there. I don't think Gina was claiming any superior view on parenting as much as stating she'd love any kids she had regardless. Maybe its not so easy because it really is two different points.....loving your child no matter what and choosing a gay child. If that's the case then the fault lies with me and the way I presented the question.
Andrew B. Herzman September 09, 2011 at 03:43 AM
Dan: You forgot to mention that I'm out of work and can't get laid, etc....slacking off? You have no logic at all. You know that right? If a woman says she would treat her gay child the sam eas if it were straight, who are YOU to dimiss it? Are you calling her a liar? Have you ever watched a movie and had an opinion about it? Under your logic, you're not allowed to have an opinion about a movie unless you're Steven Spielberg. Seriously, why can't you be normal?

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