Homophobia was not even a word in my vocabulary until the gay marriage debate became a hot button issue around the time of the Proposition 8 ordeal. I had no idea that people actually gave a shit about what someone else does in the privacy of their own home or who they’ve fallen in love with because it was never an issue I was exposed to.
Growing up I was permitted to paint my brothers’ toe nails, dress them up in dresses and play house with them. One of my brother’s even wrote in his fourth grade memory book that he wanted to be a hairdresser when he grew up.
No one in the family thought twice about this, considering I had wanted to be an astronaut for the longest time and wearing a dress was a punishment for me.
Gender roles were just not enforced in my house.
This makes it more obvious as to why and how exactly my parents handled the idea of “gay”.
They ignored it.
I had an uncle that my father referred to as Auntie, but it was more of a joke than an actual issue, and I didn’t even know he was gay until I was in my late teens.
I knew gay people existed. I was aware of them, but it was not something I ever thought about when I met people.
When I got older, I performed in a musical group with a woman from my church who was a lesbian. I had no idea she was a lesbian because my parents never mentioned it.
(We will call this woman Carla)
My parents let me figure it out on my own. I never wondered why Carla lived with another woman, it just never occurred to me that there was something wrong about it. Whenever anyone spoke about her, even people in my church, all they commented about was her stunning voice. No one talked about, “gay”.
Essentially, I experienced being around people who were gay, before I knew that it made them somehow “different”.
My mother was very careful, and I would like to think this was intentional, on making mine and my sibling’s sexual education factual. I do not remember ever reading that men only dated women and women only dated men and that was it.
I understood sex, but it was presented as more of a fact of reproduction, as opposed to a way that families were formed. There was no talk of marriage or the institution of family.
Maybe it was because I was in theater, maybe it was because I spent my childhood around gay adults who were just presented as people, rather than a spectacle representation of the “new age family”, but I never thought about homosexuality.
I’m not saying that ignoring gay people is a good way to teach kids about different lifestyles.
Rather, I think that simply teaching children (and many adults) that people are people, is probably a good way to eliminate making a spectacle out of “different” ways of life. No one had to explain boys liking girls, so if we make it less taboo, I’m sure kids will figure it out.
And once they do, they’ll probably say what the rest of us (currently considered progressive people) have been thinking for quite some time, “Who cares?”
People are people are people.
Isn’t that really the point?
Below I’ve put the video I referenced in the title of this post.
It’s pretty romantic.