The ‘Right Time’ To Teach Your Kids It’s Okay To Be Gay Is Always
We start teaching our kids about love the minute they’re born. They associate us with love and as they grow, they learn to recognize love by the things we’ve shown them. By the time they enter school, most kids have experienced various types of familial and friendly love and they understand that romantic love exists, even if they’re unclear on the specifics.
Working with that as a foundation, it’s pretty easy to teach them about different kinds of love. You just go with what they already know about love and answer questions if they come up. Men love women, men love men, women love women, everybody loves everybody, the end. Not super complicated — that is, unless you’re a homophobe who thinks kids finding out about two dudes loving each other is equivalent to sitting them down on a couch made of naked people to watch graphic pornography.
According to WNCN, a group of North Carolina parents were outraged recently when their kids’ third grade teacher read the class a book called King And King, which is about two princes who get married. The teacher read the book hoping it would stop the persistent bullying of a student in his class. Instead, it led to a group of parents calling for a school review board to ban the book. The reason? Pearl-clutching over two men loving each other.
“The book would be more appropriate for an older age. It’s a parents responsibility to discuss sexuality with children, whether it’s hetero or homo. It should not be addressed with third graders,” said parent Lindsey Gibson.
What’s interesting to me is this idea that third graders are too young to know about sexuality. I mean, surely those kids have read stories about a prince and a princess getting married, or seen a movie where a boy and girl fall in love. Hell, if their parents are straight and married, they’ve been exposed to heterosexuality since birth. So, what exactly is the problem here? What lesson about sexuality are we really afraid of?
Gay people loving each other is no different than straight people loving each other, and kids wouldn’t think it was unless their parents gave them a reason to believe it. I would read King And King to my three-year-old because love is love and there’s nothing about two guys loving each other that is in any way less appropriate than her seeing me kiss her father goodbye every morning or watching Anna fawn over Kristoff in Frozen.
I would much rather my kids be exposed to diversity and tolerance in the classroom than have them be close-minded jerks who participate in the bullying of a classmate because I was too ignorant and afraid to let them know that it’s okay for other families to not look exactly like ours. There’s nothing wrong or dirty or strange or alternative about being gay, and the right time to talk to your kids about being accepting of all kinds of people, relationships, and families is always.