I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.
Why Can't It All Be Magically Delicious?
When It Comes To Acceptance, Kids Are Wiser Than Adults
A former student emailed me a few days ago, wondering if I'd review an English assignment she'd written for another class. I told her that I'd be happy to; it's a request I do get on occasion, given I teach both English and French. The student told me that she'd written about her experiences as a bisexual teenager, and so, I set about reading her paper.
In short, the student connected the breakfast cereal Lucky Charms to her experiences. It was simple, it was elegant, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. The bottom line is some people do, in fact, prefer just the marshmallows in the popular breakfast cereal while others prefer the cereal part. There are still others who like both.
By extension, why can't we accept that there are human beings whose likes and dislikes in partners run the same gamut? There are still those members of the LGBTQ community who are regularly harassed because of who they love or because of their gender expression or identity. I still don't get why it even matters to people why people love who they love, or why people come to the realization they are non-binary, or trans, or even pan.
Some might make the argument that it's 2020, so this is no longer an issue. That's extremely shortsighted and naive, though. It still very much is an issue, and there are kids who are still being thrown out of their homes because they come out to their parents. Fortunately, there are kids who are also very loved and supported by their parents regardless of sexual or gender orientation, but there are still people who don't know what it feels like to be supported regardless of who they love or how they identify.
My own children would likely tell me that it's perfectly normal if people have same-sex parents, and I agree with them. It should be perfectly normal, and it should be OK for any individual to come forward and say, "This is my partner, and I love them," regardless of gender or sexual identity or attraction. There are still families that are very much torn apart by revelations that someone is not cisgender, and those are fractures that take years to heal, if people try to bridge the gap to create healing, but being brave enough to admit that perhaps a lack of acceptance of their child whose sexuality or gender identity - or both - is outside the gender binary is another huge ask. It shouldn't be, but there are still families whose members do not communicate because of the lack of acceptance, and that is hard to believe for me.
There are many kids who don't even bat an eye if their friend tells them they're gay, bi or whatever. Sure, there are still some who do make negative comments (or worse), but many of the kids I've encountered seem to view all relationships as very normalized, regardless of gender or sexuality, and that's how it should be.
We need to listen to our kids more when it comes to issues of acceptance. They're far smarter about issues of acceptance than we give them credit for, and it's time we give them some credit. They're pretty much the generation that sees this daily in their classrooms, their jobs, and their leisure time activities and are relatively free from the biases and weight of the world that we've all developed over the years as adults. . I'm not saying kids are necessarily carefree - goodness knows there are too many kids whose families are making decisions between food or rent and mortgage payments - but they tend to look at people with more of an open heart and understanding than many adults, simply because they're generally free of the preconceived notions that many of us have as adults.
So, the question now is, are you about the marshmallows, the cereal, or the whole thing? It's an interesting question when you make the broader connections to humanity, isn't it? What's your response when someone tells you they like either one or the other or both?
We should really start being about accepting the entire bowl of individuals, instead of just accepting years of how things used to be.
The kids are all right.