Raising a Gay Toddler in a Heterosexual World
Many parents who are struggling to raise gay toddlers in a society and a culture mostly dominated by heterosexual day cares and kindergartens are finding strength in numbers, both in community support groups and online. Parents of gay and lesbian babies everywhere are finally beginning to stand up and be counted, and they're saying NO MORE to unfair preschool screening policies and exclusionary treatment. As the mother of a gay 4-year-old boy myself, I know all too well how cruel society can be to kids who are a little "different."
We didn't know it right away, but it was clear to my husband and me pretty early on that our new son, Michael, was probably gay. Shortly after we brought him home from the hospital, we both noticed that he was very emotional and sensitive for a boy, and he had absolutely no aversion to crying in public. I had known a gay man in college, and had seen him display similar behavior...though at the time the similarities between my newborn son and Tad, the guy who used to suck cock for cocaine money freshman year, never crossed my mind.
During those first few months, my husband tried desperately to engage Michael in televised sports and such traditionally masculine pursuits as auto repair and gambling, but Michael displayed little to no interest at all, much to my husband's disappointment. Michael instead was drawn to bright colors, women's voices and pretty pictures, while the baby-sized catcher's mit and baby football my husband had bought on the day Michael was born continued to gather dust in the garage.
On Michael's first birthday, my brother tried to introduce him to cigars and beer, but the little tyke would have none of it. By this time, Michael had taken to finger painting and listening to classical music in a big way, and still showed almost no interest in sports or cars. My husband had even gone so far as to buy Michael some pornographic magazines, but he turned out to be far more interested in scribbling on the pages with crayon than in ogling the heavy-chested bimbos.
It was shortly thereafter that my girlfriend Jeanne mentioned in passing an article she had read in either Time or Newsweek about a couple in Connecticut that was coping with raising a gay toddler. I giggled at first; imagining a little gay toddler mincing around in tight clothes and flirting with other gay babies, and then it suddenly hit me...the baby I was imagining was Michael! Could my son be...gay? I wondered. The word sounded incredibly dirty to me, but I still allowed myself to entertain the idea. If Michael were gay, I thought, it would at least explain his growing aversion to breastfeeding, so I decided to look into the article.
After reading the article and talking it over with my husband,
we decided to take the author's advice and try the "Is My Baby Gay?"
quiz at the back of the magazine. The first question posed the
hypothetical situation, "You come home tired and stressed out about a
problem at work. Your baby...
My husband and I both agreed that Michael would be most likely to listen sympathetically, as he usually did after having his evening wine cooler.
The next question asked, "What is your baby's idea of a
perfect night?" The choices were,
This question was hard for us to answer since we hadn't spent all that much time with Michael, what with our careers, but we both recalled that our teenage Nanny had taken him to one of those "raves" the previous week and said he seemed to like it, so we settled on B.
The questions went on much like that, and at the end of the test, we tallied up his points. Michael had scored a 65, putting him at the extreme end of the Gay Baby spectrum. After a few moments of initial shock, my husband and I quickly tracked down Michael (that little faggot had found his way into the basement crawl space!) and tried to scrub as much of the gay off him as we could with a scouring pad and disinfectant. When that didn't seem to temper his need for cock, we hired a new nanny, this one British, hoping she could shake some heterosexuality into him. That didn't work either, as she only ended up getting him a little dizzy for brief periods of time. Later we would even resort to trepanation, but his skull was still so soft that the drill kept poking through into his brain.
Finally, after lugging our son to practically every faith healer and gypsy in the city, exhausting every poultice and sundry the wiccans gave us, and reciting the story of Sodom and Gomorra non-stop to Michael during his sleep for six weeks, my husband and I gave up trying to turn our son into something he was not--and clearly would never be. He would never be masculine, he would never give us grandchildren, and he was already far too old to sell on the black market for anything above 2 grand.
So we gave up the fight. The very next day we took down the racecar wallpaper from Michael's bedroom walls, threw out his baby Little League uniform (he had never even gotten off the bench anyway), and exchanged his Safeway discount pacifier for one fashioned in the shape of a small penis, which the manager at Cockworld claimed all the gay babies were into nowadays.
But then, something happened. As time went on, my husband and I became more and more comfortable with the fact that our son was gay, eventually even neglecting to lock our bedroom door at night as it became clear that he wasn't going to sneak in and steal our breath. Since then, we have enjoyed watching him grow up into a flaming little toddler. Our house is always immaculate, and he throws incredible parties. Several trips to the local library and some adult film stores have helped educate my husband and I about the gay lifestyle, and we have worked hard to pass along that knowledge to Michael. We want our son to grow up with a strong sense of pride in his people and their achievements, and we want him to have a deep and personal knowledge of his culture, so that when he gets out into the real world, he knows the difference between frottage and a golden shower. We don't want him to be treated like an outsider for having been raised by heterosexual parents.
In the following years, my experiences watching my nanny raise my son, as well as hearing the stories of other mothers like me in my weekly PFLAG support groups meetings, have turned me into quite and an activist for the rights of gay and lesbian toddlers. During the past year, I have spoken at more than 30 preschools on the subject of tolerance, created a special float for the Minneapolis Gay Pride March, and I have personally distributed condoms and safe-sex booklets to members of the gay toddler community at birthday parties and baby raves. And starting next week, I will have a regular column at divisiontwo aimed solely at helping parents in similar situations to my own. I even plan to open an online discussion and support forum for parents of gay toddlers to share news, ideas, and problems associated with raising gay children.
So until then, thanks for reading, and if you have any comments or suggestions, or if you just want to share a story of your own, you can email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maureen Jambor is an executive management consultant, a business systems analyst, a published author, and a part-time mom.
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