19
   

Avoiding Heteronormativity

 
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 01:58 pm
If a kid has a crush on some other kid or not, their sexual orientation is irrelevant.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 02:23 pm
@InfraBlue,
well on Senfield George had a man crush on the Mimbo so I guess yeah - there are men on men crushes and not necessarily gay.
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 03:15 pm
@Linkat,
Not only guys, girls have crushes too!

However, the age group 11 - 14 is very vulnerable as they're starting to get interested in sexuality and they're oftentimes confused. Girls sometimes think they're gay because they feel more comfortable with other girls and they see the familiarities in their own sexuality also in other girls.

Only later on when they've become more adventurous and daring, will they
explore the other sex. I assume (not having a son) that it's similar with boys
and it will take another two years or more to find out what these teens preferences are.

They might be born into homosexuality, but until they acknowledge and accept it, they definitely will have a go with the opposite sex. It's all a learning process and if we allow our children to explore all these avenues, they'll emerge from it in a more understanding way towards others.
0 Replies
 
Sturgis
 
  5  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 04:57 pm
@sozobe,
Quote:
In general, when kids are speculating about who has a crush on who, the implicit assumption is that everyone is straight.

That's what I was talking about, in the first place, so the "not my business" answer doesn't really apply.

.............
............

I asked if she had a crush on anyone -- last I knew, she didn't -- and she said no, not really. IF she has a crush on anyone, she said, it's probably this guy. (I'll call him Ryan.)

We talked about that for a bit, and how to know if you have a crush on someone vs. whether you just like the person as a friend. She thought that she probably just likes Ryan as a friend, but then said that a lot of people think he has a crush on her.

We talked about that for a bit, and she asked me what I thought -- whether I think he has a crush on her from what I've observed. I mentioned the stuff I wrote above about how he obviously likes her, but I couldn't tell, myself, whether he has a crush on her. I also said I thought he might be gay, within that context. Definitely not "he is gay," just by the way, in terms of him having a crush on you or not, maybe gay.

I have to disagree with you on this. It truly is not the business of you or anyone what another person's sexuality is. If the child is raised to know there are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual people and that they are all equal, then there is no reason to ever take guesses the way you did with your daughter's friend, and understand, saying he might be gay, is taking a guess. No, it's not making it an ironclad statement that he most certainly is; but, it is entering a space where you really don't know, and the best is to say "it's none of my business". If you were asked point blank, the choice becomes "none of my business" or "he or she may be."

Quote:
I could've left it at just I couldn't tell if he had a crush on her, sure. At the time I didn't have any particular goal in mind, just was talking to her in a way we often talk.


I personally feel you should have left it at the place of not being able to tell. It's not that I feel you were pursuing any agenda or had a goal, you were just talking; however, it went to a risky territory. Although she will be quiet (and I trust your statement on that), she now has a question mark in her thoughts. She didn't immediately agree with it, as you indicated she was 'taken aback' then went 'hmmm maybe.' Was it really even in her thoughts prior to that, or, did you plant it there?

Quote:
But I realized that it's of a piece with me saying, when she does the imaginary prom match-ups (and they do that!) "remember that by the time you guys are going to prom, some of your class will probably have come out as gay," or "check out this sweet story [in the NYT Sunday paper marriage feature, about a gay couple]." (I don't do it just about gay couples, but a certain percentage of the "awww sweet story" features are about gay couples.)

I honestly don't know why you keep shoving the "remember that by the time...some...will probably have come out as gay." When I was in school,(mostly pre-Stonewall), there were actually a few (and I mean very few) who did come out. Again, you let the child know people exist and have differences but all are equal. Treat a person based on who they are not who they find attractive and want to marry.

Regarding the marriage listings, I'm happy you read them; but, am curious. When reading through, do you make a point of saying 'oh look a gay couple!" or do you do say "these 2 men (or 2 ladies) look quite happy." As indicated, I am curious on your approach there.

Quote:
I don't want her to assume that everyone she is going to school with is straight, because that's probably not the case.


Why would your daughter make the assumption that everyone in the school will be heterosexual? You've already indicated a cousin who is a lesbian, a visible open homosexual presence in the community, children in her class with 2 moms or 2 dads. It would be strange if she thought that those were the only homosexuals in the world (or in the United States). You've always described and told of a bright young lady, I think she is likely aware that homosexuals might well be in her school.

My growing up years didn't have media portraying homosexuals very much. There was no Will and Grace. Boys In The Band was still very hidden from most movie screens, the biggest groundbreaking gay character I saw was held back as a disabled man, in Tell Me That You Love Me Junie Moon. That was the first time I knew, I mean really knew, that there were other homosexual men out there and that you couldn't always tell just by looking at them. It was the first time I understood that I wasn't alone. Sure there were the handful in school; but, they were just stick figures to me, I hadn't connected the dots yet. (Junie Moon and a fellow with the initials D.D. torpedoed me out of the closet.)

Okay, I am sure I will regret that last part in about 20 seconds; however, I plan to post it anyway (it took me too long and made my eyes too wet not to post it). My point on that was mainly that young people today are growing up in a world of increasing awareness due to media, and open individuals which lets them know that there is more than just the stock sexuality of heterosexual.



(now all I have to do is wonder if any of that made sense)
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 05:02 pm
@sozobe,
My impression, especially dominant in America but also present in Germany, is this: Parents tend to be deeply uncomfortable with the notion that their children have sexual desires at all. They tend to freak out at the thought that their child will seek to act on those desires by having a sex life of any sort. Child sex itself is taboo. More often than not, it's hard to have a grownup conversation about it. Compared to this taboo, the additional discomfort about children with gay sexual desires, as opposed to straight ones, seems minor to me.
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 05:04 pm
@Sturgis,
Sturgis, thank you for that post. All of it.
Sturgis
 
  4  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 05:06 pm
@ehBeth,
Quite welcome ehBeth (now could someone dry my eyes...it's the pollen, I swear it's the pollen and not the recollections)
CalamityJane
 
  4  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 05:18 pm
@Sturgis,
aawww, I only can imagine how hard it must have been for you back then when homosexuality was still a "bad" word.

As I said already, I've seen the boys my daughter hangs out with and how
it is a non-issue for them to openly profess their sexuality, but they might have very understanding parents and after all, we live in southern California and not in rural Tennessee or Kentucky.
Thomas
 
  4  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 05:21 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
But that's the heteronormativity part.

The implicit assumption is that everyone is straight.

Nine out of ten people are straight. So how is it 'heteronormative' to presume that a given person is straight? I'm sure you're open to changing your mind when this presumption proves false, and that you're not implying there's something wrong with it proving false. So what's the harm? On the same note, I got suspicious about the article when it presented the following as an uncontested, quasi-authoritative statement about raising kids:

In Sozobe's Salon article, Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote:
“I think every parent has to step back and say, ‘I have an equal chance that any child I bear will be heterosexual or homosexual,” says Paul V., who created the Born This Way blog as a showcase for photographs and stories of growing up gay — and whose book based upon it comes out later this year.

No, 'I' do not! The odds are 90% that 'my' kid is straight, 10% that it's gay. There's nothing normative about acting on a presumption that is factually true for 9 kids out of 10. And when Paul V says the odds are 50:50, he is either incompetent or disingenuous.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 06:23 pm
@Sturgis,
Sturgis wrote:
Regarding the marriage listings, I'm happy you read them; but, am curious. When reading through, do you make a point of saying 'oh look a gay couple!" or do you do say "these 2 men (or 2 ladies) look quite happy." As indicated, I am curious on your approach there.


I say "aw, sweet story, check it out." I don't mention anything else.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 06:25 pm
@Thomas,
I think the point there is that you can't know if this specific kid is gay or straight. There is more likelihood of one or the other -- but you can't know.

So it's better to create an environment in which, if that kid does turn out to be gay, the kid feels supported and not like a freak; and if the kid doesn't turn out to be gay, the worst that happens is that they've been raised in such a way that they don't feel like gay people are freaks.
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 06:50 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
I think the point there is that you can't know if this specific kid is gay or straight. There is more likelihood of one or the other -- but you can't know.

If that's their point, it's facile and unhelpful. By the same token, you can't know that your neighbors aren't psycho-killers. There is more likelihood one way or the other, but you can't know. Are you therefore unreasonable for presuming that they're not psycho-killers, and for acting on it every day? We probably couldn't get through our lives without presumptions like that. How is the particular presumption that "my kid is probably straight" any different?

sozobe wrote:
So it's better to create an environment in which, if that kid does turn out to be gay, the kid feels supported and not like a freak;

I think that's a false choice. Because few people are average in every respect, most of us belong to some kind of minority. A supportive environment, then, has to build on credible assurances that it's okay to be different, to belong to a minority. Support cannot flow from assurances that you're not different---especially when they're factually false. So, again, how is the particular minority of gay children and teenagers any different?
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 07:04 pm
@Thomas,
The presumption is not the problem in and of itself, no. The problem is what you do with that presumption.

I've heard lots of stories from gay friends about how their parents felt about gay people when they (the people who turned out to be gay) were growing up. Sometimes it was explicit slurs, sometimes it was just pity, sometimes it was fear. (Occasionally it was neutral. I haven't heard as many stories about parents who were completely accepting right away. Some.)

When I first met my husband's family, they were extremely upset because his aunt had just found out that her daughter was lesbian. She was absolutely distraught. I kept thinking I'd missed something -- all this just because her daughter came out? -- but no, that was the whole thing. They were mourning like she'd died.

The aunt eventually got over it, but at that moment she thought her daughter was a sinner, would never have a family, would be beaten to death, etc., etc. None of that came true. But the whole thing was extremely traumatic for both mother and daughter. And in part because she grew up in that environment, realizing that she was lesbian was extremely difficult for the daughter. She went through a period of extreme depression, etc. (She's now happy and successful.)

Re: the second part, I edited since you quoted, I think. I added "the worst that can happen." As in, there are positives about parenting in that way whether your kid is gay or not.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 07:22 pm
@sozobe,
So, do we agree that there's no essential difference between telling Sozlet that her potential crush might be gay and telling her that he might prefer redheads?
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 07:27 pm
@Thomas,
Yes. I don't think I've argued otherwise though.

I do think that's part of the confusion here. I don't see gayness as a bad thing, at all.

She doesn't either -- she was called lesbian one point as a taunt, and she didn't care in the least.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 07:32 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
Yes. I don't think I've argued otherwise though.

You didn't, but I think the full Salon article from your initial post goes beyond what you argue. Hence my irritation with the stuff about gay children being as likely as straight children.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 07:33 pm
@Thomas,
OK.

What parts of it?

I only stand by what I actually argued. I may or may not agree with whatever you have in mind from the Salon article.
boomerang
 
  3  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 07:46 pm
You know.... if Mo were to announce that he's gay I wouldn't love him any less but I think I might feel a certain kind of sadness.

Just knowing that his life might be made more difficult by something so basic would make me sad. Knowing that he wouldn't have the easy path to contentment would make me sad. Even though the world is changing and people are more accepting, I'd ache for him a little bit, just because I know it would be harder than it should be.

Like.... I know he wants kids. A lot of kids. All the kids. Right now, even, that would be hard for him. And that kind of breaks my heart. I anticipate that it will get better but it could very well get worse.

So I guess I can understand why people might get a twinge when they find out their kid is gay. You spend their childhood sweeping the path, trying to make things easy, wanting them to be happy, only to come across a roadblock that might prevent that from happening in the easy way it should.

Anyway....

I don't think it's easy to be gay. I think it's probably pretty damn hard.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 07:58 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

OK.

What parts of it?

On re-reading, it actually is only the paragraph about equal chances of getting a straight kid or a gay kid, which is bullshit. It was the first paragraph after the author asked, "how should we raise our kids?" It introduced Paul V. as the article's authority. And because of the paragraph's exposed position, it poisoned my perception of the entire article the first time I read it.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  3  
Reply Wed 18 Apr, 2012 08:58 pm
@boomerang,
I'm not sure that being heterosexual increases one's chance of happiness.

Maintaining a relationship can be damn hard work, whether your gay or straight.
 

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