Amelia’s son is in love with the gay Warbler called Blaine from the all-singing TV show Glee.
That’s as surprising as bread at a bakery, says Amelia, because Blaine is a pretty handsome fellow. So the shock for many doesn’t come there. It’s the fact her son is seven-years-old.
So she blogged about it, anonymously, and then the Huffington Post picked it up. And then the world got involved.
And that’s where all the drama started. Parents saying she was encouraging her son to be gay, that she and her husband brain-washed him, that a seven-year-old couldn’t possibly be gay. And Amelia has calmly brushed aside all of that when the messages of support came flooding in. Thousands upon thousands, many adults saying ‘I knew when I was a kid, too’.
That’s when Amelia came to the conclusion that she’d been invited into the inner sanctum.
“It got me thinking and after awhile I started to feel like I knew this big secret that shouldn’t be a secret at all: Every gay adult used to be a gay kid. It’s not as if all children start off as straight until some time later when someone flips the gay switch. We are who we are from the very moment we are born.”
But you really need to hear her story in her own words.
Q: How did you, your son indicate that he had a crush on this very handsome high school student character?
A: Well, he is very handsome! He, did a lot of different things. He liked to hold his picture. We got him the Warblers CD and in that was a picture and he would take it out and say things like ‘Mummy he is so pretty’. He would refer to him as his boyfriend and things like that, the regular things they do…
Q: Tell us then, what happened, when you were talking on the phone to your relative about these observations?
A: I said ‘we’re not saying he’s gay and we’re not saying he’s straight, we’re saying we love who he is and every child should have that opportunity’ and my son’s voice popped up behind me and he said ‘yeah I am’ and I’m on the phone and I was all distracted and I said ‘am what baby’ and he said ‘I’m gay’.
The world stopped for a couple of seconds because that’s not what you expect to hear from your seven-year-old son … at least that’s not what I expected to hear from him.
Q: How did you respond to him?
A: At the time I just got down to his eye level and told him I loved him and he quickly ran off to do something exciting you know … it wasn’t anything momentous. My husband and I talked about it and we have very similar minds that people are who they are and we need to support them and celebrate them and love them and that includes our children.
Since then, whenever the word gay comes into conversation he will pop up and say ‘oh, gay, I am gay’ and he says it very naturally.
Q: The reaction you have had has been extraordinary. Some people have been very indignant that you have planted this idea in his head, that he is too young.
A: Well if you ask him what being gay means, he will tell you. He says it means he doesn’t want girlfriends, he wants boyfriends. He wants to hold hands with other boys and wants to marry another boy.
One of the reasons people get so indignant is that they are coupling sexual activity with orientation and while he is seven-years-old his knowledge of sex is rudimentary to the point that he has seen me be pregnant twice and knows that is where babies come from and that is it. It is not a sexual thing to him because that advanced sexual thinking is not part of his life but as far as orientation goes he sees that every day. We live in a very diverse community, we have been blessed with gay and lesbian friends so he sees gays and lesbians in his life so the idea is a very natural idea to him.
Q: Kids have that lovely fluid habit of morphing and responding to inputs as they age, so he might turn up at 12 and say he likes the girl next door, how would you navigate that?
A: We really don’t see it as something to navigate. Our son is who he is and that really is the end of the conversation. If he comes to me tomorrow and says ‘no, I like girls’ I would be shocked I will admit but there would be no second guessing.
Q: You have heard from a lot of young people, what have they said?
A: Especially at first I heard from a great deal of young people and some of the stories are good stories. I heard from several teenagers who had come out to their parents. One 14yo boy came out to his mum that day and his parents were great with it and he just wanted to write and tell me about it. Unfortunately I also get a lot of them that are much less fun and sometimes kids agonise it and tell me they wish they weren’t gay and wish they could change because then their families would be happy again.
Q: You make the provocative observation that straight children have nothing to announce.
A: Well, I just think that’s true. We expect little girls to want to play wedding with little boys and parents lead into it too. The instant one of our children have a friend of the opposite gender some parents make comments about ‘oh is that your girlfriend or boyfriend’ and it’s that way in all of society. When it comes to homosexuality it is something different and something other.
My writing reinforced to some parents and kids who deal with this that there is nothing wrong with them. There is something wrong with the people telling them that.
It became very important to me to make sure that as many children as possible heard the message there is nothing wrong with them, there is something wrong with their parents if they can’t love you for who you are.
What do you think of the way ‘Amelia’ has handled the situation with her son? What would you do in her place?