My wife and I have a 13 month-old son to whom we hope to pass on our fervent support for gay rights as allies. Last night, he got his first ‘talk’. Our son is just starting to understand most of things we tell him, and though I’m sure he doesn’t yet understand something like this, we wanted to start as soon as we could, especially in light of the recent gay bullying epidemic.
First, we wanted him to know that he should be proud of whoever he is later in life, gay or straight, because first and foremost, he has parents that will support him. Second, that bullying on his part will never, ever be tolerated, whether it be because of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, anything. The consequences for him bullying another person will be severe. And finally, that he needs to stand up and defend those that are being bullied. He needs to step in and lend his support, tell a teacher or an adult, tell his parents, and be persistent about it until it is taken care of, especially if that person isn’t even a friend or someone he knows.
I can’t help but think how these incidents might have turned out if these young adults/kids had an ally or just even a little support. If my son is gay, I want him to be proud and know he has family support, no matter what. If he is straight, I want him to be an ally to other kids. We need a systemic change in the way we treat others–and it starts at home. And we’ve decided to start early.
I’m encouraged because today my facebook wall is filled with support of gay rights, from both straight friends and gay friends. And furthermore, as I watch my friends start families, it makes me optimistic that when our children are in school, we can turn the tide on bullying and that gay and straight children can go to school without fear of being picked on for who they are.
Update: We need more like this