THIS I BELIEVE
At first glance, I’m exactly the kind of person one would expect to be against gay marriage: I am a heterosexual, happily married suburban mother of two school-age boys; and even though my oldest son isn’t quite 14, I am still eagerly anticipating grandchildren. But I still don’t believe my life would be affected at all by gay marriage, other than having some more fabulous parties to attend!
As a divorcee myself, I know first-hand that we “breeders” haven’t done such a great job at preserving the institution of marriage. Why not let gays & lesbians have a shot at it – they can’t do any worse! Besides, do the anti-gay-marriage folks think I should be afraid of? That one of my sons might suddenly say to himself, Hmmm, now that two men can get married, I think I’ll turn gay!?
In the San Francisco area, we like to think we’re more tolerant than that. My neighbors support gay rights in the abstract, and they love watching Queer Eye For The Straight Guy. But my sons still get mixed messages. They participate in a local youth theater; In their last show there were 87 girls and 11 boys. Now, as David (who is almost 14), pointed out to his younger brother, Ben, this was great odds – 8 girls for every boy! (Ben is 10 – he wasn’t impressed.) The moms I spoke to explained their boys preferred sports, or their husbands preferred that their boys do sports, often with a subtext that the boys thought theater was for sissies (or in the charming words of our governor, “Girly-Men”).
David has taken dance classes since he was 4. When he brought his ballet shoes in for kindergarten show & tell, a classmate – named ‘Christian’, of all things – announced that boys who did ballet were ‘gay’. David promptly replied, ‘What’s wrong with being gay?’, and Christian couldn’t come up with an appropriate comeback since he had no idea what he was talking about.
By 4th grade, ‘gay’ becomes the ‘insult-du-jour’ on the playground, and as my sons both remind me, Sure, mom, we KNOW being gay is okay, we love Uncle Bob & Uncle Andy, but if we SAY that at school we’ll just get hassled. So I try to give them a different message. About a year ago, David started asking things like when would he want to start kissing girls. Every time, I responded, Your body will tell you when you’re ready, and it will also tell you whether you want to kiss girls OR boys. After a couple of months of this, he sighed, Mom, could you give it a rest? I hate to disappoint you, but I’m not gay!
Okay, maybe I overdid it a bit, but I do believe that my sons’ lives are richer for knowing my gay friends; I believe that Andy & Bob’s wedding was a lot more meaningful than most of the ‘real weddings’ I’ve been to. I believe that my boys deserve to grow up in a world where they are free to marry the person of their choice – and whoever that turns out to be, they better give me grandchildren!
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