“If Daddy’s gay, then am I, too?” The girl asking the question was in her early teens, and the mother I heard the story from was caught off-guard, didn’t know how to respond.
The gay lobby still wants us to believe there is a biological cause for homosexuality, although no credible studies have verified it, yet. In fact, identical twin studies challenge the premise.
Moreover, there is a large effort underway to sexualize children at younger ages than before. I saw this in our local high school, fifteen years ago, and I”m seeing indicators on the internet of public promotions of homosexuality in billboards, public library story hours, and so on, now targeting young children.
For our teenagers, the question gets a bit trickier. The basis of the young girl’s question to her mother was that she was recognizing her dad’s homosexuality while also, simultaneously, recognizing that she loved her best friend, another girl. Does the one predicate the other? I suspect many in the gay community would encourage this young girl, at such a vulnerable point in her life, to see herself as lesbian and to embrace the identity.
The honest answer, however, is Probably not. We’ve lost sight, in our sophisticated, sexualized culture, of the fact that young girls develop very strong friendships during the early adolescent years. A hundred years and more ago, even up to the Second World War, if literature is to be taken as representative of the world it is set in, it was recognized that girls crush on teachers, on older girls, on best friends. You can think of Anne Shirley and Miss Stacey and Diana Barry. Rosamunde Pilcher writes of this during the years leading up to WWII, too, with several of her characters, primary and secondary.
I think boys go through something similar, only later – around the end of high school, or entering college. Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited is not about Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte’s homosexual relationship, whatever Hollywood’s latest incarnation wants you to believe. It is part of a time and place where physical affection between friends of the same sex was more open and — this is important – more innocent. I remember interviews about the making of the miniseries, and Jeremy Irons (Charles Ryder) spoke of how a certain year in college marked the point where it became acceptable for young men to walk about arm in arm. Another example is from the Lord of the Rings trilogy: Frodo and Sam, or Pippin and Merry. This isn’t a sexual situation; it’s social.
These represent a love that is normal and nonsexual, a normal developmental phase that that prepares our hearts for other, more mature loves a few years later. There is something insidiously evil about sexualizing these loves, about encouraging children to accept this phase as their identity; when young girls and boys act on these loves and they become sexualized, then our children can become trapped in behaviors and relationships that are toxic and even dangerous.
Again — talk to your children. Use story and movie characters, especially from older works (the earlier Canadian production of Anne of Green Gables, for instance) to point out how lovely and how good friendships are. Use them as an opening to discuss more delicate realities about dishonest sexualization and exploitation.