I have had a revelation: I am not the shining example of an LGBTQ ally that I wanted to be.
I advocate. I teach. I accept. I befriend. I’d escort any transperson to any bathroom they needed help entering.
I discovered the gap when I said something along the lines of, “I’m totally cool with whatever my child is! But I would never wish for my child to be transgender. It’s a lot to deal with.”
It made sense as I said it. After all, who would wish their child to face a less-than-ideal life?
But I would never wish for my child to not be athletic, geeky, smart, mechanically inclined, etcetera. I wouldn’t say, “I would never wish for my child to be blue eyed with brown hair and have a great sense of humor.”
I had such flawless rationale for the statement: “Those are all things that won’t make them face adversity in life. It’s not the same thing.” But are any of the letters – L,G,B,T, or Q – negatives? Or is the adversity itself the only negative in the equation?
Parents never want their children to face negatives, I get that. No parent wants their child to struggle to be accepted for who they are.
In saying “I would never wish for my child to be queer,” how am I helping my queer child feel like he is every bit as valuable as his athletic/smart/geeky/musical/mechanical/humorous/blue-eyed/brown-haired cis peers?
If we are going to change the way the world views sexuality and gender, we must become more accepting. We must celebrate. We must be as proud of the possibility of our child being LGBTQ before they come out (of the closet or the womb). Just like we are as we wonder if maybe he’ll be a pilot, or maybe she’ll be a doctor. If we treat their sexuality or gender as something to be feared because of what the world might do to them, we are, in a way, giving the world permission to inspire that fear with continued cruelty.
Imagine a world where you browse parenting magazines as you wait for the ultrasound on your unborn child and see a family on a magazine cover with a gay father and an intersex child below a headline reading “Quick Recipes for Busy Families” or something else totally chill, and you think to yourself, “Wow, are they ever a lucky family. I wonder what we’ll have.” Imagine a world where every single parent – like my friend’s children – doesn’t even bat an eye at someone’s gender, sexuality, or other expression of their identity.
That is not some far-off fantasy world. That is the world we can create for our children. It is the world we can teach them to create. And it starts with us: the parents of the next generation, whether we or our children are cis, straight, L, G, B, T, Q, or anything else. Let them be dragons if they want to be.
Hope for your baby to come out healthy. But also, go ahead: hope for him to come out gay. I give you permission. The same way you might hope for him to be athletic, or a successful entrepreneur, it is okay to hope for your child to be gay. Wish for her to be transgender. Wish to have a son and a daughter all in one lifetime, one body, one soul. Pray she will be bisexual, and not discount the possibility of a relationship based on the gender of her love interest. Wish that he will be happy no matter what he discovers about himself along the way.
So go ahead: wish for a gay child. I promise you: we can teach the next generation to embrace him with the simplicity and purity of today’s children. We can, and we will.
Because they already know how.