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I try to raise my kids as gay (and I never even have to say “gay”)

How am I trying to raise my kids as gay, you ask?

Well, it’s simple: I learned how watching straight people impose a sexual orientation on their children without ever saying “straight”.

One of the most amazing things about straight cisgender people is that most of them don’t think they have a sexual orientation or gender identity. A major premise of Florida’s recently passed “Don’t Say Gay” bill is that children should be protected from discussions of sexual orientation, and in many ways, I, a queer mother married to a woman, I I agree with that. This also goes for gender identity ― I think it would be amazing if schools stopped teaching gender as an innate expression stemming from what’s in your pants. And I believe that young children can learn all about love, family, and different family structures without needing to frame them in overly sexual or romantic ways. But that’s not how straight society likes to play.

The ironic twist about this legislation is that the mainstream heterosexual culture loves to aggressively (hetero)sexualize young children in ways that if LGBTQ people did so, we would be labeled perverts, extremists and child molesters. . And yet heterosexual grooming – a term I coined for this phenomenon – is so constant and pervasive that most people don’t even notice it.

What is heterosexual grooming?

It is a set of practices and expectations based on the sex assigned to the child at birth, which promotes the formation of a loving and possessive relationship between children of the “opposite sex” and their parents. As soon as these straight parents find out if they have a “baby penis” or a “baby vagina,” they seem to be obsessed with the idea of ​​a romantic bond forming with the parent who has different genitalia than the baby. .

I find that really upsetting. Not only does he sexualize children, but he does so in the context of the family. yuck. And, yah, maybe applying the term “heterosexual grooming” to this practice seems a little harsh, but gay marriage is constantly equated with bestiality, so maybe we all just need a skin thicker, right?

Before everyone freaks out about all of this, let me take a moment to say “not all straight people”. But if you’re a straight person who feels defensive, I suggest you explore that defensiveness. Is it maybe because you’re so used to being part of – and promoting – a zealous and pervasive multi-generational offense for Team Straight without even realizing it? This is because this problem is systemic and it is a system that straight and cisgender people benefit from and support.

Of course, you can actively unsubscribe, but it’s a conscious choice that requires a lot of work. Many parents think they say “gay,” but they don’t often, and they never do when talking about their children’s sexuality. They may like and discuss the LGBTQ adults in their lives, but they imagine and believe that their children, or the children they know, are straight and cisgender. Even in the most liberal households, most children will be raised straight until they come out otherwise. Yes, there is still a high statistical probability that your children will end up heterosexual and cis, but they are much more likely to be LGBTQ than to be a doctor, lawyer or professional athlete, and many people can imagine (and hope) this future for their children.

What is most troubling about heterosexual grooming is a child’s young age when it begins and the aggressiveness with which it is often practiced throughout a child’s life. This “father of the bride” business begins when infants from heterosexual families are brought home from the hospital in tiny onesies with slogans like “Daddy’s Girl” and “Sorry, Boys!” Dad says no date. Children assigned a boy at birth may find themselves in a “Sorry, girls!” My Heart Belongs To Mom” or a small “Boob Man” t-shirt. I know, I know, it’s all fun – if your idea of ​​”fun” is to strategically impose a sexual orientation on kids before they can say “dad” or “mom.”

And it doesn’t stop when kids get verbal. Toddlers are apparently great heterosexual flirters. From the way some adults talk, these kids always seem to know how to make eyes at anyone with a different set of genitals than they do. How they hone this ability at such a young age, my own bisexual brain cannot comprehend. It’s almost as if parents deliberately create a world where there is only one way to be and project that onto their children.

Many parents think they say “gay,” but they don’t often and never do when talking about their children’s sexuality. They may like and discuss the LGBTQ adults in their lives, but they imagine and believe that their children or the children they know are straight and cisgender. Even in the most liberal households, most children will be raised straight until they come out otherwise.

This blind indoctrination continues into elementary school and further into adolescence with daughter/daddy dances, an overprotective father culture and teasing children that they are each other’s boyfriend/girlfriend if they have friends who are of the “opposite sex”. Even in adulthood, there’s this idea that dad never wants to be replaced by another man and that no woman will ever be good enough for mom’s perfect boy. I am blown away that mainstream straight society has decided to take all of its twisted Freudian stuff and treat it like a public to-do list rather than saving it for therapy.

At first I thought this forced heterophilia on children was disgusting, until it gave me the fantastic idea that I could also raise my children with a preferred sexual orientation from the start of their lives. Although I’m bi, my wife and I have chosen to go full gay with our kids – and let me tell you, I think it works!

From the moment we brought our daughter home, she was obsessed with breasts – beyond milk. She was a “Boob Man”. Growing up, most of his preschool friends were girls, and we just knew there was “something more” between them. As soon as she was old enough, we signed her up for softball so she could meet other LGBT toddlers. Turns out she’s more of a high woman. Well, we’ll let her quit as soon as she finds a girlfriend – or maybe a wife. (LOL! Moms can dream, right?) It was kind of awkward when the kids talked about their straight moms and dads at school – if only they could keep that lifestyle to themselves! ― but we quickly dismiss that kind of conversation, telling him, “It’s just something the kids say.”

Now, because we’re a two-mom family, making sure our son is gay is trickier. But we’ve already chosen a perfect husband for him―another boy his age (hi, Emilio). They even kissed once through the bars of their cribs. They couldn’t talk yet, but why would that keep us from knowing they had a spark? We’re doing everything we can to encourage his homosexuality — like letting him listen only to show tunes and Britney Spears (no “Baby Shark” for our little queerspawn) — and we’re crossing our fingers that all that hard work pays off. fruit.

What’s amazing is that we can do all of this without ever saying the word “gay”. We just need to make sure our children understand that the only proper desire they can have is the desire to be the same sex.

Unfortunately, because our culture privileges and prioritizes straight and cis identities, it’s not just these people who assume the world – and the future – is straight and cisgender. Seldom were LGBTQ people told that we had a future to imagine or claim for ourselves. The inheritance was denied to us. Our stories are hidden. Our contributions are refused. Our lives are lowered. Our love is called dangerous. For this reason, many LGBTQ people still believe that one would have to be straight or cis to have a future worth living and laws like the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill remind us how vulnerable we truly are. .

At the end of the day, I think some of the politicians and parents who support the Don’t Say Gay Bill think that if we don’t tell kids about the LGBTQ community, they won’t understand that they’re part of it. . We know that’s not how it works. No matter what parents or other role models do, you can’t “make” someone gay, or bi, or trans, or anything else. I wrote this piece as a satire to make a point – even though my wife and I have spent every moment trying to impose a “gay agenda” on our kids, they can still turn straight. But that’s not what it’s really about.

The truth is that growing up in a world where you don’t see examples of yourself because everything systematically favors heterosexual and cis people – or where people like you are erased or prevented from being taught in school – has consequences. You believe you don’t deserve to be seen or heard, and that may make you think you shouldn’t even be here. On the other hand, if we embrace LGBTQ adults and families and children learn about our lives and our history, children will feel safe to be themselves. It could actually mean that more children end up being part of the LGBTQ community and that means we will end up with more LGBTQ people. But it’s not because getting to know us made them LGBTQ. It just means it made them feel good about being exactly who they are – and gay, or straight, or whatever identity, really, that’s what we should all wish for our kids, right? not ?

Allegra Hirschman is a San Franciscan who moved during the pandemic to a New England suburb with her wife, two cubs and a mini goldendoodle, Cupcake. She is a writer, multimedia storyteller, outspoken bisexual, and flash mob initiator. You can find her occasionally commenting under the unfortunate Twitter account @allegrahirschma.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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