Gay marriage is not inappropriate for children. No two ways about it.
In children’s eyes, marriage implies love, especially prior to adolescence. Unfortunately, our culture has created a stigma that equates homosexuality with things other than love. Therefore, it is neither irresponsible nor inappropriate to inform our children of the diversity our world holds, in an effort to foster open discussion and acceptance, and extinguish fear and misunderstanding.
In my eyes, however, sex is inappropriate for children. It’s not something that should be discussed because children under the age of 12, for the most part, are not capable of being sexual beings. They are, however, capable of love, and that is all we are trying to promote.
5 Reasons You Need to Talk to Kids About Gay Marriage
(1) It’s here. Whether you like it or not, gay marriage is now legal in Illinois, and gay people are more and more comfortable being open about their sexuality. Hiding it from kids is not fixing anything; rather, it is only exacerbating the problems that kids face daily. By being proactive and talking about it with them, they are much less likely to be blind sighted, and much less likely to say something ignorant when faced with it for the first time.
(2) They need to feel safe in school. When I was in elementary school, I’ll always remember the day I held hands with a boy. To this day, I don’t know why I did it, and I’ve never really spoken about it before. But I do remember being made fun of for it. And it hurt. Clearly, it stuck with me.
(3) Diversity is diversity is diversity. It’s not “straight” diversity only. Condoning acceptance of diversity for some is not acceptance of diversity at all. It is prejudice. By refusing to acknowledge a minority group in our country, we are telling kids that it is okay to ignore groups of people. It is not okay to ignore groups of people, especially when we claim to be a tolerant and equal nation.
(4) You’re only cultivating fear if you don’t. When we don’t understand, we fear. When we fear, we react. And when we react out of fear, it is, many times, not pretty. By ignoring the issues and prohibiting its discussion, fear of gay people is only increasing. And this will only lead us down a never-ending road of misunderstanding and intolerance.
(5) It’s just the right thing to do. Everyone deserves to be accepted. Everyone deserves to be loved. And not for something that someone else wants us to be, but for the rawest, most unapologetic version of ourselves.
I was told today that I could not change the world. But I can. And you can, too. It starts with kids, and it should start now.