I rarely discuss this topic due to the fact that every single person takes this opinion quite personally. But, as we’re in the midst of International Pride Week, I find there is power in hearing other’s parenting techniques and views on a very touchy, somewhat political subject matter. So, brace yourself. I’m going to get real. I’m opening up regarding a matter I feel is important to teach my children, at least.
From early on, my parents who were professional Actors on Broadway and Television always had an open mind when it came to other’s sexual orientation. As a young child, I knew people who identified as Straight, Gay, Fluid and A-Sexual. Now, this is not to generalize an individual with a Theatrical background. This was just my personal experience.
For my sister and I, there never truly had to be a conversation regarding respecting other’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity. It was naturally taught and normalized from day one.
Today, we see diversity in sexual orientations and gender identities all over, though I have found one interesting theme while raising my children…
The moment I realized how common it is to normalize heterosexual identity was at a play ground in a very progressive city we lived in when our first child was born. A fellow child began playing with our daughter in the sand as their parent proclaimed, “Aw Son, you must have found a little girlfriend,” in a flirtatious tone.
As innocent as this statement was indented to be, it jolted me. Suddenly, I felt protective over my little girl’s ears and growing mind. Yes, it was a time where trending topics involved Millennial Parents encouraging their children to choose whichever gender they felt appropriate, but it was also an overwhelming emotion I had yet to experience. One that is far too familiar to this day. One that I feel its importance towards speaking out on no matter the negative comments or discouragement I may receive.
With my children, I want to embrace any sexual identity from day one. While playing with toys as a prominently White/European family, not only do I put effort into purchasing other ethnicities but I often discuss how some children (in this case, dolls) have two Mommies, some have two Daddies, and some only have one either Dad and/or Mom.
When I discuss this choice with the friends and family I truly admire and adore, an often rebuttal is, “Well, you don’t want to confuse your child.” But, aren’t we confusing them by only exposing them to Mothers and Fathers, Husbands and Wives?
If my child is intelligent enough to recite the ABC’s, know her continents, assist in folding her laundry, I believe she’s capable of learning and somewhat understanding different sexual identities.
Our children are sponges. They are conditioned to act a certain way, speak a certain way and absolutely think a certain way. I want to normalize Gay as I normalize Straight. I want to normalize Bi-Sexual as I want to normalize A-Sexual.
This may not be easy as a Straight, White Female living in a predominantly white, small town. The environments in which we have chosen to raise our children in will undoubtedly affect the views of our children; however, we are the parents. We are their initial teachers and we can encourage their open mind and their comfort when it comes to who they grow into as people.
I personally would like my children to feel like they never have to “come out” to either my husband or I. I would love for them to just be; to embrace their forever growth, even if their sexual identity changes throughout their years.
With all of this said, I have to admit I catch myself quite often making a generic comment. I am not perfect and I am continuing to learn more about this subject. I am changing- as a Mother, a Woman, a Partner and a Person.
I pray that every individual, big or small, embrace their true selves; that these topics amongst parents become normal and encouraged. I hope that by opening up myself about my parenting choice that I am often uncomfortable speaking about due to other’s judgments, influences you to do the same.
It’s ok if we disagree, if we shed new light on a topic that is rarely discussed, because that’s how we grow. I am not saying that this is the way I will raise my children forever, but it suits our values for now.
Though we at Mother Muse emphasize the importance of The Mother, we welcome everyone. Our Mother Muse comes in many forms, shapes and identities. Whether you go by Mother, Father, Parent or Gaurdian, our audience has no limit. As we grow our platform we hope you grow along with us. This we can surely take pride in.
Words by Mother Muse Julian Jamie
Photographed by Kristin Vicari for Mother Muse No.7
Styled by Lauren Kennedy Malpas
Mother Muse Noemi Ferst