Shane Warren

Shane Warren

Shane Warren

 

As part of my weekly work I often get to facilitate group learning environments and like many in the field of adult education, I share stories to help my participants better understand the theory that is being presented.  Some years back at the end of one such training session one participant politely approached with the question: “can I ask, as someone in a same-sex relationship, do you intend to raise your children as homosexual or heterosexual?”

This got me thinking about how society from such an early age sexualise children…

In well-meaning ways, I am sure we are all guilty of asking a primary age boy the simply question: “is that your girlfriend?”  Or jokingly played out loud comments to young boys and girls who are simply playing with one another comments of ‘getting married you grow up’ or let’s play family (who will be the stay-at-home caring for dolly character in this play, and who will carry the briefcase off to work?)

Plus, the subtle message assertions, we put out to children old enough to read through prints on clothing we find in endless children’s clothing stores: the onesies, in baby blue so we cannot mistake it for a boy’s outfit, that reads “chick magnet” or non-descript white pyjamas so boys and girls can send the message to their older siblings that read “And dad just wanted a blow job!”

Such actions I note are done with innocence and it is easy to dismiss thoughts like this as ‘lefty-moral-panic’ but in a heteronormative society it is important to note that the early sexualization of children is alarming health professionals around the world; and when we consider examples as above perhaps one sexual agenda may dominate this process over the other…

So, what can we all learn from this question?  It’s simply a child’s sexual identity is something that they are born with, what we can do is be aware of the normative roles we impose on children through games and conversations.  Don’t assume you’re young one is straight, just as we should not assume, they are not; just assume they are developing beliefs about their role in society as they grow so let’s work together to make sure that is not a toxic environment in relation to the roles of boys and girls, gays and straights…

Oh, and I answered the question with a simple: “we are not concerned, if the boys choose to be straight, we will still love them no matter what…”

 

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The Challenges and Rewards of being a Gay Dad

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