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SCENE: "15 items or less" grocery checkout aisle, 12:30 PM. We are waiting behind two people and a queue is rapidly forming behind us. Laurel, mildly bored by waiting, is looking at the covers of magazines next to the checkout stand.

Laurel: [reading the headline on a magazine] I'm Gay!

People around us look vaguely uncomfortable, particularly the woman immediately behind us in line.

Laurel: What does 'I'm gay' mean?
Me: It's like J-- and I--.

(J-- is my cousin; I-- is his boyfriend.)

Laurel: So what does 'gay' mean?
Me: It's when a man loves a man.
Laurel: [giggles]
Me: It's just a way people are, like having different-colored eyes. Just in our family, you have blue eyes, I have brown eyes and Daddy has green eyes.

The woman behind us now looks extremely uncomfortable.

Laurel: I'm gay! I'm gay!
Vogon and Me: [simultaneously] That's enough, Laurel.

...

The first time I explained homosexuality to her in the context of J-- and I--, she asked if that she could be their flower girl when they get married. I'm not sure whether I'll be relieved or mildly sad when that magazine goes off the newsstands.

Comments

angelpez
Jan. 13th, 2007 02:32 am (UTC)
How else are are you suppose to tell kids? I'm confused by that. You can't lie to them!
oddharmonic
Jan. 13th, 2007 07:19 am (UTC)
There are people that tell children point blank that homosexuality is wrong and that homosexuals will go to hell. I grew up in a much more tolerant environment, so I didn't realize how divisive it is to people until I was in high school and heard people use derogatory terms for sexual orientation as an insult.

Looking back I'm really impressed at how well my parents minimized the impact those words had to me. Since I'd been called a racial slur for the first time in middle school, when I got to high school I was ready to calmly point out why those words were a poor choice for insults.

Not that I was much better; my preferred insults at the time were phrases in Latin like "sheep breeder" or "wax eater".

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oddharmonic
Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zulu

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