This is a topic my mother was never faced with. I did not discuss it with my sons when they were growing up. But now, in 2015, with the media being what it is and society having changed the way we are looking at sexuality, I am being placed into the middle of discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity. My grandkids know kids who are lesbians, gay, and bisexual. It seems they openly recognize these kids in their school system. I don't believe they know any that are transgender, but with Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner and the show I am Jazz, the discussions at our house have started.
I have tried to be careful what I say. Or more importantly how I say it. I ask them first what they think? How much they know? Who do they know? What do their friends say? Is it being talked about in their church groups?
We do not know how sexual orientation is developed. The experts all agree that it is not caused by trauma, imitation of homosexual people, or bad heterosexual experiences. But we don't have full, scientific facts about why some are homosexual and others are not.
I think it is important, as a parent, to know your own biases and prejudices before you discuss it openly with your teen. Be honest with your kids if you have conflicted feelings. I, most definitely, have conflicted feelings. One week I think: Whatever! And the next: that's just not right. At our house we have discussed what the kids have talked about in their church youth groups. I support what they have heard. The church states, as Christians, we have to stand on what we know the Bible says about sexual orientation. And that we, as well as Jesus, still love all people. You can still call them your friends. It is not our place to judge others. That right belongs only to God! I tell them that it is not okay to bully someone or stand-by as that person is being bullied; regardless of the reason.
My biggest concerns about this whole subject is when "the other side" name calls and condemns those of us who don't believe in their lifestyle. That just isn't being fair. When you want us to love and accept you for what you are then you must be prepared to love and accept us for how we are.
It is much harder to be a teenager now than it was when I was growing up. I was well into my twenties before I knew anything, at all, about homosexuality. My grandchildren are much more educated and much more accepting than I am. Maybe this generation will be instrumental in helping all of us be more accepting.
What are your thoughts? Have you been in a position that you have had to talk with a young person about your beliefs? What did you say?