What do I tell my kids? – A letter about homosexuality from father to son

father-and-son-silhouette

Dear Keith,

I have watched you grow since you were just a small pea in your Mummy’s belly. You cannot imagine how proud I am of you as you are today. Even in your darkest moods or at your worst behaviors, I have only love and amazement at how far you’ve come these past ten years in this world.

Then one day, you came into my study and asked me whether you were gay or straight.

I was stunned by the suddenness of it all. You are only ten. How did you get to know about sexual identity? Have I carelessly exposed you to unwholesome material on the internet or on the TV? Or did you pick this up from your friends?

The thoughts whizzed past my brain as I tried to come up with a satisfactory answer. Guilt and worry wracked my thoughts, and try as I may, I could not come up with an answer to your question.

So I made an excuse and sent you off to play.

But such things cannot be delayed for too long. Eventually your mind would come back to that question. You are young, eager to learn, curious about all things, and most of all, determined to have your answers.

So here it is.

The majority of humans are straight, but a minority of them are gay. In science, we call straight people heterosexuals, and gay people homosexuals.

Homosexuality has been around for a long, long time.

Homosexuals are different from heterosexuals because they are sexually attracted to someone of the same gender, male or female.

When I say sexually attracted, it means having a physical reaction in your sexual organ and the feeling that you want to have sex. Your penis gets larger or smaller at times, even when you don’t feel like having sex, because it is nature’s way. But when you say you are sexually attracted to someone, it means you wish to have sex with the person.

Humans reproduce when a man has sex with a woman. The woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby.

A woman can have sex with another woman if she wants to, and a man with another man. They will not be able to make a baby unless they get special help from a doctor.

But relationships are not just about sex. I have already told you the story of how I met and married your Mummy. The love between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, can be like the one I share with Mummy. The only difference is they love a person of the same gender.

Throughout your life, you will have many relationships, not just sexual ones. You will have relationships with your friends, your family, your teachers, and your future colleagues, and us, your parents. You will experience love from all of these relationships.

But you will eventually find one person who will give you an experience of love like no other.

In the beginning, love will feel like a roller coaster, leaving you breathless as you swing from the highs to the lows.

You will feel an incredible need to be close to that person, just as you felt the need to be close to me and Mummy when you were younger.

You will feel like protecting that person and being their strong man. You might even want to share everything you have with them, and might expect them to do the same for you.

You will also feel sexually attracted to that person. It is a biological reaction and it is OK.

I remember that one time when you were nine, you came home and told me that you wanted to be friends with a girl from your class. I asked you if you had any other friends in class and you said yes. I asked if you had other friends who were girls and you also said yes.

I then asked you why did you specially want to make friends with that girl.

You said, “She makes me feel special.”

Love is a little like that. It starts off as a special feeling, but as your friendship grows and your feelings start to become deeper, you will realize one day that you might want to spend the rest of your life with that special girl. If you remember that feeling you had for that girl, you will find your answer.

You may not always get to be friends with every girl who makes you feel special in your life, but you will learn new things about love and about yourself as you meet more and more girls in your life.

And as you grow older and more experienced, you will learn who to love, how to love and one day, you too will find someone just for you, just like how your mother and I found each other.

I want you to know that it is OK to feel sexually attract to all sorts of things. Humans are biologically wired to feel sexual attraction to the weirdest things at times. But ultimately, a relationship is not just about sex. It is about that feeling of love between two people, like the kind of love I feel for your mother, that makes a relationship, and sex, meaningful.

You might have seen or learnt about homosexuality from your friends or the internet. It is OK.

You might feel that being gay or straight is a choice that you must make here and now. It is not. You are still young and have not had the opportunity to find the love of your life.

If you have homosexual friends, be their friend. If you have straight friends, be their friend.

If you have friends who use the gay word to insult and demean others, know that it is wrong and put a stop to it. But you should not be forced to choose sides. You don’t have to tell someone you are straight or gay just to gain their friendship.

The difference between straight and gay people has caused a lot of hate and anger in the world today. But that is no reason to hate another person just because he is different.

I pen this letter not to tell you whether it’s right or wrong to be gay or straight.

You are in control of your own body and feelings. You know what you want. And while you may not always succeed in getting what you want, because not all relationships are built to last, don’t let any failure cause you to doubt yourself. You are what you want to be.

Just remember that you will always have me and your Mummy. You are my son, and I am proud of you.

 

With love,

Your father

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