I Don't Want A Gay Daughter

No. I don't want a gay daughter and my daughter knows it. This may appall some people and I really don't give a hot f*ck. I'm appalled that it's okay for the outside world to have an opinion about my daughters sexuality, but I as her mother should remain silent about my feelings on the matter. Those that are outraged by my statement have formed opinions that I'm homophobic, hate gays, or have some other asinine thoughts running through their head.

I can say almost anything about the wants and not wants of my daughter without anyone raising an eyebrow. The subject of sexuality, however, brings out the offense and defense in people. As if parenting wasn't already hard enough people expect me to be bothered with the opinions of the world. If you've read my book, you know my daughter and I started having conversations about sex when she was nine. She is now twelve and our conversations have matured and continue. People ask how do I approach such subjects with my daughter and I have no answer other than I'm not a sugar coating type of mother. Making the statement to my daughter is not the same as beating her over the head and telling her she better not be gay. It is part of a bigger conversation.

One such conversation took place in the car the other day and is what lead to this post. We went down one of our rabbit holes and came up talking about gay lifestyle. To my knowledge, my daughter has no frame of reference or first hand knowledge of the gay experience other than her Aunt Pam and when I talk about my sister who passed six months after she was born. When I told her Aunt Pam was my sister's first girlfriend her response was "WOW, really?" After my sister died my circle of gay loved ones diminished greatly. With the help of the internet, however, my daughter has limited cartoon animated knowledge on the subject. Gay photos are shared between her and her friends though all claim not to be gay. I know this because I go through my daughters text and photos. I asked my daughter flat out if she is gay and she said, no. So, I asked her to explain her fascination with the culture and she couldn't seem to find the words to answer the question.

Since I felt her answers were simplistic, I continued asking questions to gain a better understanding of where my daughter was coming from. Finally, she proclaimed being gay is normal and that I should accept it. This pissed me off. I told her it's not normal and I don't have to accept it and then I stopped talking to her. Yes, I had an internal tantrum of sorts. I later added there is a different between acceptance and tolerance and shut down again. Sensing my mood change she fell into her old trick of asking inane questions of nothingness to get me to talk to her and make sure I wasn't angry at her, which I was and wasn't.

It pisses me off no end when I'm told to accept something. To be told that by a twelve year old is particularly maddening. The only thing I really have to accept in life are the results of MY life choices, everything else is a level of tolerance. The older I get the more it seems people confuse tolerance with acceptance. To accept something means to "believe or come to recognize (an opinion, explanation, etc.) as valid or correct." To tolerate something means "allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference." I accept the laws of the USA, but I tolerate our Presidents.

The other thing that shut me down was the word "normal." My child is growing up in an age where our normals have begun to diverge. Every parent, even before they hold their child for the first time, begins to build an imaginary life for their child. They impart their values right, wrong or indifferent and hope it takes hold. It's about them accepting our normal. When I talk to my daughter about sex and sexuality it's based on her, her body, and boundaries. It has nothing to do with how she identifies although we had that discussion as well. If you're a parent that thinks because you haven't had the same type of conversations it's not true for your child, I suggest you open your eyes. If your child has any type of electronic device, they have the world at their fingertips. It is because of what's available to my daughter through her phone and iPad that we had a conversation where I told her I don't want a gay daughter.

I remember how hard I cried when my sister told me she was gay. It was during a time when gays were being viciously attacked for no other reason than being gay and I feared for her safety. I remember talking with her about her faith and how the church viewed her as going straight to hell. I refused to believe God created my sister to live a life without intimate love. I remember arguing with my mother for talking about my sister behind her back. Now, as a parent I understand a bit of what my mother felt. I remember making a pact with my sister that if she didn't kiss girls in front of me, I wouldn't kiss boys in front of her. I remember sharing a house with her and Pam and how Pam is still with me and we share memories of my sister. I remember kissing and whispering to her as she lay on life support taking her last breathes. I know she heard me because I wiped the tear that rolled down her face as I bid her good bye and good rest.

When I say I don't want a gay daughter it comes from a parenting heart of honesty, not a hating one. Father's holding their sons for the first time don't picture them in tutus and mother's don't picture their daughters binding their breast to look more masculine. I honestly don't care if it's right or wrong because I'm not God. However, to fully examine myself in this area I step out of my Christian beliefs. In doing so I still believe the male and female form are created for each other. If not for the coming together of those two forms, life would cease to exist. Even that doesn't matter because I now live in a world that has taken away the necessity of coming together by introducing beakers and test tubes into the situation. Life is created in a Petri dish to continue the species. After someone is successfully impregnated, what happens to the unused embryos, are they discarded, used for research, or worse yet, used for capital gain by unscrupulous individuals? I don't accept it but as a member of society I tolerate it.

Norms are ever changing. No matter where you are in your parenting journey there will come a time, or already has, where you will be impacted by a new normal introduced to you by your child. Whether you accept or tolerate that normal is your choice to make. In the grand scheme of things, parents have a small window in which to impact their children. My daughter knows the current rules of my house. I say current because I'm ever changing. I know what I like and don't like. I know what I will and will not tolerate. Since I don't want people trampling on my opinions, I keep a lot of them to myself. That does not mean I shield myself from the world or that I won't listen to someone with differing opinions. I stop listening when people get exasperated because they can't win you to their side. When that happens, it turns into arguing and I have better things to do with my time.

After two miscarriages I was blessed with a daughter. When I held her I began to dream big dreams for her. As a parent I want every opportunity for my daughter to live her best life. As a parent I will come to tolerate a lot of things from my daughter. I accept that she will come to a place and time where she will know what is best for her. I can't speak for all parents but as a heterosexual parent my world view is just not that progressive. I want a son-in-law and grandchildren without the interference of science and technology. That is what I envision as the mother of a girl. Parents everywhere harbor feelings of wanting their children to be like them in some way. Why is it not okay for me to want my daughter to be like me when it comes to her sexuality?

P.S. My daughter approved this message.

Phyllis Williams-Strawder is the author of That Damn Girl Stuff: A Mother's Truth and Far From the Tree.

Phyllis is also the publisher of SPICE: The Variety of Life written by her husband Neil and Morgan Mischief written by her daughter Morgan.

Phyllis has been writing since she was a teen. Her favorite thing to write back then was poetry. A family friend who was in the music industry wanted to turn one of her poems into a song but she never pursued it. Her debut book, Morgan Mischief, was written with her daughter who was nine years old at the time.

Phyllis is a successful entrepreneur who now focuses on helping teens start businesses based on their gifts and talents. She holds a degree in finance and is a Certified Life Coach. She is an alum of Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business Executive Program, and Leadership Long Beach Institute. She is a former member of the Long Beach City College Culinary Advisory Board and a certified KCBS BBQ judge.

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