Explaining Homosexuality to Children

Miranda - posted on 02/23/2013 ( 10 moms have responded )

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How do you explain homosexuality to children without appearing to be discriminatory and negative?

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Carla - posted on 02/24/2013

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So as we avoid a debate on the right or wrongness of being homosexual, let's stay away from the justification of our stance and just look at it as a Christian.

Paul said in I Corinthians 5:13: 'But them that are without God judgeth.----' Paul was a people lover. He never missed an opportunity to tell people about the Love of Jesus. I don't EVER remember reading how he ranted and raved about a sin, except, like Jesus, with the 'religious' men of the day. He absolutely HATED the hypocrisy of the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees who's hearts were blacker than soot, YET stood on the street corner praying loudly so people would see how 'righteous' they were.

Pray, Miranda, for the right words. Then make sure your children understand by your actions and words, that we love ALL people and ask the Lord for salvation for all.

God bless!

Angela - posted on 02/23/2013

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I'm pretty much in the live & let live camp! (no pun intended) as far as gay issues are concerned.

Actually, you can't make any assumptions about anyone's sexuality from their appearance! Cross-dressers/tranvestites are generally a group of individuals entirely separate from gays! Then again, they may not even be cross-dressers OR gay - they might be straight people making some kind of fashion statement.

A couple of years ago, my husband ordered a hooded raincoat and wet-weather boots from an online supplier. For our dog! So yes, four little boots! I was quite shocked! I informed a friend who is an animal lover who was laughing out loud as I was describing the situation/
. I said "OK, laugh now .... but if you see them out in the rain and she's wearing her raincoat with the hood up and her four little boots PLEASE keep a straight face and think of the dog's dignity!"

That's something we should bear in mind for human beings, not just dogs. If you see someone with a strange appearance or exhibiting odd behaviour, it's very rude to stare and laugh or make comments. If a person's gender is a mystery to you and/or your children, then perhaps you should keep your distance to avoid embarrassing them or yourselves.

I understand that like me, you're straight? Did you CHOOSE to be straight? I know I didn't - I just found myself to be that way. It's the same with gay people. This is quite a simple way of explaining it to your children.

Now, whether it's right or wrong. We're aware that huge numbers of Christians (and also people of other religions) consider that it's wrong, based on (at least from the Christian viewpoint) various scriptures in the Old and New Testaments. Add to these numbers a massive group of people with NO religious affiliations who are actively hateful, violent and intolerant of the gay community. Most gay people feeling persecuted by all of this will NOT differentiate between those who take exception to them on religious grounds and those who expose them to hate, intolerance and violence just for the hell of it.

There's also a lot of ignorance. It's not the same as a disability or a mental health condition.

In the UK where I live, "Civil Partnership" (a form of gay marriage) is lawful and affords each partner the same rights as a spouse in a heterosexual marriage. They may adopt or foster children and should an individual die, their Civil Partner has rights of inheritance. They can't have a Civil Partnership ceremony if they are already married to an opposite sex partner, though if they're divorced, then they're free to commit in either marriage or Civil Partnership. And if a Civil Partnership fails, they must be properly divorced before becoming Civil Partners with anyone else. So it's pretty much the same as marriage in those respects.

I personally support the right of gay people to form meaningful one-to-one relationships. However, I don't agree with gay OR straight people who have many partners, who treat sex casually without commitment or love. I don’t endorse any person mis-treating or exploiting their spouse/civil partner – who should be their equal life partner. Most on here will not agree with me - I accept that.

Most Christians do NOT support same sex relationships and base this judgement on scriptures which they have read and understood in a modern language translation, possibly with the guidance of a Pastor/Minister who may well not be knowledgeable, educated or qualified in the ancient languages in which the Bible was originally written. Interestingly, Jesus Himself did not make any comment about gay issues in the Gospels. He had a lot to say about material wealth though! It's astonishingly easy to malign gay people and talk about their sin when you're heterosexual (there's nothing to lose on a personal level!!). It's extremely hard though to give away everything you have to the poor and follow Jesus.

My personal stance (which you are free to disagree with, of course!) is that as a heterosexual, Christian woman who is happily married to a heterosexual Christian man (VERY happily married!) it would be unforgivably "smug" and "self-righteous" of me to bleat on about the sins of homosexuals. Most of us need to take the plank out of our own eyes before pointing the finger at others for their sins.

Many on here are quite likely to post and refute my comments - they're entitled to do this of course. You may well disagree with me yourself! But please, try to avoid using words like "choice" and "lifestyle" when discussing gay issues.

Remember Mark 12:31 and Matthew 25:40

So who is our neighbour? Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan – my interpretation of that is that my neighbour is any individual who is my fellow human being.

And who is the least of God’s brethren? To me the “least” is anyone at all who is denied the basic needs of life or who is looked down upon for being different, people who are despised and oppressed.

If you make it clear to your children that marginalising other people who are different in any way is very wrong then you're giving them good guidance.

Barbara - posted on 03/03/2013

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I must say, Angela, I agree with everything you said! I have 2 gay children who were brought up as Christians and live Christian lives. Fortunately we are Presbyterians, a denomination that does support gay marriage along with allowing gay ordained ministers. : )

Angela - posted on 02/23/2013

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It rather depends on how you want to "explain" it! How do you explain ANYTHING? Just give your kids the information in a way they can understand that's appropriate to their age!

Are your kids asking about this? How old are they?

A typical scenario might be a child wonders why a schoolmate has 2 mothers (or 2 fathers) - or indeed that a friend comes from ANY family dynamic that isn't the traditional set-up of one mother & one father. This is a first class opportunity to explain that there are lots of different types of families. Tell your child that some families have only one parent (single parent families), some kids are in blended families or step families, some don't live with parents at all and may be being raised by grandparents or other family members, some kids have foster parents, some kids have 2 parents of the same gender.

A scenario with older children might be their questioning of current political events - asking what "gay marriage" is because they've heard about it on the TV news etc ... This is where you explain that for a small percentage of people, when they get to a stage in their lives where they wish to form a one-to-one relationship with somebody else, they do so with someone of their own gender. As the Law currently stands, in most parts of the world it's understood that marriage is supposed to be a contract and relationship between one man and one woman. Therefore the current wrangle over this is that many political and Church leaders feel it's not "correct" or "proper" to launch any law change that would allow people of the same sex to marry. If you're from the USA & live in one of the states where they have gay marriage, you can explain about this - likewise if you live in a country where gay marriage is lawful.

Explain that female/female (or male/male) pairs who are together in a relationship are known as "homosexuals" or gays. Also tell them that male/female couples are "heterosexuals" or straight. Being gay or being straight is a person's sexuality. None of us "choose" our sexuality - we just find that (for most of us) we're attracted to the opposite sex, and for a few of us, we prefer our own sex.

It's also a good time to let them know there's a lot of hatred and bigotry towards gay people and to treat any individual with unkindness, cruelty or ignorance is very sinful. This message needs to be given very firmly - especially to adolescent children as many gay teenagers have committed suicide. Sadly children and teenagers can often be more judgemental and critical than adults. Calling anyone a "faggot", "dyke", "queer", "poof" etc .... is rude, disrespectful and discourteous - whether or not they're gay.

I was only aware that gay people and gay relationships existed from about the age of 12. And I think I was in my mid-late teens before I understood properly. I'm 54 now and back then, as a 12 year old I was quite ignorant and we laughed about it a lot! We never really discussed gay women, we only had a good laugh about gay men. We believed the identifying mark of a gay man was that he carried a handbag (woman's purse) and he would act in a very "camp" way and may possibly be publicly affectionate with another male. Such innocence! I honestly recall probably being in my 20's before I realised that not all gay men were effeminate and not all gay women were "butch" or mannish!

You are very wise to consider strategies of explaining homosexuality to your children who will be very fortunate to get a truthful and honest explanation from you!

Good luck!

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Carla - posted on 03/12/2013

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We cannot believe God 'makes' people to sin, one way or the other. Does God 'make' a murderer? A thief? Can we believe He would POSSIBLY deliberately set us up to go to hell? Never in a million years.

This topic has always been a hot-button, and I think it's time to close it down. Thank you to all who responded.

Barbara - posted on 03/12/2013

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That's being judgemental and negative if you have to add "its a sin". It is not a sin. If God didn't make homosexuals, they wouldn't exist. It is not a choice to be a homosexual. You are born that way. It is a choice to be who you are, and people can help determine whether or not people will chose to be themselves because of the fear of condemnation they will face. No where does Jesus say anything against or even about homosexuals. There are many versus mis-quoted or simply taken from newer versions of the Bible after which time (in 1967) when it was re-translated to include homosexual references - words which before such time did NOT mean that. I think what you must "preach" to your children is that Jesus loves everyone human being "yellow, green, black or white, they are precious in His sight". It is simply two PEOPLE who love each other.

Linda - posted on 03/11/2013

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I wouldn't bring it up until they ask about it---if they hear it on the news or in church or in school. If they ask, I would tell them clearly what it is (a man being with a man instead of a woman and vice versa) and also add the the Bible says it is a sin. However, as others have said, it is not the only sin listed in the Bible. We all sin; we all are sinners in need of God's grace. Furthermore, we will never lead someone to the cross by being mean or hurtful to them; only by showing them His love. We cannot expect homosexuals, or for that matter heterosexuals who are having sex outside of marriage, to follow God's laws when they don't know God. So I would tell my children to be nice to homosexuals if they meet them but also to be honest about what the Bible says IF ASKED. They don't need to volunteer their opinion, but we should never be afraid to say what the Bible says. Also, I don't mean to start a debate here, but we all have choices. I understand that some people do have a tendency toward this behavior -- I believe primarily as a result of poor relationships or abuse in their life -- but they don't have to ACT on them. If someone feels attracted to their own sex, they can choose to remain celibate and not sin--just like a married man who is attracted to another woman can choose to not follow his impulse. We are not animals. We are created in God's image.

Kameeni - posted on 03/10/2013

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Just explain to your child that if its father was a female then he/she would not exist.

Angela - posted on 03/03/2013

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A little girl I knew years ago said her mother's partner was "the lodger"! Other people that knew this family told me she was her partner ..... Sometimes though, you don't know who to believe and if it's none of my business, it's not really my place to speculate or worry about some other family's domestic arrangements!

A guy I knew from work a long time ago, Steve, moved from the next town to the same town as me. He'd just started at the job where I worked and basically got the tenancy of an empty, unfurnished house. He had no savings. As I knew of a lady in the next street to me whose next-door neighbour had done a "moonlight flit", abandoning the house and leaving the keys with my friend, I advised this man of where he could get some furniture for nothing. He had no car or anything and a group of us helped him carry various bits of furniture through the streets to his new home (luckily, the 2 houses weren't too far from each other!). He was very grateful indeed and said he was inviting me to his housewarming party!

Then he said "There's something you should know about me - I live with a man ...." and I'm like "Oh, are you gay? Or do the 2 of you just share a house?" He confirmed he was gay. I had no problem with this - I met his partner and liked him too. The pair of them decided to take me on a date as a mark of gratitude for my helping them to furnish their home. We went to a pub which was a mainstream pub but quite a lot of gay people went there. Steve put his arm around me as we entered the place "Just for fun and to confuse the Licensee's wife!" he said. I had a lovely night out with these 2 gay men - I laughed a lot and relaxed totally. If I had been on a date with a straight man I would have been nervous and uncomfortable and worrying about whether I was making the right impression!

He was a really nice guy but a year or 2 later, I had a boyfriend who was homophobic and uncomfortable around Steve - so we drifted apart.

I had another gay male friend several years earlier when I was in my late teens. In my own experience, a gay man can often be a good friend for a straight woman - you can talk to them and get a masculine viewpoint combined with feminine empathy - but this is only my opinion based on the friends I've had. I wouldn't want to be accused of stereotyping!!

Miranda - posted on 02/23/2013

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Thank you. I know my kids have wondered about it a lot. Where we are, they are seeing a lot of men dressed very womanly and a lot of women dressed very manly. Some that I was not sure about their gender, myself. I have 3 kids- 10, 7, and 21 months. I try to tell them that we show everyone love regardless of whatever differences they have. However, they will ask if it is wrong, then why do they do it and why do they want to dress or behave that way. I always battle with the questions because I don't want to seem negative against anybody or teach them anything that may lead them to be negative against anyone. But I also don't want to stray from the Bible and conform to what is now being called normal.

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