An open letter to gay kids from an incredible 9-year-old lesbian

March 3 2015 | Guest post by Amaya

We got this submission from nine-year-old Amaya who says she's concerned that many children are being rejected by their families because of their sexuality or gender identity. She hopes that kids will read this article and understand that they don't have to be afraid, and that they are not alone.

By: purplesherbert – CC BY 2.0
By: purplesherbertCC BY 2.0

Hello! My name is Amaya and I am 9 years old, and I want to talk about being a lesbian child.

There are many different types of sexuality…

Such as being "straight," which is what people THINK is the norm, but really, it is not. Everyone has their own sexuality, whether people like people of the same gender, different gender, or if they like both, or even none at all!

Not knowing your sexuality is troubling

I went through it, and I was scared. I wanted to know about myself, and not knowing was scary. You may go through this stage sometime, but if you're going through puberty, you most likely will find out soon.

What to do if you're being bullied

Being gay is "bad" to some people. Some people feel it's wrong, and they have their reasons, but these reasons are mostly quite stupid. Love is something we cannot control. It's not a choice, but some people think it is.

If someone bullies you for being gay, you know what you can do? Go to an adult you trust. If they say that your sexuality is wrong, well, the world is horrible, but hope is not lost. There is someone out there who will love you for being YOU. Because you are amazing. and no one is like you, and that makes you SPECIAL.

Many children, teenagers, and adults have killed themselves because they were either pushed to be different, bullied, or not accepted by their own families for being themselves, and many people have been working to help the people who are young and afraid. There are marches all over the place to support peoples' sexualities, and it's amazing.

Yes, telling your parents might be hard

I was very lucky out of many people. My parents are bisexual, and they don't feel it's wrong that I am lesbian.

If you too feel lesbian, telling your parents might be hard. But if they can't accept you for being you, try to help them understand. If they can't accept it, they may say something like, "It's just a phase." They're saying that because you're young, and your parents may feel that you're not old enough to understand. But you know yourself better than anyone. I encourage you to be open to your parents about your feelings, and if their response hurts your feelings, let them know. If they cannot accept you, the ones that are supposed to LOVE and CHERISH you, go find help. Try to access the phone and ask someone to help you. No one should take away who you are, and put down a replacement of what they want you to be.

People are not building blocks to be replaced by different ones. Everyone is different. It's something we should cherish, not something to stop.

    • Complements to this community for its gentility. The moderator must be busy on this topic. Hopefully this comment won't be seen as too negative, but here goes.
      My first impression is like everyone else's: Amaya is remarkable, and this is a great reflection on her parents' character. Awesome.
      My second impression is that she is 9, and encouraging her to define herself at that age, particularly on the internet, is somewhat exploitive. Nine year olds are exploring all sorts of fantasies about who they are and what they will grow up to be, and there is nothing wrong with that, but parents need to understand that it is only fantasy at that age, and to guard their kids from being exploited by special interests.
      The fact that Amaya is mimicking her parent's world view and values right now, and is smart enough to absorb and restate those values, is charming and I'm sure very gratifying to her parents as it is for every parent. But you don't know what her final choices will be. You don't know if she will look back at this letter with chagrin and say, "wow, was I wrong." She could become anything, and her parents might not approve of what she ultimately choses as her identity and beliefs, but it is still their responsibility to not allow her beautiful fantasies and expressiveness now be exploited by the community of people that happen to agree with her at the time.
      So, I applaud the fact that Amaya is thinking about who she is, and exploring what that means. And I particularly applaud her ability to synthesize and express herself so eloquently. But I worry that her youth is being exploited by well meaning people that forget that she is only nine.

      • Rob,

        It's not that your comment is particularly negative, although I would argue that it's both patronizing and not a little accusatory. It's that any kid who identifies as queer from a young age has already put up with these claims dozens of times, and it's tedious answering them over and over again. Thankfully Amaya doesn't read the comments on this article anymore, so I'm perfectly happy to be frank with you.

        Amaya's mother and I never encouraged her to identify as anything – this happened under Amaya's own steam – and she merely asked that we try to get this somewhere that a lot of people could see it, because she hoped it could help other queer children and their parents. The idea that this is somehow exploitative is obviously offensive.

        The crux of the matter here is your statement "Nine year olds are exploring all sorts of fantasies about who they are and what they will grow up to be, and there is nothing wrong with that, but parents need to understand that it is only fantasy at that age" – but this same criticism is never, and would never be, applied to a child who presents as heterosexual. We question the identities of queer kids, but we never apply the same faux rigor to children who claim to want to marry the "opposite" sex, or have a boy-or-girl friend. The number of times that individuals who should ostensibly just listen to what my daughter is saying decide to lecture her on the fact that she couldn't possibly know her own mind is staggering.

        Amaya is perfectly aware that sexuality is fluid, and can change over an individual's lifetime. That doesn't invalidate how she decides to identify now, or when this letter was written a year ago. It's really disrespectful to assume that you know her better than she does simply because she is young.

      • And yet parents joking about their two year old daughter's boyfriend (the son of good friends who is the same age as said daughter) is socially accepted. So assuming your child is straight before the child even has a voice, let alone considered thought on the matter, is acceptable whereas allowing a child to express herself is exploitation?!

  1. WOW!!! I wish I had known myself at age 9 as much as she seems to know herself at this age! I am totally re-sharing this post!

  2. What a thoughtful, intelligent perspective. It really warms my heart that most young people I know are open and kind and caring with all kinds of people not just the "normal" ones that are like them. The one thing I'd like to add is that I think sexuality can change. Not that you can make someone be gay or not be gay, but that over the course of a lifetime who you love may shift. That's okay too! 🙂

  3. From MY 9 y/o: This young lady is so wise to know who she is! I hope some day to have a friend like you!

    • i wish i could have a friend like you as well! Its not everyday you meet a kid who is okay with people being gay :3

  4. as part of a bisexual couple I can only hope that we raise our future children to be as awesome as this young lady.

  5. What an amazing young woman. much respect to her parents for submitting this and to OBH for running it.

  6. Hello everyone! I'm Amaya's Dad, and I just wanted to thank you all for the supportive and encouraging comments. If anyone has any specific questions for her, I'd be happy to pass them along! <3

  7. What a stunning young lady! I'm so glad she wrote this, that her parents are so loving and supportive and that is was shared here. I sincerely hope this gets all over the internet and helps other children and teens who are in similar situations!

  8. So … any advice on how to show this to your kid with out it seeming like you're calling that kid gay? Our oldest is already super freaked out about love and affection of any sort (he says it's weird when his *parents* tell him "I love you"). I don't know if his potential sexuality is part of that. I want him to know that whatever sexuality he might have is okay, but I don't want to seem like I'm "accusing" him of anything since he is SO squeamish about the whole thing. 🙁

    • I'm not a parent, so take this with a grain of salt, but you say he's the oldest – can you share these ideas with all/another of your kids at the same time so it won't be pointedly directed at him? Maybe not this letter specifically – maybe books or movies or other media that show healthy non-hetero relationships. And/or try to signal that less widely accepted sexualities are okay without directly pointing out the presence of said sexualities. Does that make sense? Just treating it as an accepted component of whatever story is being told.

  9. This is awesome! What amazing self-awareness and maturity. When I was growing up, sexuality wasn't really talked about much, at least before middle school age. I'm really glad that kids are learning about this at a much younger age so that they grow into more accepting, open-minded adults!

  10. It's so lovely to see how sweet and loving and supportive the comments are here. They were getting a bit heated on the offbeat bride facebook page. It makes me incredibly happy to know that we are successfully building a world where a girl of 9 not only has the language to articulate this, but the knowledge that she will be loved and worthy of love no matter what. How beautiful is that!

    • I just probably made them more heated, unfortunately. I'm not going to have strangers over the internet policing my kid's sexuality without me challenging them. Nope.

      Thankfully, everyone here has been amazingly lovely. Thanks guys – these responses have really made Amaya feel appreciated and listened to.

        • Thanks very much, Ariel. I expected there to be some unpleasantness, being this is the internet, and it's totally not your fault.

  11. I don't get the comments on fb about kids just being kids. There's nothing about sex here just feelings and kids certainly have feelings.
    This little girls parents should be proud, she sounds awesome. I hope my kids are half as thoughtful.

  12. To Amaya's parents: your kid is so incredibly special and wonderful. Please, please help her keep this flame of compassion and love alive. We need more of it in every region of the globe.

    To Amaya: What's common sense to you is, sadly, not to others. As you said, it is on them and do, please, remember that as you grow into what is going to be an incomparable young woman. You give me hope (and a bit of a weepy eye, if I'm to be honest).

  13. Amaya, you're amazing. I'm blown away by your compassion and awareness. Thanks for writing this post – us LGBTQIA folks gotta stick together and look out for each other.

  14. Thank you Everyone! I'm so lucky to have amazing parents and people who are supporting me! to be honest, i thought hate comments would be flooding the comment section, but apparently not! Thank you all so much <3

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