When your 7-year-old announces, ‘I’m gay’

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Photo by Niklas Hellerstedt, used under Creative Commons license.
Huffington Post writer Amelia recently found out her seven-year-old is gay — after he told her he is:

I was on the phone with a relative who had just discovered that I was blogging on The Huffington Post and openly discussing my son’s crush on Blaine. I was in another room alone (I thought), explaining, “We’re not saying he’s straight, and we’re not saying he’s gay. We’re saying we love who he is,” when my son’s voice piped up behind me.

“Yes, I am,” he said.

“Am what, baby?” I asked.

“Gay. I’m gay.”

My world paused for a moment, and I saw the “geez, Mom, didn’t you know that already?” look on my son’s face.

I got off the phone and leaned down to eye level with him and rubbed my nose against his. “I love you so much.”

“I know,” he said, and ran off to play with his brothers.

Since that day, any time the word “gay” has come into conversation, he has happily announced to those around him, “I’m gay!” He says this very naturally and happily, the same way he announces other things that he likes about himself. Mention that a person is tall and he’ll quickly add, “I’m tall!” If he hears the word “Legos,” barely a second passes before he says, “Legos. I love Legos.” Saying “I’m gay” is his way of telling people: this is something I like about myself.

You can read the rest at Huffington Post.

Comments on When your 7-year-old announces, ‘I’m gay’

  1. Wow! I can only hope he retains that pride in himself as he gets older. Speaking as a bi person who knew from young childhood (despite my very progressive mother) that my having crushes on boys was okay, whereas my crushes on girls were not, this story definitely says something fantastic about the world.

  2. Hmmm, this gives me a bit to think about. I was one of those people who never was attracted to anyone until I was about 12 or so. I also didn’t have any strong gender affiliations until about then either. It’s interesting to me that people could know that at such a young age.

      • The thing is, at that age it’s not about sexuality per se, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. When I was the same age as Amelia’s son, all my female peers had huge crushes on guys from New Kids on the Block (hello, dating myself! lol). I preferred Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: TNG. No one questioned it. No one asked, “But can they *really* know they’re straight at that age?” When I tell people about it now, no one says “But you were only 7. That wasn’t a real crush. You couldn’t have known.”

        But try to tell anyone I had a crush on Jessica from The Man From Snowy River at the same time…

        Gay Christian blogger Justin Lee recently published a great post about the double standard in interpreting gay and straight sexuality. Religious groups flipped out when Nathan Lane joked about Timon and Pumbaa being a gay couple because ZOMG sexualizing kids’ cartoon characters!! :O But no one seemed to consider that giving Simba and Nala a romantic storyline and a baby at the end was sexualizing those characters.

    • When I was about the same age I had a crush on Christopher Plummer from The Sound of Music. An older friend had watched it at about the same age also, and she had a crush on Julie Andrews.
      It’s actually more surprising to me that some people aren’t aware of their sexuality from a young age! This is why sharing experiences is so great 🙂

    • Well, there must be quite a spectrum of development on that level, then, because I remember trying to get a boy’s pants down in preschool and getting hauled to the office for it.

  3. I also knew from a young age that I liked both girls and boys. I, outwardly, had crushes on the boys from NKOTB but, secretly, I was in love with Jessie from Saved by the Bell. Though my parents were open and progressive about such things, kids in my peer group would say things that made me want to keep my crush a secret, so I did, for a VERY long time. I didn’t come out as bi until late high school, and I didn’t tell my parents until college. Nobody ever told me it was strange to have crushes on NKOTB when I was 8. The only time I’ve heard people say it was strange was when someone mentions a same-sex crush. I find that curious.

    • It is curious. Because really, love is weird. Attraction is weird. I’m attracted to tall, dark haired, comical men, and petite chestnut haired women – that’s weird. I find people attracted to blondes weird, even though I am blonde by some standards and that’s kind of like saying I find it weird that anyone would find me attractive – what? Weird. Basically, anything outside one’s own experience is weird – so sayeth the xenophobic tendencies in each of us. I have a friend who is madly in love with one of my other friends, but to me he’s just that goofy guy that licks batteries.

      To each their own, and “your own” will never be “another person’s own” and it will make some people pause, and even try to diminish it’s significance, which is sad. And weird.

      But what I love about this post is not that he’s self-identifying (which is awesome), and not that the parent is so supportive (which is awesome), it’s the bounce-able ness of kids – he’s proud, and not really letting anyone’s else’s hesitation or weirdness get in the way of celebrating what he likes. That is an awesome lesson I think we all need to be reminded of from time to time.

  4. I posted the original article on Facebook and one of my relatives got really flustered about it, arguing that children don’t understand sexuality, so his declaration can’t possibly mean anything.
    I think it’s interesting to think about sexuality through the filter of a child’s perspective. No, he probably doesn’t understand sexuality. His experience with “gay” is the positive gay role models he has. To him, I’d imagine being gay means being open, expressive, soulful, energetic, self-assured and dapper-as-all-getout. And while that’s not the gay experience, it’s just so wonderful that there are children growing up with an experience that tells them that gay is okay, gay is admirable, gay is normal.
    In a few years, he might meet a nice boy and discover–whoops–not actually gay. That’s something he’ll have to find out. But I don’t see any reason to discredit his feeling that he’s gay, if for no other reason than I don’t think anyone should discredit his notion that being gay is a great thing to be.

  5. I work in a church nursery sometimes, with babies. I’m friends with the woman who works with older children, and a while ago she was telling me how a little girl in her class had “accepted Jesus into her heart”. Outside, I was like “oh how sweet, good for her”, but inside I was like, “Oh please. She’s seven. She has no idea what she’s talking about. All she knows is that when she says she’s a Christian, grown-ups smile and say they’re proud of her. I mean ffs her dad’s in the church band!”

    Change the words up a bit (use masculine pronouns, replace “accepted Jesus into her heart” with “came out”, “Christian” with “gay”, and “ffs her dad’s in the church band!” with “ffs his mom writes for HuffPo!”), and this is the same thing.

    • In 5, 10, 20 years… yes, that may be true. But on the other hand, it might not. I do know people who have said that they’ve known their sexuality for as long as they can remember.

    • So don’t take anyone’ self-identification on anything seriously until they’re at least 21?

      Sometimes people change religions. Sometimes people conclude that their sexual orientation isn’t what they thought it was when they were younger. Sometimes kids copy their idols, real or fictional, without really understanding what they’re trying to copy.

      But if a little kid comes to me and says “I’m a Christian” or “I’m an atheist” or “I’m gay” or “I’m a [not the gender assigned at birth]” or “I’m a Vulcan,” I’ll accept that as long as ze self-identifies as that thing. If it turns out to be a mistake or a phase or whatever, no harm done. If it turns out that the kid really is queer or genderqueer, I’ve given them an ally early in life. If it turns out that the kid really is a Vulcan, hey, maybe ze’ll take that nice lady who believed hir back to hir home planet.

    • Why are you working in a church nursery if you hate Christians and think kids are so ignorant of their feelings? (Which is what your post insinuates.) Typically churches have members do those sort of jobs, so this post is either untrue or you are lying in some capacity to work at a church. Either way – lots of negativity here. I hope you get that all worked out.

  6. I find it so odd that people discredit this young boy because he is 7. Did any of you consider that perhaps he is not a true Lego lover? But…he’s only 7. How could he possibly know he likes Lego’s at such a young age? Give me a break. My first crush on a girl was when I was in the 1st grade. My first crush on a boy wasn’t until much later in life.

  7. Reading this post, my initial reaction was, “Seriously?! This kid’s 7! He probably just heard about a gay person on TV and decided to say he’s gay, too!”

    But I’m about to say something I never thought I would: comments on the internet have changed my mind.

    No, really.

    Your comments actually drove it home for me. Maybe he is gay, maybe he’s not. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t accept him however he chooses to present himself now.

    Wow. First time for everything, right?

  8. Oh my! The tears snuck up on me while reading this. What an amazing mom you are to have a son so loving and confidant at 7!
    I have said from before my son was born, I don’t care who he loves as long as it’s a healthy and loving relationship. It shocks people that I still stand by that statement almost 4 years later. I’m not going to force my son to be someone he’s not and it seems your son is being very true to himself!

  9. i think i probably knew i was queer from the time i was around 8 or 9 years old but i didn’t have the vocabulary to express it until i was 12, when i came out as bi. even then my LGBT vocabulary was pretty limited so i went through a few other identities before i settled on queer at 22.

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