Straight kids of LGBTQ parents face a unique kind of challenge right now
When kids in Florida go back to their elementary classes at the start of the school year, they’ll tell stories about going to camp or taking a summer trip with their families. They may not notice if the rainbow poster on their old teacher’s door is gone or if their new teacher doesn’t have any family photos on his desk. But some of these kids will be quiet. They won’t know if they can also talk about the water park they visited with their parents or show each of their mothers a picture of the sidewalk chalk art they drew.
Many of them will be straight kids with gay parents. And the ways in which anti-LGBTQ laws specifically harm these children is a huge gap in our national conversation about the impact of legislation like Florida’s. recently carried out The Parental Rights in Education Act – what critics have called the “Don’t Say Like Me” Act – which limits discussion of LGBT issues in kindergarten through third grade.
As the daughter of a gay man, I am shocked to imagine what it would be like if I kept my father’s identity a secret at school.
Without a doubt, these laws will Hurts LGBTQ Kids And the LGBTQ parents. And gay children with gay parents will face a certain kind of double burden. But straight kids of LGBTQ parents also face their own challenges. Some are born into strange families and will now attend schools where the family they have always known are examined. Others have a parent who came out as gay later in life, which was my experience with my dad. These children will have to adapt to their new family structure in an oppressive learning environment.
Within this diversity of experiences, straight children are often forgotten as contiguous members of the LGBTQ community who are also influenced by anti-LGBTQ legislation and rhetoric. This pernicious influence begins with the dangerously ambiguous language of these laws. In Florida, for example, lawmakers have claimed that the measure does not prevent children from talk about Their parents are LGBTQ. However, it does enable parents to sue the school district if they suspect there is an “encouraging” classroom discussion about sexual orientation, leaving a wide umbrella of anxiety about actually facing lawsuits. School districts suffering from underfunding.
Fearing reprisals, schools responded with a conservative interpretation of the law. This attitude will undoubtedly extend to straight kids who are too intimidated to talk about their homosexual families.
As the daughter of a gay man, I am shocked to imagine what it would be like if I kept my father’s identity a secret at school. I was 15 when it came out, and I found invaluable support from my teachers and classmates – and not just in a conversational environment. Within classes and clubs, I wrote articles, selected monologues and selected research topics related to my personal experience of having a gay father.
It is outrageous to think that, at any age, children of LGBTQ parents may not be able to integrate their personal experiences into their social and educational community at school, effectively silencing them. As anti-LGBT sentiment grows, this silence can make children reluctant to share things about their home life, including any common feelings children have with their parents. The school aims to be a safe space for students to express different feelings and emotions. But now, these laws tell them that something is “not acceptable” about their families.
Another issue that comes into play in leaving straight kids out of the discussion is that while there are many Create advocacy groups For LGBT children, children of gay parents fall into an ambiguous middle ground where resources are scarce. collage (officially Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere) is the only national organization dedicated to children with LGBTQ parents, regardless of a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Other than that, there are no specific resources for straight kids of gay parents who travel the world with a foot in two different societies. This can leave them, especially amid widespread anti-LGBT rhetoric, falling through the cracks.
It is particularly ironic that upright children – whom proponents of these laws seem to care about “protecting” the most – are placed in a position where they are forced to take responsibility and worry about the way their families are perceived.
In general, straight kids of LGBTQ parents also need access to the community, resources, and safety to be able to talk about their families without censoring themselves. But the stakes are higher now, with repressive laws in force. Children need to be able to talk about their family with love, joy, annoyance, and anxiety – no matter what their family looks like. “Any problem that can afflict a human family of any color, size, or nationality can also be a concern in a queer family,” Jordan Budd, executive director of COLAGE, told me. Budd identifies both as a stranger and is the son of a strange father.
Harmful allegations that These laws protect children In a way, they protect their innocence, they do the opposite. They foster a culture of secrecy that forces children to mature quickly, burdened with pressure to be careful.
“There’s societal pressure to be perfect because you’re so concerned about what people think about your parents and your parenting style,” Budd said. This pressure is only intensified in LGBTQ+ hostile environments.
When people who make decisions about your education refer to Adult LGBTQ as “nanny”, Children of gay parents understand that this serious language also refers to their parents. This is more than any child should have to face, but it is especially ironic that upright children – whom proponents of these laws seem to care about “protecting” the most – are placed in a position where they are forced to take responsibility and worry about how they are perceived. their families.
The burden of protecting their parents from suspicion should never fall on a child, but this kind of isolation will be a reality for many young people with gay parents. Straight kids, in particular, may feel extra pressure to present their families as “normal,” something I struggled with after my parents moved out. As my family navigated our new dynamic in the area my dad had spent his entire life in, I wanted to protect him by showing that we were who we were before, rather than celebrating the differences his gay identity and culture had brought into our lives.
In the darkest application of this pressure, children may fear that others will interpret their parents’ actions, such as Attending culturally gay drag show events, such as grooming or abuse. If states continue their efforts to criminalize many LGBT families’ communities, the fear of others taking their parents’ actions the wrong way could turn into an even more horrifying reality for children: turning away from the care of their same-sex families.
All children, regardless of their parents, have the same right to safety and stability at school and at home. While LGBTQ children (with or without gay parents) will certainly be subject to these rights being violated in a painful and specific way, we need to acknowledge how upright children with gay parents will also face uniquely isolated situations. They also deserve attention, acceptance and voice.