Categories
Family LGBTQ+

What Not to Say When Your Child Comes Out

Happy Pride Month, ya’ll! I don’t know about you guys, but I am absolutely loving the rainbows everywhere. They are all over my social media feeds and hanging from most of our local stores. This year, I have been even happier to see all the recognition of the different sexualities and genders under that rainbow flag. People are proudly proclaiming their Pan/Demi/Ace/etc. identities, and it is beautiful to see!

I wish I had the courage as well to share my own identities with the world on my personal social medias. It may shock you all to know that this little outspoken blogger is quite the introvert in real life. I was past 30 before I finally allowed myself to acknowledge my bisexuality. It took a few years more before I stopped second guessing myself and fully embraced it. But I have yet to shout it to the heavens for all to hear. My mostly conservative family would not approve, so to keep the peace as much as possible, I keep that part from them.

Sass, on the other hand, thankfully doesn’t feel the need to hide who she is. At 13 yrs old, shortly before her 14th birthday, she casually dropped that she maybe liked boys AND girls. Then a few months later, narrowed that down and dropped boys from the picture all together. And ever since she has embraced her identity wholeheartedly. She wears the Lesbian flag pins her sister made proudly on her school bag. She came out to her friends and their families, all of whom embraced her wholeheartedly as well.

Crumbs is still figuring it out. She is 12 yrs old now, and has not showed any interest one way or another. Which is great for us (what parent wants to think about their babies liking people and dating?) But she has shared that she knows she isn’t straight. She is queer, just currently undefined. And there is no rush for her to define it. She will tell us when she knows. We trust her to figure it out for herself.

So it’s been nice to see all the pride posts this past week. And even nicer still to come across a small handful of posts about coming out. A friend proudly shared their newfound realization of their own sexual identities after coming across some new terms they learned this month. And a few fellow moms shared joys and concerns over their kids coming out. These are the ones that stuck out the most because of my own babies.

The posts themselves were simple: just a mom sharing her worries and asking for support and guidance from others after their child came out to them. A majority of the comments were just that: supportive and full of wonderful affirming guidance. They were the kind of comments you would hope to see. Moms pouring loving into another mom facing a brand new path she hadn’t seen coming.

But then there were some that weren’t so supportive.

“They are still young, they don’t know what they like yet.”

“It’s all over the media right now, it’s practically a fad.”

“It’s cool to be queer/gay/trans/etc. now. They’ll change their mind later.”

“It’s just a phase.”

What the actual… Are we still doing this?

If we do not question or dismiss a child in things pertaining to the straight/cis narrative, why do we question and dismiss them when it’s outside that narrative? We laugh and fawn over elementary kids saying they have a girlfriend/boyfriend, or when they walk around the playground holding hands. But as soon as those same kids hold the hand of their new crush who is the same gender, or they say they feel like their gender and sex do not match, we clutch our pearls and say it’s just a phase. They don’t understand. They couldn’t possibly know their own identities in terms of gender or sexuality.

Churches do the same thing. Kids are called to accept Christ during Sunday School and youth groups and Vacation Bible Camps. But if they share any part of themselves that is outside that straight/cis narrative, they are too young and don’t know what they are saying.

So let’s just clear that up, shall we?

It’s not a phase. It’s not the cool thing to do. They know better than anyone else who they are.

Saying otherwise is damaging. Damaging to your relationship with that child, damaging to their self esteem and image. And damaging to their mental health. Don’t be that person.

Be better. Be there for your kids. Support them. Research has shown that kids who have support are less likely to struggle with mental health issues, and less likely to commit suicide. Supporting your child, believing them when they say they are gay/ace/trans/etc. can be literally life saving. If you need help in finding ways to support your child, check out The Trevor Project. They have so many resources available! The CDC website also has a list of links to several other helpful sources, like GLSEN.

So consider this your Pride Month PSA. Believe your kids when they tell you who they are. Because they absolutely know their own identities, be it gender, sexual, or faith based. They know. So, love them, support them, and believe them.

Categories
Polyamory

The Good Stuff We Should Talk About More

Perks are not talked about often in the polyam community. We spend more of our time talking about the pitfalls or struggles that pop up. We talk about red flags, stress the importance of open and honest communication, and poke a little fun at the stereotypes that are foisted upon us. I think we need to spend more time talking about the highlights, without letting them get overshadowed by the hard parts. I can be guilty of it too. Have you read my last two posts? (You can find them here and here, if you haven’t.) This is my attempt to highlight some of the good stuff.

All about the perks!

This month started out on a sad note for us. Bats found a new place and moved out of our little overcrowded house. And it instantly felt emptier. But then life threw all sorts of events and plans at us and we were just too busy to think about it. We all took a breath and took advantage of the time apart. Before we knew it, a whole week had passed and it was time to get back together for the weekend. A new routine was forged without us realizing it.

That first weekend was spent supporting the girls at their last concert of the year, and celebrating Munchkin’s birthday. It was full of laughter and love and so many balloons! Which brings us to one of the perks the polyam community doesn’t talk about enough.

More people to celebrate with

Because of Covid, and our already busy schedule, we decided to forgo a friends birthday party for Munchkin. I made a cake (thank you Pillsbury!) and the girls decorated it. The night before, Lovey, Bats, and I wrapped the mountain of gifts (I swear they tripled while they were hiding in the closet) and blew up all the balloons we could find. Red came over later that day, bringing her own gift for Munchkin. Boyfriend had his hands full with his kiddos that weren’t feeling the best, so he wasn’t able to come. But he did send plenty of birthday wishes.

Between the balloons and his favorite people, Munchkin was over the moon that day. And my momma heart was overflowing for him.

Support is everything.

Another perk that doesn’t get enough air time, in my opinion, is the support. And I’m not just talking about the supportive partner that cheers you on from the sidelines while you try your hand at flirting after so many years. You know, like Hiccup giving Toothless an enthusiastic thumbs up from the bushes when they meet Light Fury. (You can watch the adorable scene from How To Train Your Dragon 3 here if you’re not familiar with it.) I’m talking about the support you get from your village when you reach a goal, cross something off your bucket list, score a new job, or struggle with just staying afloat.

This past year has given a lot of us a lot of struggle. But our family has also been blessed with the space and time to accomplish some amazing things. This blog, for one. And the support I have gotten from Lovey, from Bats, from Boyfriend, and from Red has been what has helped. Could I have done this new scary thing without them? Possibly. But it has been infinitely easier and less scary with their support.

Conquering mountains

I was also able to finally finish a first draft because of my little polycule’s support. I have been a writer what feels like all of my life. Growing up, I had 2 passions: singing and writing. And since no music producers ever showed up to sign me the record deal of a lifetime, my focus turned to writing, either with friends or on my own. I never finished the stories I started by myself. Until this year. Because I finally had the support I needed, and the time and space to do it. I had cheerleaders in my corner urging me to finish this story. They were there to listen to ideas or complaints. And they were there to push me to sit in that chair and actually do it.

This past weekend we all crossed an item off our bucket list as well, even if we didn’t know it was on the list in the first place. Lovey signed us up for a fundraiser run for our local zoo. Our zoo that happens to be situated on the side of a mountain. 2 miles up the mountain, and then another 2 back down. A good mile of that was in the rain. It was hard. And I wanted to quit so many times. But I didn’t because I had my support with me. Crumbs even joined us. And I could not be prouder of her for tackling this huge thing with us. Supporting her and cheering her on kept me going as well. Nothing like a hike up a dang mountain to bring people closer together.

The best of all the perks!

Lastly, at least for this post, is petamours. Why do we not talk about these more? I think they are the best perk of polyamory.

What is a petamour? It’s your partner’s pet. Or, in my case, it’s my metamour’s pet. Barkley is Bats’ dog. And he is the sweetest fluffiest little pooch I have met in a very long time. He would come over to visit every once in a while, much to the annoyance of our resident kitties. Everybody loves him. And we are all bummed that he can’t be with us right now. But he is a big part of our plans to find that perfect house for all of us.

Petamours are great. Who doesn’t want more animals to love?  They let you experience the joy of having a pet if you aren’t able to have one where you live. You have the opportunity to meet new critters you maybe wouldn’t otherwise have. Dating someone who is into Bearded Dragons? Congratulations, you’re a lizard person now. Always wanted a bird, but your landlord doesn’t allow pets of any kind? You’re next partner or metamour may have one that you can love. Going out of town and don’t want to board your poor anxious doggo? Polycules are there for you!

Polyamory has so many perks. And we should share them a lot more than we do. What are your favorite perks?