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drhat77's avatar

How to teach children about homosexuality?

Asked by drhat77 (6166 points ) July 5th, 2008

so i had this idea on how to teach children about homosexuality in a nonpolitical way. Basically, it’s like left-handedness: affects a small minority, seems to be biologically and not personally determined, under the right circumstances it can make someone visibly different, but does not make them substantially different.

Is this offensive?

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20 Answers

Breefield's avatar

Eh…I don’t like the idea of “teaching” anything to children about such a controversial issue.
If you just give them the facts and such they’ll decide for themselves. Unless of course you have an obvious agenda in mind.

playthebanjo's avatar

not offensive to me, but I’m not gay. I told my five year old that his friend had two mommies instead of a mom and dad and left it at that.

Breefield's avatar

Riser would have words for this… :p
I think it’s only offensive depending on who you talk to, and what their opinion of the matter is.

MissAnthrope's avatar

What age range are we talking about?

jrpowell's avatar

Is this a talk you would give before the “how babies are made” talk?

bunkin's avatar

dont tell them it is not normal.

lefteh's avatar

I don’t see a problem with it. I like the emphasis on the biological factor, rather than it being a choice. The analogy to left-handedness seems to be a pretty good one. A biological factor that affects a minority of people.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m going to assume you used the word “teach” to mean inform. I think you hit the mark. It is a bilogical minority, like left-handedness or color blindness, and it does not make someone substantially different. I’m not offended. But I am sure anyone that is against homosexuality will have a problem with it.

drhat77's avatar

by teaching i mean when my child comes home one day and asks “daddy, what is a homosexual?” and i want to give an answer that won’t color their judgment for years to come

MissAnthrope's avatar

I think I wouldn’t say anything until the child asked me about it. I wouldn’t want to push an idea or anything on them, I would want them to be ready for the information. Then I’d tell them that sometimes two women or two men also fall in love and have families, and answer whatever remaining questions they have. I’d want to explain only as much as the child could handle at their age.

My sister is almost 9 and I’m surprised she hasn’t asked anything yet. My last girlfriend and I vacationed with her and we were affectionate, but not overly, in front of her. I kept waiting for the question to come, but she really seemed unfazed by it. The closest we came was near the end of the trip, she made a teasing remark towards us acknowledging she noticed we had a different relationship. But I’m still waiting to have the conversation. :)

wildflower's avatar

Why not just go with:
“Hetero” couple is when the people are of different genders, like when you have 1 mum and 1 dad. And “Homo” couple is when the people are the same gender, like when you have 2 mums or 2 dads.
You could also recruit wikipedia if you want to get more detailed:
Heterosexuality
Homosexuality

thebeadholder's avatar

I am not offended by what you said, I might use it ;-)
I told my four year old that some people have a mommy and daddy, some have two mommies or two daddies, some only have a mommy, some only have a grandmother and so on.

loser's avatar

I think your explaination is fine!

monsoon's avatar

Saying some people have one mommy and one daddy and some people have two mommies and two daddies leaves out the idea that your child might be gay. Lots of people who are avid gay rights supporters don’t want to acknowledge this possibility.

I think you’re original explanation was better. Think of this, many religious groups think that being left-handed is bad because, who sits at the left hand of god, and at the right? Lucifer and Jesus, respectively. I know a man who is left-handed who, as a toddler, would have things smacked out of his left hand when he picked them up, and was not allowed to write or do anything with his left hand.

Needless to say his coordination is terrible, and his handwriting, imperceptible.

Also, this book is cute (though your son might be too old). It’s a true story about two male penguins in the New York zoo who paired together and who kept trying to hatch rocks, and so were finally given an orphaned egg.

There are also lots of other childrens books about gay issues, google it up.

Oh, and, “Good job,” as Hancock would say.

tinyfaery's avatar

@monsoon Good points.

Mangus's avatar

Another thing to think about is the problem of the false dichotomy. You talk about a small minority. In fact, a minority of people in the US report being strictly hetero or strictly homosexual. A majority reports being somewhere inbetween on that spectrum.

Thus, it makes more sense to just recognize that two people of any gender identity can be together for any of the reasons people are together. Not being normative about it is the main thing. Just don’t use language that assumes that coupling and love are associated only with a man/woman pairing. That’s where I start from with my kids.

monsoon's avatar

That’s a really good point. Even the kinsey scale is now outdated and we’re supposed to think of sexuality as lying a two dimensional scale measuring masculine and feminine sexuality down each axis respectively.

Either way, the left-handed analogy still is a good one. It shows the thing which is so construed by political agenda in this country, which is that people are born predisposed to their sexuality: You can make a left handed kid write with their right hand, but they’re writing is going to suck. The same goes for a person denying their sexuality.

chromaBYTE's avatar

If you are preparing for when a child comes home and asks “daddy, what’s a homosexual?”, the best thing you can do is to have a good understanding of it yourself, which you seem to have.

Just explain the fundamental difference between homosexuals and heterosexuals, then answer any questions they have as neutral and honestly as possible.

goodasyou's avatar

It’s not a “controversial issue.” Gay people are a part of the world’s fabric. It’s time non-gay people get over any “prblem” they have with that fact.

How do you teach children about their fellow citizens who happen to be gay? Just as you would teach them about anyone else who exists.

chromaBYTE's avatar

@tinyfaery I just reread through the answers left on this topic, and while I agree with the left-handed analogy, I don’t fully agree with the colour-blind analogy in your first post.

Colour-blindness is considered a medical condition or a hindrance, where homosexuality is not. I know that it wasn’t your intention, but we don’t want our children (or anyone else for that matter) to think that we’re handicapped in some way.

Please excuse the pickiness of a left-handed homosexual. =P

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