Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Toddler Dates - just call me Debbie Downer

Over the last few months, I have noticed that people have posted on Facebook about their infant/toddler children having "dates" or "boyfriends/girlfriends". My first thought was "how do you know your child is a heterosexual?"

I have always wondered about the conditions that create the situation where people feel they need to "come out" with their sexuality. I never had to declare my heterosexuality. I just chalked it up to a culture hostile to anything other than heterosexuality.  After seeing these Facebook posts, I realized that maybe part of the reason that people have to "come out" is because they are assigned a sexuality in infancy.  People without any negative intention use language that implies a sexuality to tiny humans.

I know that most people view this as a "cute" way to discuss growing relationships between children, but my question to that is why is there an assigned sexuality to it?  How would you feel if a teacher or acquaintance called your daughter's female friend her girlfriend? Or your son's "best buddy" became his boyfriend?

Would it change anything if when you were approached by someone about your child's latest "date" with a child of an opposite sex you just said "I am glad they are developing a friendship. We don't know Susie's sexual orientation yet so I wouldn't characterize it as a date." Would people feel uncomfortable? Sure.  But would it go a small way to making the world safer for gay kids and teens? Maybe.

I am not a parent just a person spouting off some opinions so I would love your thoughts.