A Straight Mom Reads a Gay Book-Chapter 1

I’m a whole lot more sexually liberated than I was just five years ago. Under church rule, one must view sex in only one context: A man, controlling his wife by forcing her to conform to his needs. Yep, Fundamentalism is just loads of, um, fun.

In the movie, “Love, Simon,” the family has a movie night and the mom suggests a movie that apparently has sex in it (I really don’t know because I don’t watch a lot of movies). The kids wig out and say they can’t watch a movie with sex in it with their parents. The mom says, “Ugh, you guys are so sexually repressed.”

That’s kind of my mom style. I’m open with my kids about talking about these issues. They know they can talk to me about it. Shoot, they know I’ll provide the birth control when it comes to that.

However, I was also severely sexually abused as a child so I am cautious as to what my kids might be exposed to before they are ready. I want them to develop this area of their lives in a normal manner, not have it literally shoved down their throats at seven years of age.

Hence, my previewing of this book my LGBT+ child would like to read. She is just barely 12, she has never expressed any real interest in romantic relationships (yes, I ask her). As I said in my intro, romance is not our focus. It’s not that I’m not in a hurry to be a grandmother, I have no desire to be a grandmother because becoming such should not be my decision.

Taking all these things into consideration, I will probably advise her to wait a little while to read the book, because it starts right off the bat with discussions of sexual fantasies, etc. I do not think this is a bad thing, in fact, this is something any book on sexuality written for young people should definitely discuss. Fantasy is probably 95% of human sexual development during the teen years. Far too many children are told they are sinful for having these fantasies. That’s gotta stop.

In the introduction, written by David Levithan, and in the first chapter of the book, the lack of any mention of LGBT+ issues in sex ed in schools is emphasized. The author was a British health teacher, but sex ed sounds the same there as it does here. Namely, learning about LGBT+ issues is a crapshoot and teachers are not even trained in it in the first place.

The author makes two excellent points at the outset: 1) “We have to be able to talk about sexuality and identity in a nonhysterical [sic] way. (5)” and 2) Normal is a “horrid, excluding” word. (11)”

The emphasis is on helping the reader know that their feelings and their experiences are just as valid as those of a straight or cis-gender person.

This chapter was helpful to me. I think I have a grip on the way an LGBT+ person might struggle with fitting in, and I’m one of those outcast parents who is pushing for more LGBT+ education and better sex ed (I live in a rather religiously conservative area). However,I really only had a cursory understanding of how it affects young people who are only presentsed with straight and cis being “normal.” I’ve tried to normalize it in my home, but most children don’t even get a chance to think that it might be normal. We have so much more work to do if we are really to help, not just our own children but, those whose parents cannot look beyond their cultural boundaries and accept their children for who they are.

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