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November 22, 2011

What if Your Child Asks…

We live in Vermont where homosexuality is not just in movies; it’s in the news, in schools, in law. This is the state that created civil unions way back in 2000, legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, and started suing heterosexual people for a child (Isabella Miller) in 2009 and for a service (Wildflower Inn) in 2011.

One teacher was so excited when civil unions were concocted that she “came out” to her 3rd graders. During the same-sex marriage debate, one legislator voted in favor of it in part because he wanted to support his son who was “gay.” Same-sex marriage was promoted as an economic bonus – weddings are big business, why not tap into the gay wedding market? Kids notice unigender couples at school. One middle schooler in last year’s class dressed like a boy, had two moms, and wondered aloud if she was lesbian. In short, Vermonters have been talking about same-sex attraction for over a decade. So it’s not surprising that as we sat at the kitchen counter recently, my youngest child asked me, “How do two men do it?”

I took a deep breath and readied myself to give the most succinct explanation possible when I noticed my older daughter shaking her head no in silent warning. She graduated with a psychology major and currently works with high school age trauma victims. Each of these kids has been abused, for many it took the form of sexual abuse. Every day she helps children cope with violated innocence.

So when she signaled me to protect the baby of the family, I reconsidered. Does my youngest want to know how two men “do it” because of stirrings of the heart or developments in the body? No, she’s a prepubescent girl; she doesn’t need this information on a personal basis. No doubt she is simply curious and genuinely baffled at the mechanics.

Little wonder she’s curious. Our culture stirs up confusion about gender and sexuality. People keep talking about gays at school and on Facebook. At her gym, one female is currently in the process of transitioning to a male. This person is rejecting the very gender my little girl is developing into.

A common argument by supporters of same-sex marriage is: How does it affect your marriage? They miss the point entirely. The question we all should be asking is: How will gender-segregated marriage impact children?

Certainly this momentous social experiment will have the greatest impact on the kids adopted by gender-segregated couples, but all children will feel the effects as well. 

How many school kids will learn how two men do it before they are developmentally prepared for such information? How many families will be sued for recognizing the crucial difference between men and women? To what extent will gender be vilified? How many children will be called bigots or hate-filled for believing marriage should be gender-integrated?

The six states that legalized gender-segregated marriage must determine: When is the best age to teach school children how men do it with each other? Fifth grade? Ninth?

As for my daughter, she still isn’t fully informed on how a man and woman make love. Do I want her introduction to human sexuality to begin with two men? Is now the best time to help her create a visual image of sodomy?


My little girl has her entire adult life to know about gay sex. (Luckily she doesn’t read the news or the articles about Sandusky might have preempted our future talk.) My job now is to protect her innocence, not rob her of it. Once you steal a child’s innocence, you can never return it.

But what about all the other children in Connecticut, D.C., Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont? Since these states say gender-segregated marriages are equal to gender-integrated marriages, they will need to revamp their health classes to give commensurate attention to homosexual sex acts. Whereas class time about sexual intercourse between a man and woman can give priority to procreation or its prevention, for two men this is not the case; conception is impossible. Without this focus, which gay sex acts will be taught and how explicitly? For every class on How Babies are Made, they will need to give equal time to How Two Men Do It.

Immeasurably worse than stealing candy from babies, this is stealing innocence from children.

Frances Kelly lives in Vermont and writes about gender issues for Homegriddle.

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