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More of a wwyd? Ds 8 what gay means...

(56 Posts)
ThePickledPoet Fri 16-Jan-15 21:27:11

Reading a story earlier and the character was described as being gay. Ds asked what it meant so in line with the story I said it meant the character was happy and jolly. Ds then quite openly said "it doesn't just mean that" so asking what he meant he said " 'xxx' in school said if a man and a man marries then they're a couple of gay boys" taken back at this i explained how that wasn't a very nice thing to say. And that everyone deserves to be happy. And it was the same love as anyone else who loves each other just like mummy an daddy (I didn't want it getting too deep a discussion and knowing ds who is pretty sheltered when it comes to this kind of topic didn't understand at all how offensive and hurtful comments like that are) but... Curious I asked what did you think it was? To which he replied... "Gay is when a man works in a factory and drinks beer"
Not sure where he's heard that???!!!!
(He then asked can we finish the story mummy?)

Firstly he took me so by surprise I'm not sure I answered as well as I could have done, but if I'm to go over it tomorrow it's just drawing attention to it? We are not homophobic in any way at all, the topic just hadn't come up, but now it has I feel like I've handled it completely wrong. Wwyd or what did you say?

WinterFire Fri 16-Jan-15 21:38:01

Just tell him. A man can love a man, a woman a woman and it's perfectly normal.

My dcs have known about different relationships for as long as they were talking.

How would you deal with it if they had a close family member / who was gay?

It's not dirty/ rude and you do not need to relate it to sex.

OddFodd Fri 16-Jan-15 21:39:37

I've always just said that men can marry men, women can marry women and women can marry men. That it's the couple thing that's usual for most people, not the genders of the people involved. DS has known gay people since he's been tiny though so it's just been something he's grown up with rather than 'other'.

Sorry, that's probably not that helpful. I think him saying 'can we finish the story' means he's satisfied with your explanation. I do think it's worth you talking to him tomorrow about using 'gay' as a pejorative term though. I'm surprised they haven't covered it at school to be honest.

kormachameleon Fri 16-Jan-15 21:40:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Scotslasslivinginfrance Fri 16-Jan-15 21:41:17

Kids always catch us off guard! But I think you have handled it absolutely fine. You reinforced not being / talking about people in a mean way and your comments about love applying to everyone sums it up simply.

It's up to you how you proceed, it would be fine to not discuss it, until it comes up again, or you could raise it with him to clarify his understanding, that choice is yours and only you know best your DS.

Although I would probably be inclined to ask where he heard about the man in the factory drinking beer being gay came from? (But that's cos I'm nosey) This could also be you in raid to discussing it further should you wish. If you plan to chat further with him, think about simple responses before hand that you think explains it clearly and helpfully for him at 8.

StockingFullOfCoal Fri 16-Jan-15 21:42:27

My sister is a lesbian who came out quite young - 16 - is now 26 - and my DDs 6 & 4 have grown up with Aunties girlfriends so we've never had any questions about it as its normal to them. Tricky one.

CalleighDoodle Fri 16-Jan-15 21:42:46

I think if have just altered his wording. Ds you mean if a man marries a man they are gay.

ThePickledPoet Fri 16-Jan-15 21:43:16

I think that's what made it difficult as we don't have anyone we know who is in a same sex relationship. If we did he'd take it as normal (as it is) but because we don't, he found it strange. I didn't want him to see it as wrong which some of his class mates do. (Which is so sad sad )

Ikeameatballs Fri 16-Jan-15 21:43:48

Just be honest.

Dd is 8, she knows that if a man loves another man in a romantic way then he is gay and if a woman loves a woman in a romantic way then she us a lesbian. We had the first conversation as two friends of mine were having a CP.

She's tried explaining this to ds (5) with limited success.

Interestingly she know's what heterosexual sex is but has never asked what you do if you are gay/lesbian so no explanation of the sexual aspect has been needed.

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Fri 16-Jan-15 21:43:56

I have told DC that gay means a man and a man or a women and a women love each other like mummy and daddy loves each other. They go on dates and kiss each other.

They also know what bisexual is.

TheWhiteRoad Fri 16-Jan-15 21:44:42

I've always just said that men can marry men, women can marry women and women can marry men.

This ^. My DCs Godfathers are gay though so they've known from tiny that there can be men/men and woman/woman couples. Just be matter of fact about it.

GokTwo Fri 16-Jan-15 21:45:23

Agree with everyone else. I'm gay myself. I'd just re emphasise the points mentioned above when the opportunity arises and remind him we don't use gay as an insult.

ThePickledPoet Fri 16-Jan-15 21:46:22

Thank you all smile
I'm so rubbish at these conversations! When asked where babies came from I panicked and said eBay grin he then replied with 'oh I thought god made us!?'
I just thought damn why didn't I think of that!! grin Lol

WorraLiberty Fri 16-Jan-15 21:47:39

To which he replied..."Gay is when a man works in a factory and drinks beer"

I think that was him thinking on his feet, due to your slight over reaction.

He's basically described the exact opposite of a gay stereotype, possibly because he was worried about telling you what he honestly thought?

Really don't worry about it. Just as PPs have said, tell him men can love men and women can love women. You don't need to know any gay couples and even if you did, what's to say he still wouldn't find it a bit strange, considering the majority of couples he knows would be heterosexual?

FourEyesGood Fri 16-Jan-15 21:47:52

The "happy, cheerful" meaning is out of date now. Children need to have things explained clearly. Korma's explanation is perfect. Am quite surprised that there are 8 year olds who don't know any gay couples (either in real life or in films, books or other media) to be honest!

fredfredgeorgejnr Fri 16-Jan-15 21:48:31

So how have you previously described gay relationships?

I would've certainly said the word had changed meaning from being happy and jolly now, and I certainly thinking calling him up on the "gay boys" which is normally used in a pejorative sense, to just saying "gay" is usually acceptable to describe two men who get married. So I think your de-normalising of gay marriage with the description you did give could've been handled better.

e.g. "Well 'gay boys' is not normally a good way of putting it, but yes two men getting married are probably gay. People who love each other often get married." Rather than implying that there's something different which makes them still deserving of being happy.

Bringing it up again tomorrow though would be making it more of a deal than you think.

Quitethewoodsman Fri 16-Jan-15 21:48:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Metalguru Fri 16-Jan-15 21:48:49

If they are old enough to ask they are old enough to be given an (age appropriate) answer. I thought you did fine!

ThePickledPoet Fri 16-Jan-15 21:53:46

Thank you smile
I didn't mean in it in a 'they should be happy too' (just incase you thought I did!) xxx

Ziggyzoom Fri 16-Jan-15 21:53:57

I think it is actually fairly easy with this generation. I've just fed little bits to my DD's as they've grown up and as they've asked. I think because they see lots of gay relationships around them and because we have just answered their questions in a casual, open sort of way, it really isn't a big deal for them. I really hope they will grow up to accept all orientations in themselves and others.

PrettyBlueTrees Fri 16-Jan-15 21:55:43

When children ask these types if questions it can be helpful to remember that they aren't bring it them the same kind if baggage that you are. They just want the truth.

The answers to 'what does gay mean' and 'where do babies come from' are quite straightforward when you strip them back to their essentials.

Better a nice clear answer from you than some playground nonsense.

ThePickledPoet Fri 16-Jan-15 21:56:08

Ps: please please please don't think I was being offensive in any way (and if I have offended anyone with this post or more to the point my wording etc I apologise xxx)

FightOrFlight Fri 16-Jan-15 21:56:51

I'm really curious as to what book were you reading him OP. I haven't seen the word gay used in that context since I was a child back in the dark ages < happy days >

I would have said that gay is the word that men who fancy men use to describe themselves.

BTW, If you're ever in a quandary about what word to use - use 'Ask a Homo' grin

shinyrobot Fri 16-Jan-15 21:59:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AmantesSuntAmentes Fri 16-Jan-15 22:01:34

I'd say just don't stress and fluster in any further chat about gay relationships. If you did stress and fluster (sounds as though you did!) do you personally see gay relationships as entirely normal? Because he'll follow your lead, spoken or unspoken. Reeee-lax! We're awesome grin

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