Who They Are

“What if your son is gay?”

Most people just chuckle uncomfortably when my son tells them about his love of princesses and tiaras and all things “fancy”. But some rude people actually ask me this question outright. What if your son is gay?

Usually I just shrug my shoulders and say, “then he is.”

But the answer isn’t really that simple, is it?

I should start with this: He is four. He not anything right now. Just four.

Yes he loves Sofia the First, but he also loves Spiderman. Yes he thinks dresses are “fancy” and he has allowed the girls at daycare to put him in one from time to time, but he also thinks his Chuck Norris “punch” shirt is the coolest thing on the planet. And yes, he loves to wear my shoes, but he also loves to wear his daddy’s hat and use his power tools.

He is four.

His interests do not pigeon-hole him into a sexuality. Playing with Barbie Dolls will not “turn him” gay just as showering him with Hot Wheels will not “keep him” straight.

But what if he is gay?

First of all, as his mother I ask, “So what?”

I won’t love him less or disown him if that is what the question askers want to know.

My expectations of him won’t change.  Our rules won’t change. How we love him won’t change.

Our views on same-sex marriage and equal rights won’t change either, although if he wanted us to, we would become even more involved than we already are in fighting for those rights.

We will probably embarrass him in front of a boyfriend just like we would with a girlfriend.  We would still have the same Big Talk with him because he still needs to know where babies come from.

We would still encourage him to bring any questions or concerns or thoughts to us if he needs to talk it out.

It would be easy to love him because we already do.

The hard part would be watching all that he would have to go up against in this world.

The heartbreaking part would not be who he is, but how the world is.

For over a decade I have been a safe haven for students to come out to and talk to. I have heard some tragic stories of rejection and hate.

I don’t want that for my son.

I don’t want that for him if he is gay, straight, or otherwise.

My sons are going to have their hearts broken in their life no matter what. That is a fact of life.

But it won’t be because their parents don’t accept who they are.

And who they are right now are two little boys who don’t care about gender stereotypes and just like to have fun.

Blue toenails, Aquaman tattoo, and Legos.

Blue toenails, Aquaman tattoo, and Legos.


  1. Beautiful post!

  2. I love this post so much, Katie.

  3. Yes yes yes yes. My son, almost 4, is similar. His favorite color is pink. He loves sparkles. He has his fingernails and toenails painted regularly and has an astonishingly large polish collection.

    He also loves trains, spiderman, etc.

    I am happy to let him be him and see where it goes without having to push it. But we do run into an awful lot of kid-prejudice, more actually from the kids than the other adults. I think children in their need to define the world buy into the gender stereotypes awfully quickly. The ones who need the most convincing are actually around 10. They see my son and ask if he’s a girl when it’s obvious he’s not. I say, “No, he’s a boy.” And then they have to insist that he has a bow in his hair and pink shoes.

    I’m frustrated for him that he has to be a little pioneer of gender stereotyping at such a tender age. But it would be so much worse for me to tell him to be less of who he is, no matter what that is and how it changes through his life.

  4. The hardest part of it for me would be the knowledge of knowing that things will be harder for them against the public. But if they stifled who they are, that would be equally as hard on the private side.

    It’s easy I think for us to say “So what?” because we already have the open mindedness and acceptance. It must be much more difficult for more conservative minded parents.

  5. My son took a liking for my daughter’s dress up boa when he was younger. It made some uncomfortable. Maybe it means something or like you s aid, maybe he was just being “four.” And no matter what anything means, it would never change the way I love him. This is a great post.

  6. I was Stumbling around the internet tonight and came across this great article.

    I really liked it and it got me thinking back to when my son [who is now almost 21] was young and would play with cars, then with Noah’s Ark toys, then with his little plastic kitchen. I remember his mom and I both asking, “what if he’s gay”? We always had the same thought: “then he is”. We will love him no matter what. He is our son.

    And I do. I love him not because he is gay, and definitely not “in spite” of it. I love him because he is my son. I have always tried to show that to him and I hope I have not failed on too many occasions.

    As life goes on, he and I will often disagree on things, be disappointed in each other, and have our own lives, likes, and differences. But I will always love him.

    He came out of the closet when he was only 15, has faced hatred, bigotry, and the small-mindedness of far too many people. He is brave, courageous, and more than anyone I know, true to himself.

    So to my son: Thank you for being who you are. That’s all that matters.