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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Oh No! Anderson Cooper is Gay! Oh. Okay.

As you may or may not know, my parents recently moved (on a trial basis) from their small town in Ohio to Las Vegas.

My mom, daughter Zoey and I were running errands, helping them get some necessities.  Somehow, the topic of someone being gay came up.  And my mother spelled it out...

G-A-Y.

This is funny for 2 reasons, as I explained to my mother.  First, my daughter can spell and immediately began to do so after my mom spelled it (afterall, the spelled out words are the good ones).  Second, we have gay friends.  It's not a big deal.

My mom then asked if my daughter understood what gay was.  She is 6.

I told her I didn't think so.  But I also don't think she understands what straight is.  Because she is 6.

I still remember someone telling me, in 6th grade I believe, what sex REALLY was and I was horrified and insisted they had to be wrong.  That's just gross.  As far as my daughter knows, love is kissing and doing the laundry.  So gay or straight, it stops there.  I'm fine with that.  I'm more concerned that I need to undo the princess brainwashing she's been subjected to.

My son is starting to get more attuned to it.  He is 9.  It's confusing.  We answer questions when he has them.  We leave it up to him to ask.

While some people might be concerned that I am exposing my children to deviant lifestyles, I assure you I am not.  I have gay Catholic friends.  I have gay Republican friends.  I have gay friends who are parents.  I have gay friends who fit every stereotype out there.  Basically, I have friends who just happen to be gay.  And that is what I am exposing them to- my friends.

I have straight friends whose lifestyles I question more than any of my gay friends, in fact.

I was fortunate that the first gay people that I met were before I really knew what gay was (and yes, there are gay people in my little small hometown.)  That allowed me to form an opinion of the person first, because I didn't understand sexuality.  So when I finally did understand what gay meant, I had an "Oh.  Okay." reaction.  The gay couples I knew were in long term relationships.  Nothing seemed unusual.

So why did Anderson Cooper feel the need to say anything?  Like so many celebrities these days that are making a statement, he basically said he'd always been gay, this wasn't news, anyone who mattered to him has known a long time.  He wasn't hiding it, he just wasn't making it his defining characteristics.  He's gay.  Big deal.

He felt compelled, however, because with teenage suicides and bullying so largely connected with gay teens struggling, he wanted them to know that it was going to be okay.  They would get through it.  The people who really loved them, would still love them.

If my kids come out, I won't lie, I will be surprised and worried. It's not an easy path.  But it certainly is easier than it was 20 or 30 or 50 years ago. 

So Anderson Cooper is gay. 

Oh.  Okay.  Next story.


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