August 9th 2006 On Being Gay
I was walking through a park in my town the other day, waiting for my friend Noah to pick me up, when a voice called out to me, “Dippery!” I looked over and saw my friend Corey’s little brother Ryan hanging out with his older brother, Evan. I haven’t hung out at Corey’s much since we both went to school, but I used to go there a lot. Ryan is a good deal younger. Probably nine or so now, but he would’ve been about six or seven when I used to hang out at Corey’s house. You know how little kids develop an attachment to their older brothers’ friends a lot? Ryan always seemed to like me, so I went over to say hi.
He said, “Hey, what are you doing here?”
“I’m waiting for my friend Noah to pick me up. We’re going to hang out.”
“Oh. I have a friend named Noah, too.”
“Yeah! He’s such a dork!” He proceeded to tell me some story about his friend Noah chewing a lot of gum and sticking dirt in it and spitting it at people. You know how little kids talk a lot about things that don’t make much sense. Anyway, he summed it up with, “Yeah, my friend Noah is a real dork—and he’s gay.”
He said it so matter-of-factly that I was taken aback. “Oh…really?”
“Yeah. His dad’s gay, too.”
Well, Evan was smirking a bit, so I thought I’d slip in a few jokes. “Oh, he is? Well, is he married?”
“Yeah—but his wife’s not gay. Only he is,” Ryan assured me.
“Yeah. Everyone is gay in that family, except the mother and two of the kids.”
“Ryan, do you even know what gay means?” his brother, Evan, interjected.
“Well, then how do you know if he’s gay?”
“I just know!”
“But you don’t even know what it means.”
“Well, I know he’s gay.”
“But do you know what it means?”
“So how do you know he’s gay?”
“I have ways of telling.”
“But you don’t even know what it means. Maybe it’s not a bad thing. Maybe being gay is okay.”
“No, it’s not. Being gay is bad.”
“But you don’t even know what it means, so how do you know he’s gay!”
“Because Corey said ‘All Moyers are gay!’” Ryan yelled and stormed off.
I know he’s just a little kid, but I’m still a bit shocked and disappointed about how early the mentality that “Gay is bad” is pounded into kids—even before they have any idea what “being gay” is.