A few weeks ago I found myself in an awkward situation. I was faced with a moment where I could potentially teach a child something that may seem controversial and instead I chose to take an easy road out. I felt weird about it then and still felt weird about it yesterday.
Basically I was with a friend of mine who is gay and we were talking about Halloween costumes with a four year old. I told the little girl about this friend’s boyfriend’s costume, but instead of using the word “boyfriend”, I just used the word “friend”. I felt awkward about it immediately, being as I feel love is blind and that we should be teaching everyone this, in addition to the fact that this friend was standing right there. Was he offended that I didn’t acknowledge his relationship, even if it was only to a child we may never meet again?
In thinking about it afterward, I tried to justify my word choice in many ways. Some of those ways were valid, like it being a weird timing (I swear to you it was) to get into a deep conversation and, even though I hope this will one day be a thing of the past, I wasn’t sure how and who this friend wanted to be out to. Other reasons were just silly. But the main reason is I was scared. I was scared I wouldn’t have good answers for this child, I was scared of the parents, whose opinions I did not know and that were standing nearby, I was just scared all around and I took the easy road out rather than facing it head on.
Last night I saw this friend for the first time since the incident. I had read a blog post earlier in the day about two gay dads and it got me thinking about this situation all over again. So when I saw this friend, I knew I needed to bring it up, if not for him then at least for me to clear the air for myself. Being a nice person, I knew he wouldn’t be mad, but I did fear him being standoffish about it or questioning me on why I said what I said.
Turns out that, once again, the things that I do really only plague me. He hadn’t thought twice about it. We discussed it for a moment, him even saying, “Yeah, well, you never know if parents are going to freak about that,” (another thing that I hope will someday be a thing of the past) and I felt about a million times better once we were through.
It’s a sticky subject for sure, but in truth I wish I would have taken that opportunity to teach about love, not hate, to someone who is still so open to learning about it. I’m kicking myself now for the missed opportunity. But hey, who knows? Maybe she’s already down with all that. Maybe she wouldn’t have even noticed my label useage. I’m probably over processing the whole thing really. My husband, upon reading this, will most likely say, “You think way too much. You need to just chill out.”