“How young is too young to tell a child that I’m gay?”

Hi everyone! It’s our very first Ask the Femme – and I need help from you, the lovely readers of Femme on a Mission! (Do you have a question? Ask here!)

So here’s our question:

I’m a 24-year-old femme and I “officially” came out a few months ago. My older cousin and I have a house together. She also has a 9-year-old daughter that I love like my own.

The issue that I’m having is that I am now open with my sexuality with my older cousin, but she still has me sheltering my younger cousin. I feel like regardless to who it is that I love, my younger cousin should have the right to know. I feel that she is old enough to understand that the decision was mine. She has been around several other gays and it was okay with her mother, but because I  stay with her it’s not okay. I feel that deep down inside my older cousin still thinks this is a phase and she doesn’t accept me like she says she does.

Should I confront her, and if so, how? Or should I just leave it alone and eventually let it come to a head?

This is tricky. It sounds like your older cousin is struggling with accepting the fact that you are gay more than she is willing to admit, which is actually a good sign, because it means that she is trying. If she wasn’t trying, she wouldn’t make it appear that she is more accepting than she is. She would just call you a fucking dyke and move on, y’know? So that’s the good news. She’s trying.

The bad news is that there’s a lot of discomfort around discussing sexuality with children because people (wrongly) associate gay with sex and not love – when you say gay, they hear sex. And the idea of talking about sex with children is more than some people can handle. (Although children are sexual beings and understand more than we admit to ourselves.)

Basically what it comes down to is that your cousin doesn’t want a gay daughter. (Sad, but true. My parents don’t want a gay daughter either.) And she doesn’t understand that you can’t make anyone gay, or that her daughter knowing you are gay is not going to make her gay. What it may do is help her feel safer in coming out, should it turn out that she actually is gay, but that is beside the point.

So here is what I would do. I would wait until I was seeing someone seriously. And when it got to a point that I would want my partner to meet my family, then I would have the conversation with your older cousin. And I would say, “Listen, knowing that I’m gay isn’t going to make Suzie [that’s your younger cousin’s name now] gay. I want her to be a part of my life, and Katie [your new gf] is in my life. Being gay isn’t wrong, and I think Suzie is old enough to learn that.”

When you do eventually tell Suzie, you don’t have to make a big deal of it. You don’t have to sit her down and say, “I have something very important to tell you.” It can be as simple as, “Hey Suzie, meet Katie. She is my girlfriend.” Suzie may have a few questions, but nothing you can’t handle by saying some girls like girls and some boys like boys. And the thing is – Suzie isn’t going to care. I can almost guarantee it. It’s always the adults that have the problems.

Here, listen to this poem; I think it will make you feel better:

Alright, readers, it’s your turn! What would you do? Enlighten us in the comments!

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3 Comments on ““How young is too young to tell a child that I’m gay?””

  1. andryfemme
    August 9, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    You’ve really hit on the point here–kids are curious, but to them love is love, and love makes sense. It’s adults that impose judgements on love. That spoken poem is fab!

  2. August 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Great post! Great answer as well. I would stick to having a serious partner and introducing her like its no big deal. You have to convince your big cousin its no big deal more than anything, that it wont make her gay or over expose her; rather it will help her deal with life easier.

    This video is good too, I love it.


    M x

    • August 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

      OMG I love that video so much! That kid is SO EXCITED to see a new thing! Childhood curiosity is beautiful.

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