How to Talk To Your Children About Gay Parents

Imagine you’re at the train station, taking your kids into the city to see the Lion King. A man steps off the 6:16 from Grand Central, and two toddlers run up to him shouting, “Daddy!  Daddy!”  He gives out two hugs and about a thousand kisses and tells them how much he missed them while he was at work. You’ve witnessed scenes like this many times, but as always, your heart melts. Then the dad stands up, walks a little further down the platform and kisses… another man.

Well, that’s different.

“How was your day?” the first guy asks, and the other one starts talking about who got time outs, why the kids have maple syrup in their hair and who flushed what down the toilet right before they left.

OK, back to normal.

You’ve probably done the math by now — Look!  Gay dads! — but there’s a decent chance you’ll feel a tug on your leg, and your kid will look up at you and ask, “Yo, what’s the deal there?”

This is the story of my life. I am a gay dad, and I confuse children.

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I’m sure it happens more than I realize – at the supermarket, at the park, at MyGym.  Just by acting like any other parents, my partner Drew and I are inadvertently sparking countless conversations that start with, “Where’s their Mommy?”

You’re free to handle that question however you want, of course.  But if you don’t know where to begin, allow me to help.

You see, when Drew and I decided to have kids, we knew that the gay dad job description would include explaining our family to the world for the rest of our lives. That’s one of the reasons I started my blog.

It’s also why I am kindly providing you, the sympathetic straight parent, with some guidelines. (Unsympathetic straight parents are free to ignore my suggestions, in which case, I’ll enjoy watching them squirm)  Obviously, what you say will depend on how old your kids are and how much exposure they’ve had to gay people previously, but in a broader sense, these suggestions should apply to anyone.

I’m not a child psychologist, just a gay dad who’s thought a lot about the issue and who has a big stake in it.  After all, I don’t want your kids coming up to my kids one day and telling them they’re weird for not having a mommy.

If you don’t want that either, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Use the word “gay.”

How to Talk To Your Children About Gay Parents


Everyone’s concentrating on taking the negative connotation away from the word “gay,” but at the same time, let’s not forget to encourage the positive.  We don’t want “gay” to be a curse, so go ahead and teach it to your kids. That’s how we’ll really take the sting out of the word.

“Oh, Uncle Doug and Uncle Max? They’re gay.”  “Aunt Vera and Aunt Debbie aren’t sisters, honey. They’re lesbians.”  “Well, statistics suggest at least 3 of the Smurfs must be gay.” Don’t make a big deal about it.  Just say it.  If your kids hear some jerk at school sneering, “That’s so gay!”, their response will be, “Yeah? So what? So are Uncle Max and, most likely, Brainy.”

You could also use the word “queer,” I guess, but then your kids and I will just think you’re a pretentious dweeb.

2. You don’t have to pretend half the world is gay. 

How to Talk To Your Children About Gay Parents


Don’t play down the fact that your kids may have witnessed something unfamiliar.  “Geez, Madison. They have two daddies, what’s the biggie?” It’s natural for poor little Madison to be confused, so give her a damn break.

Kids are probably going to assume all families have one mommy and one daddy, because that’s all most of them see.  Be honest, and use words like “most” and “some.”  “Most families have a mommy and a daddy… but some have two mommies or two daddies.” As long as you don’t attach a value judgment to that statement, it really is no biggie.

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Some kids might say something like, “That’s weird”, or they’ll think you’re playing a joke on them.  That should just be a reminder of why you’re having this conversation.  Get to your kid before ignorance does.  If you’re honest with them, they’ll get it.  Explain that gay families are less common than the usual mommy/daddy family, but they’re every bit as valid.  “It’s not weird, it’s just different than our family.”

3. Get your mind out of the gutter.

It seems silly that I even have to say this, but when some people think about homosexuality and kids, they imagine that you’re suggesting they graphically describe intercourse to kindergarteners. Um, no. All you should be doing is answering the questions they’re asking, and save the rest for junior high health class. If they wonder why Owen has two daddies, it’s because “His daddies are in love”… or because “Some men love other men.” Hopefully, you’ve taught your kids to understand what love is, so no further explanation should be required.

And do use the word “love.”  That’s what we’re talking about here.  You don’t need to say “attracted to” or “some boys like boys.”  “Like” is how they feel about each other. A kid might think, “Well, I like boys. I guess I’m gay.”  Compare it to your own relationship (assuming you have a good relationship). “You know the way Mommy and I love each other?  That’s how their daddies (or mommies) feel about each other.”  And if your kid says, “Yuck!” it’s probably because they feel the same way about you and your wife. That’s progress.

4. Don’t make it about your kid — yet.

Understanding gay parents is a big enough topic of discussion, and your kid probably won’t be prompted to wonder about their own sexuality at this point.  You don’t need to say, “You might marry a man someday yourself, Junior!”  While it’s great to plant the seeds of acceptance early, you’ll probably just end up confusing them more.  Your kids have plenty of time to figure their own feelings out, and when the time comes, make sure you let them know that you love them no matter what. But no, they can’t marry Brainy Smurf.

5. If your kid does ask you to speculate, you can tell them they’ll “probably” be straight.

Again, only if your kid expresses some curiosity should you even broach the subject. But if they’re wondering, “Who will I marry someday?”, feel free to tell them, “You’ll probably marry someone of the opposite sex, but I’ll accept you either way.” Of course, if you’re like the mom from the amazing blog Raising My Rainbow, your “probably” might lean the other way. Just take your cues from your kid.

6. Remember the magic phrase, “Everyone ends up with the right parents for them.” 

It’s possible your kids will ask something like, “But doesn’t everyone need a mommy?” Even kids who don’t know exactly where babies come from understand that women are the ones who get pregnant and give birth.  When that’s all you know, then two daddies just don’t add up.

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Again, don’t go into any more detail than you need to.  Remind your kid that while it’s a woman who gives birth to a baby, your Mommy(-ies) and/or Daddy(-ies) are the one(s) who raise you. If two men want to start a family together, then yes, they’ll need help from a woman. But that woman is not the mommy. It’s no different than how you’d explain adoption by a straight couple. “The Strattons flew to Beijing and brought little Daisy home. Now they’re her Mommy and Daddy.” Assure your children that the kids are in good hands, and that everyone ends up with the right parents for them.

7. Most importantly, just talk to your kids.

Your kids are bound to see a gay family sooner or later, even if it’s just Mitchell & Cameron on Modern Family.  So if they come to you with questions, it’s really important that you don’t get weird about it.  Don’t change the subject, don’t tell them they’re too young to understand and definitely don’t lie and say that the mommy is home doing dishes or off fighting in Afghanistan.  Otherwise the message you’re sending is that there’s a reason to be uncomfortable around gay families.  The same goes for all kinds of families, whether they have two moms, two dads, a single mom, a single dad, foster parents or if they’re being raised by wolves – just explain that that’s a different kind of family and gee, isn’t it nice that everyone’s a little different.

… which leads me to a big secret.

You see, there is a gay agenda.  It’s true.

What most people don’t realize is that the gay agenda isn’t “everybody should be gay.” It’s “everybody should be themselves.”

Be a nerd, be a Yanni fan, be a real housewife of your particular geographic region. Whatever. It’s all part of the same cause, and it’s a great message to teach your kids.

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I shouldn’t have to say this in 2012, but for anyone who’s still wondering, NO, I don’t want to make your kids gay.  I just want to live my life with a sense of mutual respect for everyone else on this planet.  If you want the same thing, then let your kids learn by your example.  Show them that nontraditional families are nothing to be afraid of.

Teaching your kids to be accepting of gay people and gay families is a great way to teach them acceptance in a broader sense – and to teach them the ultimate lesson: to be accepting of themselves.

I know some people think differently, but that’s what I call family values.

About the writer

Jerry Mahoney blogs at His book 'Mommy Man: How I Went From Mild-Mannered Geek to Gay Superdad' is now available pretty much wherever you like to buy books.

From Around the Web


nina 9 months ago

I just Google thisearch question because my daughter is starting school and I wanted to be prepared for this question. My parents always found the hay community to be obscene and shielded us from it. As if there was something terrible. I have to say you hit the nail on the head. Thank you so much for posting this article! It is such a big help!

M 10 months ago

What a great article. My son started life with a gay grandpa and more recently I carried surrogate twins for two dads. As a result I don’t think we ever really had this conversation but I realize I just got lucky with our diverse family- gay is normal and common as far as my son can see

Mercedes 10 months ago

I really enjoyed reading this. I was looking up how to explain what gay is to a child. I don’t have children of my own yet, my husband and I are waiting a couple more years. But on recent visit to my MIL’s she said something that made me worry, she was retelling an encounter she had with one of the little girls she was watching. The little girl asked about gay and she told her that it was when two mean were together and she didn’t think god meant for that to happen. The little girl said ewww and she was like I know. End of story. And I sat there shocked in the back seat not knowing what to say. My aunt is a lesbian and I know the struggle she has had to go through. I understand my MIL has old school beliefs and thankfully we live a very long way away. And this gave me a lot to think about as far as how to talk about being gay in a positive light bc it is all about love. I know this was posted a loooonnnnggggg while ago but if anyone has any advice on how to address a family member who has negative beliefs about being gay, bc I do not want my children to be taught that it’s bad wrong or gross, however as much as I would like to be the one to explain everything to them, the possibility of someone else doing it could happen. How would you go about asking family members to not teach your children certain beliefs?

Julia 11 months ago

So I enjoyed reading this a lot. It was very helpful for some of the questions I had but I’m still concerned about a few things.
I have two girls with my ex who has since gotten married and a baby of their own. I also have moved on only with a woman. And at the moment I have just said she’s my really good friend. Their dad and his wife have them full time at the moment but i still see them once a week and we have recently have gotten to a point that my girls who are six and two will be coming to our house. I’m very scared on what my six year old is going to ask. She likes to ask questions and even after I answer them she then ask “well why mommy”. Anyone with any pointers on ways I could approach this situation?

    Mercedes 10 months ago

    I’m straight so I might be out of my league giving advice but she asks about it I would simply say you are with her bc you two love each other. And if she says anything else asking questions say that love is love and there is nothing wrong with two people being together if they are in love. Hope that helped alittle.

Amanda 11 months ago

Thank you so much .. This is so great!

Carol Leigh Wehking 12 months ago

Thanks for this – my daughter posted it on her facebook page; that’s how i found it. I am her came-late-to-gay alpha mother; she and her brother call my partner their “Bonus Mom.”
After I pretty much mangled the whole transition from conventional/traditional family to our present status, my kids took a long time to forgive me. Explaining to children one already has when coming in late can be a pretty major challenge, too. But they recognize real love when they see it; my chief regret is that they did not grow up with it. Fortunately, they bore no prejudice against gay-ness, just against their mother’s klutziness.

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ELsMom 1 year ago

THANK YOU! I live in a small town so my kids aren’t exposed to gay couples on a regular basis. The few gay couples we know don’t have children so it has been a non-issue but I know at some point whey will have questions. My husband and I weren’t sure the best way to explain this to them at such a young age. This included GREAT advice that we will be able to use without confusing them, possibly misguiding them, having them (or us!) feel inadequate. It is very matter of fact and honest. I LOVE IT! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

Bree 1 year ago

I really love the way you define the “gay agenda”. As a mum in a hetero family, I happily espouse this agenda with my son everyday. And it feels great!

I too love your funny drawings. Thanks for bringing smiles to my face!

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stoicatheist 2 years ago

I work with someone who prefaces and justifies every reference
to a gay person with: _I don’t have anything against gays,
but I don’t want my kids,…(yadda yadda, bullshit)…I mean, what do tell my kids when they see that”?_

Here are some answers to that dumb-ass question. Pick the one that best suits your personality:

_”there are homosexuals and heterosexuals and many other kinds of “sexuals” in the world and you are to *make NO judgements* about them based on their sexual–or for that matter racial, cultural (etc.) orientation._

“None of your damn business, now eat your fruit loops and shut the hell up…and that goes for heterosexuals as well you overly inquisitive rug rat!!!”

“Your parent(s) use you as an excuse to discriminate indiscriminately and arbitrarily and you should probably question or at least cross reference everything else we teach you.”

Or you can just stop planting questions in their head that they never had in the first place.

lesbomom 2 years ago

I love this post and I think that I have read it before or something similar. Gay is just not a big deal. I have always taught my daughter that you love who you love and love is a beautiful thing no matter what shape it comes in. We are lucky enough to love in a lesbian-centric town (Ithaca, NY) that she is not singled out too often. And at the young age of 8, her friends still think it’s cool that she has two moms. I just hope that they still feel that way in 5 years or so.

Lotte 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You put it all so well! I hope I can say everything just like that the day I’d be a mom..

Christine 2 years ago

I really enjoyed this article! I believe in always being honest and upfront with children. My daughter is only 18 months but I get asked ALL the time if we will tell her she’s adopted. Absolutely, is my answer. We already have books about adoption and read them even though she’s too young to understand. LOVE. IS. LOVE. PERIOD!

Andrea 2 years ago

Lovely post. I have kids and we live in Vancouver, where it is not uncommon for kids to have two moms or two dads or even two moms and a dad or two dads and a mom. My kids have known this since they were tiny. Even today, when I was talking about brides and grooms, my 6yo corrected me and said that there must sometimes be just brides or just grooms, since “boys can marry boys, Mom!” When kids ask about 2 moms or 2 dads, I just say, “Families come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some live all in one home. Some live in two homes. Some have moms and dads, some have moms or dads. Some live with grandparents or other relatives. Some have bonus parents. What’s important is that families love and respect one another.” My kids have never found that confusing or hard to understand.

Sparrow 2 years ago

This is such a wonderful post. I have nieces and nephews, and a suspicion that one of them might be gay. It’s a wait-and-see thing, of course. They’re all very cool kids, though, so I am anticipating not much trouble in this area.

I do have one caveat about your list, though – the “every kid gets the parents they need” line. I’d be careful about saying that to a child. What if they see another kid whose mother yells at them, or whose father beats them? They’ll have the impression that perhaps that kid deserves to be treated that way, because :”every kid gets the parents they need”. My father was abusive (and is still a bully), so I’d never tell a child that, knowing from experience that some kids very much don’t get the parents they need.

Just a thought. :)

Jacqueline 2 years ago

6. Remember the magic phrase, “Everyone ends up with the right parents for them.”

So abused kids deserve it? WTF?

You need to think through the implications of your statements a little better before posting.

Kim 2 years ago

I wish people would learn what the bible actually teaches. Nobody gets to heaven based on behaviour, good or bad. The common denominator that saved people share is faith. A married gay couple who have genuine faith in God are in a much better position spiritually than the straight married couple who don’t believe in God. The bible says over and over again that we are saved by grace through faith, and that God does not consider anyone to be a good person. The message in the bible is so simple, have faith and receive eternal life, that’s the Good News! Another over looked message is that this authentic faith is a gift – we can’t believe in God unless God empowers us to do so. If a Gay man has authentic faith (not just for show) God has accepted him and he has nothing to worry about.

Rach 2 years ago

I take issue with your suggestion to tell a child that they will “probably” be straight. Even if you say that you’ll accept them either way, why perpetuate heteronormativity? You should not have to reassure a child that they will probably not be gay. I think it would give the child a bias on what is “normal” and I think these discussions, from a young age, should be about all sexualities being normal instead of just accepting people who aren’t straight. I respect that because you’re gay you have a right to your opinion on the subject, I just think that it could be a bit dangerous. It’s not rocking the boat to imply they have a real likelihood of being gay. Anyways, statistics of sexuality are outdated and ignore bisexuality and pansexuality, also! It’s less than probable that they’ll be completely straight after all.
I like the article in general, just don’t think that a parent needs to fall into heteronormativity to make a kid feel reassured. If we’re trying to change their opinions from a young age, being straight shouldn’t be reassurance at all.

    Rachel 2 years ago

    Those of us who aren’t gay also have our rights to opinion on the subject. He wasn’t telling people to “reassure” their kids they won’t be gay. He was just telling people to answer their kids questions.

    You are assuming kids are afraid of being gay, so then saying “you’ll probably marry someone of the opposite sex” is reassuring them that’s not so.

    He’s assuming kids are just curious, so then saying “you’ll probably marry someone of the same sex” is just a straight-forward answer.

    Do you really expect someone to answer that question by a 4 year old by explaining pansexuality, asexuality, bisexuality, and everything else? Or that the child may decide to be polygamous? Or marry someone transgendered?

Kacey 2 years ago

Wonderful post! I wish everyone would read this & take it to heart.

Juliann Rich 2 years ago

Love, love, love this!

Kathryn 2 years ago

My 7-year old heard the word ‘gay’ on TV and asked what it was. I explained “Some girls like mommy grow up and want to kiss and marry boys. But some girls grow up and want to kiss and marry girls, and some boys grow up and want to kiss and marry boys. That’s what being gay means.” Her response – “I think I already know about all that. A boy at my school has two daddies.”
That was our big discussion on people being gay.

rose 2 years ago

loved this article! my best friend is lesbian and her and her wife decided to do artificial insemination to have a baby together…she gave birth to her son 2 weeks before i had my son…we always have play dates, dinner, parties, you name it together. now our children are 3 and i was expecting this answer to pop up at anytime now because my best friends son already questioned why he doesn’t have a father like my son, she told me she had no idea what to say…now with this article we could definitely try to talk about it, and know exactly how. thank you!

Catherine 2 years ago

We never had to explain anything to our kids. Annie, Laura, and their son were just like any other family we were friends with. Their friend Robert has 2 mommies, some kids have 2 daddies, and some kids have one of each. The end. When you make it a point to outline differences in people that kids would otherwise not notice, then you’re teaching them what to look for to find a difference. My kids see people, not statistics.

Eric Rosset 2 years ago

Joseph B Masek Valentina obviously meant acceptance, just look at the intent and context. Do you think she told her kids to "just put up with them"? Joseph, I think it is you who should be more accepting and kind, even toward people who may not have sat in Gender Studies 101 at Texas State.

Antonia Lederhos Chandler 2 years ago

I like Keep It Simple, Silly :-)

Helene Lasserre Hill 2 years ago

Thanks Ang but I can't take credit for who he is :) I am just lucky to have him as my little man!

Angeleen Anderson 2 years ago

Your son is a beautiful, kind and loving little man. You must be so proud to be his mother. You've done and amazing job!

Helene Lasserre Hill 2 years ago

Ahah, too funny, I would never had to explain to MY son….because he told me the other day he thinks that it doesn't mater if you have a mommy and a daddy, two mommies , two daddies or just a mom or just a dad because "us" kids we just want to be loved!!

Alexis Rhiannon Bantau 2 years ago

Just had to answer questions Liam had about two mommies kissing and this was awesome! Helpful and to the point

Tory 2 years ago

Thank you. Amazing article. I wish I had it a year ago when my then 8 year old started asking these kinds of questions and even asked me why her own grandparents didn’t approve of gay people. I told her some people are mad because they believe that God only wants a man and a woman to be together and in love. Her response struck me to my core and brought me to tears. My then 8 year old daughter says completely exasperated, ” People get mad at each other for LOVING someone?! That doesn’t seem right! And it doesn’t seem like that is what God would want or how God would want us treating other people.”

I felt like all the teaching of homosexuality was over and I had learned more from my daughter than she had from me.

    Guest 2 years ago

    I had to explain all this to my son once. He had a look of disgust on his face. I guess he’s just born that way. But I did tell him the truth without candy coated PC parlance
    -A gay family is one where perhaps one parent is the parent, and the other is a stranger who tells the kids to call him mommy, etc.
    -A gay person is some who defines themselves by their sexual acts, which are not ontologically sex acts, but more accurately known as assisted masturatory acts.
    -A child with gay parents is likely to have a mother or father that is nothing more than a donor who was paid to produce human materials (like a prostitute) so that homosexuals can pretend to be a “family”:
    -looking at the homosexuals you know in our family, you will come to realize they are notoriously unstable, depressed, on psych meds- no matter how accepting you are of them
    -All arrangements of family that do not feature a mother and father the way most mammals are used to will result in dysfunction, but since many gays are wealthy, and wealth covers a multitude of dysfunctions, you won’t be able to see it unless you look closely, or look at poor gay families instead.

    I guess I am just a militant scienc

      disgusted 2 years ago

      The points you raise are simply ignorant of the realities of both straight and gay families.

      1) Families with one parent and a stranger are not uncommon in the straight world these days (ever heard of divorced people who remarry?) and they can be perfectly functional families in every sense of the word.
      2) Following your logic, the moment you call yourself straight, you’re also defining yourself by your sexuality. Also, a straight couple that produces three kids and has a normal sex life during their time together will engage in “assisted masturbatory acts” upwards of 99% of the time. Or do you have a baby every single time you have sex? Would you tell women to stop having sex after menopause just because they cannot procreate?
      3) Many straight couples need a donor to become parents. Are they also pretending to be “families”? Which part of the world do you live in where prostitutes are paid to produce human materials? Weird.
      4) I have met many unstable heterosexuals out there. Sadly, they insist on going on depression and take psych meds in spite of how accepting I am of them.
      5) Most mammals are a mother and a father? I suggest you start watching animal life documentaries (the BBC has great ones). You will see plenty examples of single mums, one father and many mums,…

      Your comments put a look of disgust on my face. I guess I am just born that way.

      Kae Oz 2 years ago

      “I had to explain all this to my son once. He had a look of disgust on his face. I guess he’s just born that way.”

      Kind of like the looks most boys get when you tell them one day they might kiss a girl? Yeah. Kids think all kissy stuff is gross. Because they are KIDS.

      Your kid, like all kids, are born open and wanting to understand. But you just keep filling him with the ignorant ideas that continue to ensure this one of the stupidest countries in the world. And he will be sure to become that backwards person with zero reasoning skills that is cock-sure of what he “knows” to be true that makes reality television such a thriving industry.

      I just can’t help but wonder what you tell your child about children that are adopted. Or haven’t been adopted and grow up in the system. Does what you tell your child make him that kid at school that makes fun of the kid whose parent just died for only having one parent at home?

      And what about this “militant scienc” you educate him with?
      Do you tell him that human families should be arranged like many mammals, like apes and lions, with the one dominant male and a harem of females, all related to each other, all living and raising the young together? Do you teach him about the mammals tendency towards infanticide of the young of other males? Do you tell them how the Bonobos do not practice infanticide, but are the most promiscuous of all primates, having hetero and homosexual relations with many, many partners, frequently. And also have the least amount of violence among any group of animals? Ya’ know, “scienc”.

      Katy 2 years ago

      Tory, you made me throw up a little in my mouth. I hope you are a troll because it makes me sick to think there are people out there teaching kids to hate. People like you are a blight on society. Furthermore I’m sure plenty of other posters will refute your wholly inaccurate statements so I will not waste any more of my time. You are pure ick. I hope your kids grow up to let you down by being smart, tolerant, and loving people the exact opposite of their parent.

Magalie Rolles 2 years ago

Thank you so much for this posting… My son is 6 and I wanted to prepare myself for the day he would ask my about gays or lesbians. This is very useful… God bless you and your family!!!!

Shannon Knox 2 years ago

she taught them tolerance AND love. why attack a woman who raised children to be open-minded because you don't like her word choice?

Karin Neely 2 years ago

Thank you for this article!! I am a 30 year old adult who was raised by 2 amazing lesbian moms!! I love my moms, and our family is just like any other. People say gays can’t raise children, but my brother and I are proof that they can!!

Wyn 2 years ago

I liked this article a lot, however, I feel that the most important thing to talk to kids about is just that families are different. My daughter just turned 3. We talk about different families almost every day. We don’t have a daddy. But, we have a mommy, a little girl, a cat, a dog, and grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I’m lucky that my daughter has a lot of gay people in her life, some with, some without kids. All families are just different. Personally, I think that’s the best route to go.

Rebecca 2 years ago

Great article! When my son was six he became friends with a boy who lives with his two moms and has two dads in another town. When I explained the situation to my son, he looked right past the differences and was actually upset that he had only ONE mom and dad while his friend got to have TWO of each! Kids do take their cues from us, answer their questions honestly and age-appropriately and they will get it. The boys are 12 now and are still friends!

Tanisha 2 years ago

I fought long and hard and it actually destroyed my relationship with my kids father because he wanted to teach my children that gay and trannsexual is wrong my kids are going to learn its normal and fine and when they ask if they are gay I’ll merely say that you will end up with someone you love be it man woman or something else I am a firm believer of falling in love with a person not a gender!

Clare Gervasi 2 years ago

Was I the only one put off by the heteronormativity of this article? Right, I get that the artile is supposed to be about gay acceptance, but the whole tone of the article was a defense of a nuclear family model of kinship that is the backbone of patriarchy and homophobia. The author assumes monogamy, coupling, heterosexuality, etc. Encouraging all these societal assumptions continues to make the world unsafe for LGBT folks as well as those with other minority sexual identities.

Olivia Strickland Enabulele 2 years ago

I suppose this is helpful information for some people, but I think if people would focus on using more inclusive language with their children from the start most of those questions won't be asked. I don't talk to my 4 yr old daughter about boyfriends or husbands (not gonna make assumptions), but on occasions relationships come up I try to remember to use gender neutral language and/or inclusive language so I'm not setting her up to think all families have a "mommy" and a "daddy".

Crystal Mackey Free 2 years ago

I agree with you Clare, but I also think that we have to accept all steps, including baby steps, in the right direction as a good sign.

Shekinah Irene Lavalle 2 years ago

In thinking about this, I'm actually reminded of Barney (my mom dated a guy who had a kid who was 2 when I was 8, so we watched lots of Barney–you know, the singing dinosaur). Anyway, there was a whole episode devoted to different types of families. I don't remember that they addressed gay families, but they did talk about how some families have a mom and a dad, some families have a mom and a grandma, sometimes there's just a mom, or just a dad, sometimes there's a step parent, sometimes an aunt and uncle are the parents, some kids are adopted, sometimes the immediate family has several parents of various types. While they didn't address poly or queerness or gay relationships, they did make a point to construct several types of families with an emphasis on "family" being whoever is close and in a loving relationship, no matter how expansive that is. I'm not sure I think that this guys message is detrimental, but it's definitely not breaking out of the nuclear dynamic, and I'm willing to let him pass because he's focusing specifically on how to address the questions *most* kids would have about gay parents. Maybe this guy has no concept of anything outside of monogamy (maybe he thinks that's wrong), or maybe he was just starting with that.

Deborah Rothman Mediation & Arbitration 2 years ago

Sandra, thanks for your comment. I am so glad you are not laboring under the illusion that somehow YOU were unlovable. It's too bad we only license cars and animals, but not parents.

Rachelle Grifsha 2 years ago

Looks like they have two parents that love them. That's all that matters.

Dana Smith Duryee 2 years ago

Love this article! As a stepmom, I too have confused kids. It's not easy to explain divorce, but it's a reality in many kids' lives. I applaud the writer for his matter-of-fact attitude. Inspiring!

cassie 2 years ago

and also……. even if that child was given up for adoption for example – that woman still exists. if you think its ok to tell a child that a woman does not exist then you seriously need help! Being gay men who decide is one thing and if you can give a child a home and love them great but telling a child that the mother doesn’t exist is plainly wrong! and very sexist!

    Burr 2 years ago

    Cassie, that’s not at all what they’re saying. They’re saying that the woman that gave birth to a child that a gay couple decides to have (not the same as with you and your ex, I’m so sorry that happened), is not the mother. She still exists, she gave that child life, but she is not their “mother.” Your parents are the people who raise you, which isn’t always necessarily the ones that gave birth to you. That doesn’t make your birth parents non-existent, but that also doesn’t make them your parents.

cassie 2 years ago

your comment
If two men want to start a family together, then yes, they’ll need help from a woman. But that woman is not the mommy.

is really really offensive to people where my husband used me to produce 2 children then went off to live his gay life. He never told me he was gay! I look after my 2 children full time, I carried them and gave birth to both of them which was extremely painful.

Are you saying that when someone approached my x with his new partner that I become non existent??? How dare you? I do exist and I have had to give up my career and my life to care for my 2 children, who, incidently also have special needs. how arrogant of you to think that a mummy doesn’t exist just because you are gay! its really offensive!

just because a man decides to start a new family with a new partner who is a man does not mean that mother, that woman does not exist. I am very very proud to be a mother and nothing will ever take that away from me. PLEASE do not tell people that a mother does not exist!!!

    Tanisha 2 years ago

    It is not right what happened to you I dont think that the article was referring to that some women are just incubators… They get pregnant with the intention of giving the child to the gay couple…. And you looking after the kids 24/7 tells me that man was a mere sperm donor.

    Note the Sarcasm 2 years ago

    Wow, you must have made it SO easy for your partner to accept himself. AND your kids have “special needs”! You deserve a medal!!!

    Rachel 2 years ago

    Your situation is no different than any other couple who divorces and the parents later enter new relationships. My ex-husband has a whole family now, and I’m sure when my son is with them people assume his girlfriend is my son’s mom. That’s not offensive to me. It *would* be offensive if my ex and/or his girlfriend TOLD people she is his mom. You can’t expect parents to look at a couple with a child and immediately know the child is from a previous relationship. And you can’t get offended and take it personally if they assume otherwise. I think it’s pretty clear the author didn’t have those situations in mind when he wrote the article. Not only from this statement you’ve taken offense to, but also by all the “Just like how you have a mommy and daddy/ Just like how your mommy and daddy love each other” examples that just wouldn’t be good examples to give a child from a “broken” home. (And I hate that term. My home was far more “broken” when my ex and I were together.) Maybe the author was a little presumptive in assuming every kid’s parents (whether same sex or not) were still together and in a loving, healthy relationship. I don’t fault the author for that though. We know what we’ve lived.

Teddy 2 years ago

Living in nh where gay marriage is legal, we have already had the discussion about how if two people love each other they get married. Man-man. Woman- woman. Man- woman. And thanks to a single mom with no daddy (I don’t know the reason why) and the adopts child – we have already had the discussions of how families are formed in a multitude of ways.

But thank you for sharing this.

Donna Barton 2 years ago

When my friend ‘came out’ she was worried that other parents wouldn’t want their kids around her, her partner, her children and their home. No problem!! We simply explained to our children that we believe that any loving relationship is a healthy relationship and that it doesn’t have to be between a man and a woman. I offered to answer any questions that they had and they were also welcomed to ask my friend if there was something that I couldn’t answer. My son’s only question “Who’s going to put up their Christmas Lights for them” – The very first explanation was that women CAN put up their own lights!

Julia 2 years ago

I wish I had read this years ago- it would have helped me so much! When I didn’t know how to explain to my kids about their friends’ gay parents or our gay family members, I started with “everyone is different” or “every family is different”. It was a good jumping off point, but I didn’t always know how to say more in an age appropriate way. Thanks for the great read!

Colette 2 years ago

Great, great post!! I have already had a similar conversation w/my oldest son (6), when we saw a gay couple shopping together, he could have cared less (judgement), but he was curious… I simply said, “that boy has 2 dads, you have a mom & a dad, it’s pretty simple bud, people love who they love” :) This completely satisfied his curiosity.

Kathy 2 years ago

I wish you would consider writing some children’s books! As a former preschool teacher I always had multi-cultural books for the kids in my classroom to look at and that I could read to them. However, back then (5 years ago), I never found any children’s books addressing the “Two Daddies – Two Mommies” issues. It would be a fabulous way to teach the kids that love is love….and there are many different kinds of families. Oh! And by the way, I am sharing your blog with everyone I know. It is wonderful!!
“Slowly, slowly, slowly,” said the sloth. People will change when they know more and aren’t so afraid of things they don’t understand. Love is love. Period. Keep up the great work!!

Joseph Masek 2 years ago

You taught your sons tolerance? Tolerance and Acceptance are two totally different things. You can love things that you accept. You can't feel love for things you tolerate.

Karyn 2 years ago

Thanks Jerry – I love the post and am following your blog now! You hit the nail on the head about people being so focused on the *furtive whisper* “sex” part when all they actually need to explain to young kids is LOVE. My son was devastated when I had to explain to him that he couldn’t marry his little sister (“But I LOVE her!!”) but now he’s excited because the world is his oyster and he can love and marry whoever he likes!

tlc 2 years ago

This article is fantastic! But what really gives me warm fuzzies are all of the supportive comments. I am over the moon that so many people are understanding, supportive, loving, and positive about the richness of family diversity. Ahh!

Christina Michalatou 2 years ago

Thank you for your beautiful article…

Shanna Platt Cummings 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing with heart I and humor. Really love what you have to say.

Shanna Platt Cummings 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing with heart I and humor. Really love what you have to say.

jen 2 years ago

Wonderful posts,with one exception.Not every child ends up with the right parent. Every child should,but as we have all seen some parents shouldn;t be allowed to raise a dog,let alone a child (and this has nothing to do with gay or straight) I have actually had a harder time explaining to my kids parental child abuse,more then sexual oreintation.

Jen Murtagh 2 years ago

From my upbringing gay means "happy" ; happily excited, merry, keenly alive and exuberant; having or inducing high spirits. Gay in society today has taken on a connotation of the word that bears absolutely NO resemblance to it's origin. I love all humanity, sexual orientation SHOULD have no bearing on how you choose to love, live and be a decent human being! and the world needs to wake up and accept the fundamental basics of any of the religions. I am a devout Atheist as from what I can see religions are the basis of all the wrongs in the world and I have not come across a religion yet that devoutly loves their fellow humans beings with all their faults and failures unconditionally; the closest I can see is Buddhism.

Kimberly Leonard 2 years ago

Kudos! Great article. As a mom, I always seem to get the questions from my kids about EVERYTHING daily in their lives. It is as simple as you make it. Yes, some people have two mommies or daddies. Isn't that awesome that two people love them as much as your dad and I love you? K.I.S.S. is my way with my young kids~Keep It Simple Stupid. (Stupid is to remind myself that sometimes we make it too complicated!)

Kimberly Leonard 2 years ago

Kudos! Great article. As a mom, I always seem to get the questions from my kids about EVERYTHING daily in their lives. It is as simple as you make it. Yes, some people have two mommies or daddies. Isn't that awesome that two people love them as much as your dad and I love you? K.I.S.S. is my way with my young kids~Keep It Simple Stupid. (Stupid is to remind myself that sometimes we make it too complicated!)

Maureen Dundon Paetz 2 years ago

Awesome article. I explain to my kids, when they ask, that theywill marry their soul mate and i don't stipulatewhat sex their spouse will be.

Ashwani Naidu 2 years ago

-to teach them acceptance in a broader sense – and to teach them the ultimate lesson: to be accepting of themselves''. Parents , people always forget to tell kids to chill out and be themselves and not being main stream is not a bad thing actually.

Kathy Crosta-Walsh 2 years ago

Wonderfully explained. When my kids were younger, 4, 5 or 6 I would say that some women love women, some men love men and some love the opposite sex. Some kids have 2 daddies or 2 mommies and it's okay to love anyone you choose. It's ALL normal.


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