My 7-year-old daughter is already discussing gay marriage rights on her bus ride to school. She’s surrounded by elementary-school-aged kids telling her that men shouldn’t marry men and women shouldn’t marry women. She responded that if two people love each other, why shouldn’t they marry?
When my daughter first said that this was the topic of conversation on the bus, I quickly realized that the days of discussing which Troll was her favorite were behind us. My daughter is growing up and is capable of having powerful discussions about human rights.
We talk openly in our house about discrimination, vulnerable people, and the importance of standing up for what is right. We explore the complexities of relationships in age-appropriate conversations. Fortunately, the idea of love prevailing is quite simple and G-rated. Even my 3-year-old can grasp the concept: Love is love.
Beyond the sanctity of our home, battles are fought. In Texas, we’re inundated with legal and political wars targeting the LGBTQ community. In June, new life was breathed into Texas’s “bathroom bill” (which was essentially a dead bill). Governor Greg Abbott announced his order for a special session to bring a new version of the bill to legislators in mid-July. The New York Times reports, “It would effectively ban local regulation of discrimination.” An already vulnerable and tormented group of individuals would lose their tenuous protection against discrimination.
As if targeting transgender people for their bathroom choices wasn’t enough, now same-sex foster parent applicants are being discriminated against. The passing of House Bill 3859 blatantly discriminates against LGBTQ couples (amongst others). If the adoption agency has a religious objection to the applicants, they can deny their application to foster children in need.
It appears there is no end to the amount of hatred and vitriol toward the LGBTQ community. The legislature certainly doesn’t seem to reflect human rights. But there is hope. The ACLU reports that 2/3 of Texans would support a law protecting gay, lesbian and transgender Texans from discrimination. There is hope in the people. My daughter, for one, is leading a conversation about inclusion, tolerance, and love. She isn’t responding with hate at her classmates’ ignorant statements. She’s starting a discussion. I encourage her to listen intently to her classmates and to hear their side of the argument. I know that when her responses are founded in love, and rooted in kindness, she will always win.
June is LGBTQ Pride Month. It’s a month filled with celebrations worldwide to honor Manhattan’s Stonewall riots of 1969. As crowds of members and supporters of the LGBTQ communities gather, let’s remember the individual children whose voices can carry a message of hope, compassion, and tolerance. The rights of friends, family members, neighbors, and teachers are in the hands of our children.