By: Dani Langevin – April, 2014
When I was in third grade, just eight years old, I had a huge crush on Nicky (Nicole) Dalby. Nicky was this Alice in Wonderland look alike with blond hair, big blue eyes and dimples. I fell for her the first time she walked into Mrs. Brennan’s class after the school year was well underway.
Her family was from England. Her father had been transferred to the states. I made it a point to become her friend during recess so that I could be around her as much as possible. In third grade, once a month we’d watch some sort of a film. We’d pile two or three classes into one room, many of us sitting on the floor, and watch whatever was being shown. Nicky and I would sit next to each other very closely and she’d let me put my arm around her or hold her hand. I remember feeling butterflies in my stomach. I also remember thinking that if I told anyone how I felt when I was around Nicky, they might not be pleased. There were no descriptors for what I was feeling, no models and certainly no support, and somehow I knew this. It was the first time I knew I was different and the first time I knew I had to keep quiet about it. I kept quiet for the next painful twenty-one years as best I could.
Last month, on Facebook, someone posted a picture of an adorable, seven-year-old boy with dark brown eyes, and a blushing smile that gave way to dimples. The post said that this boy had told his parents he’s gay and that they are supporting him. His mother said that she would support and defend him against any adverse reactions. Of course, this post was followed by hundreds of comments in support of and brutally bashing the seven-year-old and his parents. Normally I don’t make comments on something that has everyone in the free world commenting on it, but I couldn’t resist. I simply said that I knew I was gay when I was eight and that, in relation to this little boy, I must have been a late bloomer.
This is what Beverly A. Stevens replied to my comment, “Too young!! To be thinking about sex! Shame, shame!”
Nothing in my post referred anything to thinking about sex. Nothing in the post about the boy made reference to sex. When I was eight and had a crush on Nicky Dalby, all I thought about was putting my arm around her or holding her hand. Sex never entered my mind; I was eight for God’s sake! I barely knew what sex was. I knew it was used to produce children, but I had no idea that people had sex for pleasure. I thought it was just a process of procreation and, that once adults were done with having children, they were done with having sex. I did not think as an adult thinks and I did not feel as an adult feels.
The little boy on the internet does not feel or think like an adult either, but he obviously has strong feelings for a boy or other boys and associates it with being gay. And what’s wrong with that? If he came home and said that he had a girlfriend and doesn’t that mean he’s heterosexual, no one would have batted an eye or thought he was thinking of having sex. They would have smiled with relief and affirmed his feelings just like these parents did. But switch attractions and labels and all of a sudden you have a seven year old thinking and feeling like an adult and ignorant homophobes making comments like Jamie English who took it to the extreme by saying, “Guess they’ll (his parents) buy him the lube and rubbers he needs . . . why is the seven year old even concerned with sex.” The answer is he’s not! And do parents of straight kids immediately run out and buy their children sexual paraphernalia when their young child brings up a crush on the opposite sex? Hopefully the answer is no.
As stated, children do not think and feel like adults and bringing adult thoughts and feelings into this is ridiculously ludicrous. However, having examples of different lifestyles that advocate healthy relationships between two consenting adults who truly care for one another is essential to raising a mentally and emotionally well adjusted child. Thank heaven there are parents out there who will support their child if they are questioning or proclaiming their sexual preference. Sexual meaning what sex they are attracted to NOT what type of sex they want to engage in. Thank the powers that be that there are people like Roberta Bergin who commented about the boy and people’s reactions to him, “This parent rocks. It’s about supporting your child and believing in him/her. With all the negative comments posted here no wonder the parent has to feel so fierce. There’s nothing wrong with being gay. Love is love.”
See, no mention of sex in her comment.