The Bog of Lost Scholars

October 6, 2010

A Letter to My Nephews

Filed under: People, Culture, and Society — castiron @ 1:05 am

Dear nephews:

At the time I’m writing this letter, several years in advance of when I’d want you to read it, the news is full of stories of young gay men who killed themselves after being bullied for months or years. Given the percentage of men who are gay, while it’s most likely that all of you are straight, there’s a significant chance that at least one of you is gay.

It’s not a choice. You don’t have a choice about who you’re physically attracted to (if you’re straight, did you decide that you’d be attracted to girls?). You do have a choice about whether to act on that attraction, but the attraction itself? All hormones, pheremones, and the way your brain’s wired.

So, if you’re straight, and one day a friend (or your brother, or your cousin) tells you that he’s gay, which of these is an appropriate response?

  • a. You beat him up.
  • b. You tell all your friends, and the group of you make his life a misery.
  • c1. You say “Thanks for trusting me with that. It’s totally cool with me”, continue to be his friend, and stand up for him when someone else tries to harass him for being gay — there’s nothing wrong with him, and those jerks shouldn’t treat him like there is.
  • c2. You say “Wow, that must be tough for you, trying to live a Christian life and dealing with that. Hey, let’s pray for each other! It’s hard for me to stay chaste with all these cute girls around, so you can pray for me and I’ll pray for you”, continue to be his friend, and speak up when someone else tries to harass him for being gay — we’re all sinners, and God commanded us to love and help one another.

Hint: the answer starts with c. (Which version depends on whether you’re a non-observant Jew or a conservative Christian; if you’ve left the religious path of your parents, variations in the same spirit are acceptable.)

If you’re gay or bisexual, I love you as you are. You are part of my family, and if you need a safe place to live for a couple years, call me. I expect you to conduct your sex life ethically and safely — wait until you’re an adult for serious sex, treat your partner(s) well, use the damn condoms, and get tested for diseases regularly; beyond that, what you do is none of my business.

If you’re straight, I love you as you are. You are part of my family, and the offer of safe space stands if you need it for reasons unrelated to your orientation. I expect you to conduct your own sex life ethically and safely: wait until you’re an adult for serious sex, treat your partner(s) well, don’t have vaginal intercourse unless you’re willing to become a father and have a lifelong relationship with your partner, use the damn condoms, and get tested for diseases regularly; beyond that, what you do is none of my business.

You’re good kids. Make me proud.

Love,
your aunt

P.S.: Dear younger son: In case of my death or incapacitation before you’re of an age for me to tell you this, the above all applies to you too, and will also apply to your older brother if he’s ever of mental capacity to understand it.

P.P.S.: Dear nephews by marriage: Yep, you too.

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