If you are unsure as a straight parent what you can do or what you should say on the topic to your child, this knowledge base will certainly help you.
The gay community doesn’t like being called a ’fag’, as it is pejorative. Among each other, in special circumstances, they sometimes use it to refer to each other, but usually, they don’t like it being used by others. They don’t like the word ’homosexual’ either, because it is an old, medical expression that comes from the time when same-sex attraction was perceived as some sort of a physical or mental illness. Using this word reminds them of these times.
These words shouldn’t sound alien, so teach them to your children. For example: Why is Uncle János and Gergő living together? Because they’re gay. Aunt Panka and Eszter are not close friends, they’re lesbians. You don’t have to overcomplicate it, make it simple and natural. If someone in front of your child is mocking someone by calling them ’gay’, ask them what they think gay means. If you handle the topic naturally, your child will handle it that way too.
Don’t trivialise the fact that your child may be surprised. “Wow, Andris has two fathers, how is that possible?” Children usually meet families with a mother and a father, so it’s completely natural if they get surprised, give them some time. Be honest, use the words ‘most’ and ‘some’, for example: “most families have a mum and a dad, but some families have two mums or two dads”.
Your child may think that having two mothers or two fathers is weird, or they think you’re kidding, but that only proves that you two need to talk about it. Don’t leave them in ignorance. Children appreciate honest. Explain to them that even though gay families are less frequent than the usual mother-father parent setup, they are still just as valuable. They are no better or no worse than a traditional family, only different.
It may seem strange, but some parents when they think of being gay and children, they believe that they have to hold a sexual education class to young children. It is absolutely not the case, teaching sensitivity is not the same as sexual education. You only have to answer the questions your child asks, let the rest be done by specialists at school. If your child asks why Andris has two dads, tell them because their dads love each other.
Don’t be afraid to use the word ‘love’, because that’s exactly the case. Don’t say things like “as a boy, he’s attracted to boys”, or “some boys like other boys”. Everyone likes someone, even your children. A young boy might think that if he likes his friends, he may be gay too. Rather compare a gay relationship to your marriage: “You know, how much your mum and I love each other. His mums or dads love each other just as much.”
The issue of gay parents is a diverse topic, you can talk a lot to your child about it, but they most probably won’t want to think about their own sexuality after that. Don’t say things like “maybe one day you’ll be together with a man, son”, because that may even confuse them. Your child will have plenty of time to figure out their own feelings. The most important thing for them to feel loved by you, whatever happens.
Very important, you should only talk about this if your child specifically asks about it. If they wonder about who their partner will be, you can tell them that it’s probably a person from the opposite sex, and you’ll accept whoever they choose.
Even though they don’t necessarily know exactly how babies are made, they are aware of the fact pretty soon that only women can be pregnant and they have babies. If a child knows that, they can wonder how someone can have two fathers. Don’t try to go into unnecessary details, have honest communication. You can say that a child raised by gay parents has a mother too who gave them life, but their fathers are the ones who love them and raise them.
Your children will sooner or later come across rainbow families, even if it’s just in a movie. It’s important for you not to get embarrassed when they ask about the topic. Don’t change the subject, don’t tell them they’re too young to understand, and don’t ever lie to them, since by this you tell them that there’s something wrong with rainbow families. This is true for all other family models – tell them that the other family is just a bit different than yours, and how great it is that we’re not all similar.