Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Raising a Straight Boy

Now before all of you jump down my throat, I am well aware that I’m assuming my 7-year-old kid is heterosexual. If I’m wrong, I will naturally be the most supportive parent possible. (Picture me making rainbow cookies for PFLAG meetings.)

That being said, I’m 99.9 percent sure that my son is going to be straight. And perhaps you might say I’m confusing masculinity with heterosexuality, but I’m quite sure I’m not. He has all the makings of a bro, but under my watch he’s going to be an empathetic and feministic dude by the time he’s an adult.

“Rat-a-ta-ta-ta-tat-tat!!!” he screams from his playroom. It sounds as though there is a full-scale epic battle occurring amidst plastic toy pandemonium.

He prepares countless numbers of green army men positioned for a “Game of Thrones’”-style war that could erupt at any moment.

I generally don’t let him have many toy guns, but he has adapted and now considers any object to be a gun. He can take his “Finding Nemo” plush toy and imagine it into an AR-15 that takes out the entire cast of “Toy Story.”

When he sees local military men in uniform, he admires and gushes about them being strong soldiers. “NOPE” is what goes through my head.

Think again.

I will NOT support a hyper-masculine ego as I don’t believe in it. I believe in a fine balance to understand a true appreciation of all possible genders. If he wants to enlist in the military, he’s going to have to get past me first. Call me an asshole parent, but my kid isn’t going to war.

I WILL however, support every single passion he has that I consider healthy. I consider almost everything healthy except the obvious red flags.

Looking back on my own childhood, I was a completely different kind of kid than he is. I actually hung out with a group of girls, and we had started a business making crafts in the fourth grade. We hosted craft fairs at my school to raise money for the homeless.

If that doesn’t give you an idea of the level of gayness I was operating on, how about the fact that when I prayed during Catholic mass, I would ask God to give me witchcraft. Yes, real witchcraft, à la Samantha from “Bewitched.”

I was 9.

Meanwhile, my son is scared to death of girls and when I mention them to him, he winces. It’s classic. It’s hilarious to tease him and watch him squirm at just the thought of a girl. He has a beautiful second-grade teacher who he “loves” (he tells me every day) and is totally crushing on.

I watch the way he interacts with his little bro friends, and truthfully it makes me cringe. In my head, I imagine that his type would have made fun of my type back when I was a child.

Thankfully, I have raised him to respect everyone for their differences, and even remind him of his own differences to keep him in check. His friend group is very diverse and I don’t sense an ounce of a mean streak in him.

I have always said, as a half-joke, that his future wife will thank the hell out of me. He knows all about women’s rights (he can’t believe women don’t receive equal pay), and is excited to have our first female president (yes I said it). I just want to imbue all of the right things in him to balance out his God-given masculinity.

We have found our common ground in things such as video games, action movies, and excellent communication. He talks my head off, about every topic imaginable, so I consider him to be an excellent conversationalist.

At the end of the day, I’m happy to watch him be the best him he can be. He knows he is supported and is never pushed to be one thing or another. He may dream about trucks and guns, but because of me he knows that real life is sooooo much bigger than that.

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