I was twelve when my mother sat me down one Saturday afternoon and pulled out a couple pamphlets on female reproduction, ones that I’m so sure she got from the local drug store. The next two hours would be awkward for both of us. I had questions about everything from “Do boys have hair down there?” to “Exactly how many holes do I have?” But when it was over, I’d completed the important rights of passage into young womanhood.
It wasn’t until I was fourteen that I realized my crazy cousin Melvo’s “good friend” Josh didn’t sleep in a different bed at night, but no one ever talked to me about that. Homosexuality was just something I had to figure out on my own, and in the beginning, I got a lot of things wrong.
I remembered this while speaking with a close friend shortly after Frank Oceans big “announcement.” I asked how he’d explain homosexuality to his son. My friend–one of the most intelligent people I know–admitted he really hadn’t thought about it and, quite frankly, didn’t think it was necessary.
Times have changed since I learned the birds and the bees. “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” has been repealed, openly gay characters anchor television shows and gay marriage is slowly becoming legal in many parts of the country. Homosexuality is losing its taboo and becoming an accepted presence in society, so are we doing our children a disservice by not explaining it to them as we would heterosexuality?