Homophobia: My 6 Year Old Was Called Gay

I know the fight for inclusion all too well. My life is devoted to the fight for inclusion. I must be my son’s voice and ensure there is inclusion in the school system for him because he has autism, and ADHD, and school must be inclusive for children of all abilities.

But that isn’t what I’m talking about today. Today I am talking about homophobia, and the fight for inclusion for the LGBT community.

My Six Year Old Was Called Gay

Let that sink in. He is six. He went on a weekend trip with an unnamed family member to visit an amusement park. The night before he excitedly asked me to paint his fingernails blue, to match his bathing suit. I often paint his nails as a reward after an exceptional outing or a good school day, but this was the first time we used the new blue nail polish. He sat at the table admiring his hands. He said over and over how everyone would think they were so pretty.

The next morning the family member arrived to pick him up. He walked in and the first thing he said was “Why are your nails blue?” and my son stared at him. I said “To match his bathing suit of course.” The response given to my little boy was “You can’t wear that everyone will think you are gay. You’ll get made fun of, only girls paint their nails”

He almost didn’t want to go on the trip anymore. He buried his face in the couch, something he often does when he’s beginning to feel dysregulated. I grew anxious that a meltdown would come. I reassured him that his nails were awesome and that anyone could wear nail polish. I was attempting to be diplomatic and avoid confrontation in front of him which would only aggravate the situation.

And Then He Was Called an Embarrassment

Moving ahead to when he returned home last night. He came in the door late and ran to hug me. I snuggled up on the couch and noticed he had no nail polish on at all. I said “Where’s your nail polish?” and my son told me “I had to take it off or I wasn’t allowed to go”. I looked over to his relative who was standing at the top of my stairs, peering into my living room. I said “You made him remove his nail polish? Why?” and his answer was “Because it’s an embarrassment to be seen with him like that.” That, folks, is homophobia at its finest.

He is SIX. He just wanted pretty colours on his nails. Does it mean he is gay ? I don’t know, nor do I care because he is my son and I love him and sexual orientation has no affect on my opinion of any human let alone my own child.

I am appalled at how he was treated and made fun of, and now I am trying to repair the damage. I offered to repaint his nails last night and he was hesitant at first, worried he would be in trouble for having them done. But then he picked some colours and I painted them pink and blue.

How can anyone get to a point where their homophobia has them embarrassed to be seen in public with a child?

Compliments Came Flooding In

I posted his nails on Facebook last night, and all my friends commented enthusiastically telling me to let him know his nails are great. After what happened I wanted him to see that not everyone (I hope most) is like that. Today at his pediatrician appointment a child in the waiting room complimented his nails, and then his doctor also said she loved them

Stand Up Against Homophobia

I hope he sees there is more love than there is hate.

But I am still here thinking to myself why should my little boy ever need to feel as though who he is isn’t good enough for someone, especially family. He should be feeling that he will be accepted and loved for who he is no matter what, whatever that may be.

We will never be able to stop fighting for inclusion. Not for children and adults with special needs. Not for the LGTB community. Not for refugees. Not for racial minorities. Not for women. But we need to fight. I will not stand down in the face of prejudice or hate. Because my kids deserve to grow up in a world where they don’t need to hide who they truly are.

5 thoughts on “Homophobia: My 6 Year Old Was Called Gay

  1. I just read this and got super angry the moment your relative came in the door. WTF is wrong with people. Again, he’s SIX. Not to mention, even if he was 15, 25, or 35. I still know plenty of guys that paint their nails. And guess what?!?! They aren’t gay. People need to figure their own crap out and stop hating on others for the most ridiculous of reasons.

    Honestly, if this was my relative and they did this to my son, I’d be raising hell with them. And they likely would never been seeing my child or at least chaperoning them again.

    Sorry you and your son had to go through that. Not all people are as hateful as that guy.

    1. Thank you for the reply and for sharing my rage, lol. I can’t even explain how angry I was at the time . Nail polish is nail polish it means nothing and doesnt affect anyone. And even if he was gay ..who cares?!

  2. I know this isn’t much comfort, but try to keep in mind that it’s not about your son. These people are uncomfortable because of their ignorance, insecurity, or some other sad reason. I’m gay and don’t paint my nails. But I have a friend who is straight who does! I’m so glad you’re teaching your son to be whoever he wants to be. I choose to believe that your son is our future and people like your relative are the past! You just keep raising your awesome son and paint some cool nails on him for me! 🙂

  3. I’m so sorry that this has happened to you and your done. I paint mine n my daughters toes and my 3 year old sits and watches every time. Recently he asked me to color his as well. I was very hesitant, his father is very much like your family member not to the extent of calling our son gay but not to far off either. I explained to my son that the “bright colors” were for me n his sissy n that the light colors were ok for his toes. When I asked him to choose a color he choose clear…because he said it was cute n shiny. Never feel alone, children are children it’s the world that makes everyone grow up to be ugly and use ugly words against the innocent.

  4. Your relatives need a talking to, although you may never get through his prejudices and bigotry. He was an “embarrassment” for being a child and having fun, I wouldn’t let that neandethal near my child again.

    Sorry Terri. Bright colours are for anyone, not just you and his sister.

    Guess I must not fit the gay stereotype, I never wear nail polish, maybe a bit of blush and mascara but nothing over the top. LOL

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