Whether you have children within a same-sex relationship via donor insemination or from a previous heterosexual relationship, at some point you will need to come out to them.
Conversations about sex and sexuality can be difficult for some. Children learn not just what we tell them, but what we convey to them indirectly and unconsciously. If you feel positive about your sexuality, your child is much more likely to feel all right about it.
Our children are lucky in that they are growing up in a society where there is a wealth of sexual identities, cultures, lifestyles, types of families and values. By being out, you will teach them by example and by explanation to value diversity, to be empathetic with people who are oppressed and not to be afraid of difference.
Children conceived by donor insemination have lived with no other reality and they typically grow up accepting their family as the norm. The younger they are when they are told, the less likely they are to pick up conflicting messages from others. Tell them in a way that is appropriate for their age and level of understanding. Make your explanations simple and matter-of-fact.
Coming out is not just about telling them it’s OK to be gay. At some point you will also need to explain that they will come across people who are not accepting of your sexuality.
I can’t stress how valuable it is to introduce your children to other children with gay and lesbian parents. Seeing their kind of family replicated has a positive impact, and helps overcome any sense of isolation. The more your children are around peers with the same type of families, the more you will give them a model of normality and positive self-esteem.
By Nadine Sharpe, coordinator of Rainbow Babies and Kids.