In our community, it is totally trendy for kids to say they are bisexual, gay or even more “exotic”.
Hi Amy! In the last 3 months, my 12-year-old girl has told me she identifies as bisexual. I’m cool with that. Nothing changes. I’ve always tried to use neutral language around who my kids are attracted to and I’m open to learning more about her.
Here are my concerns:
When did it become anyone’s business besides hers and her family’s and close friends??? She’s telling everyone at school. Peers are asking everyone at the cafeteria table. Sometimes she defiantly just tells someone randomly.
Maybe I’m not caught up to our culture? In my day, we didn’t talk money, sexual orientation, or religion. And back then we assumed everyone was “normal”. That wasn’t a good thing. But is this better?
To label everyone and have it be a topic with acquaintances, not even close friends? In our community, she’s fairly safe because it’s a liberal environment. But I worry about the bigger world and the implications of telling random people.
On the other hand, I don’t her to feel she has to hide. Uggh. This is hard!
I wonder how much of it is peer related (her homeschool/Girl Scouts community seems to be ALL gay girls and statistically I know that’s not right), how much of it is that 12- year-old boys are icky, smelly humans?
How much of it is trendy? In our community, it is totally trendy to say you’re gay or even more “exotic”. I know we’re all on a spectrum of sexuality and I know teen years are a time of great experimentation and I’m okay as she evolves.
How do I support her while asking questions and providing guidance???
Because so many of her close friends are identifying as gay, sleepovers are now a thing of the past. I want her to have friend time, but I wouldn’t invite a boy to spend the night if she were straight, so it seems logical to not have girls over if you’re bi or gay.
Concerned Parents of Baby-Bi Girl
We have been sold a total load of crap when it comes to female sexuality
Howdy Concerned Parents of Baby-Bi Girl!
Welcome to the modern world of sexuality! I know it seems like A LOT especially considering the before-times we were raised in when everyone was straight and in the right bod for their gender. And no one talked about sexuality or sexual orientation in their out-loud voices.
The good news is that times have changed and girls (and boys) can really work out who they are when it comes to their sexual attraction. The bad news is that it makes most adults uncomfortable and fearful because:
- We don’t quite get it.
- It seems so risky and premature to be making these sorts of announcements.
- WTF? Isn’t sexuality something that’s private and personal?
Here’s my take on this and your girl.
She’s getting a TON of attention for it and has found a way to really be “seen” by her peers and you and everyone around her. It feels good to be noticed! Kids often don’t care if the attention they are getting is negative – they just want attention.
Being Bi-Sexual May Be a Bid to Fit Into Her Peer Group
I think there are other ways to help her do this that don’t feel so world-rocking to you, and are more socially appropriate. She really needs to understand that announcing “I’m Bi-sexual!” to a random person in a store kinda brands her as an out of control weirdo. I’m not saying being a 12 year old bisexual is what makes her weird, it’s the telling everyone and their cousin that’s the problem.
I love that girls are able to “try on” different sexualities now. I think this will be a great thing for many of them; confusing for some; and a non-starter for others. We have been sold a total load of crap when it comes to female sexuality and the reality is women (and girls) are turned on by just about everything and everyone. We really are very into sex, it’s just been socialized out of us.
You MUST read the book What Do Women Want by Daniel Bergner. It is an amazing and eye opening look at female sexuality.
Is she (and every other girl out there) “really” bi or lesbian? Maybe. Maybe not. Time and experience will help them figure it out. But being allowed to explore this is a good thing in the long run. She will figure it out and settle into her sexual likes and dislikes with more confidence and clarity than most of us ever did.
In the meantime, keep talking to your girl. Ask her questions about the people she has crushes on, find out what she likes about them. Don’t get hooked into her “show.”
And for Christ’s sake, let her have sleepovers. Just because she says she’s bi, doesn’t mean there is any action actually happening. Let them know that any sexual stuff is off limits and that you will be checking in to make sure they are following the rules. My boy stays overnight with his platonic gal-friends all the time.
I am very impressed with your openness and clear headedness about all of this. Many parents would be a total mess and losing their shit if this were their child.
You’ve got this!
Gotta question? HelpMe@BirdsAndBeesAndKids.com
Time To Have The Sex Talk?
I’ll share with you proven secrets on how to rock The Talk with your kids.
No shame. No embarrassment. No awkwardness. Just you, your kid, and a conversation.