Immediately following the Orlando nightclub shooting, my children were exposed to terms that they were unfamiliar with, such as LGBTQ, gay, lesbian, & homosexual.While we’ve never hidden those terms from them, we’ve never had to have an in depth talk about sexuality before. With the news coverage saturating every media outlet (and rightly so), it was inevitable that the inquiry vault would be unlocked and the questions would come pouring out. Being that all of my little ones were under ten years old, the appropriateness of our conversation was very important to me. We are secular homeschoolers and try to keep our lessons as fact based as possible, but I also don’t mind throwing in some fables to keep the mood light and innocent. In this case, I derived a lesson loosely based on Plato’s Symposium: The Speech of Aristophanes.
“Mom, what’s a gay nightclub?”
“It’s a place where grown-ups go to dance and listen to music and meet other grown-ups.”
“No, I mean what does gay mean?”
All eyes on me, I thought. Don’t screw this up.
“Well, to answer that, I’d like to tell you a story. Is that okay?” The kids nodded. “Long, long ago in the time of Zeus, a different kind of people existed. There were three types of people, in fact, one born from the sun, one born from the earth, and one born from the moon. These people did not look like you and I, they were round like the sun, the moon, and the earth. Some looked like half men and half women, some looked like two women, and some looked like two men. They had two faces, and four arms, and four legs each, and when they wanted to go somewhere they would stretch out their limbs and roll like a cartwheel! They all lived very happily on earth. But one day, some of the moon people had a terrible idea… they thought that Zeus and the gods had too much power, so they decided they were going to try to conquer them! They were quite mischievous, those moon people. So they made a plan to go sneak up to the heavens and take over. Well, Zeus caught them and he was furious! After days of anger, he and the other gods settled on a punishment…they decided to split every person in two, clean down the middle! And just like that, each person had only one head, two arms, and two legs. And worse, they had to walk upright! ‘That’ll teach those humans to try to overthrow me!’ Zeus said. And so, one by one, after being split apart, Zeus placed each single person at different ends of the earth. The gods were very happy with this decision. Their place in the heavens was secure and now they had double the worshipers. As for the people, well, the people spent their whole lives searching for their other halves. And when they found their other half they called it ‘Love‘. As the story goes, ‘Love is born into every human being; it calls back the halves of our original nature together; it tries to make one out of two and heal the wound of human nature.’ Now knowing that story and how we came to be a single being made as half from a whole, I’d like to answer your question: the term ‘gay’ is used when a man’s other half is a man and the term ‘lesbian’ is used when a woman’s other half is a woman. Any other questions?”
“Yeah, what’s it called when a man’s other half is a woman?”
“Hmm. Okay. Can we go to the playground?”