Last night, I was guiding Miguel through his bedtime routine (read: using the parental cattle prod to get his ass in bed) and I was picking up a few of his treasures off of the floor (you know, a tiny blob of yellow yarn...an eraser...a small globe key chain*). He was wearing a key around his neck on a ribbon. He got this key when he visited the Aboretum earlier this week and we have been told that this special key unlocks the secret garden. Anyway, he asked if I was going to put his key away. I told him that I wouldn't put it away because it was special to him. Then, the following conversation took place... Miguel: What if I had something gay? Would you take that and put it away?
Me (neck still hurting from whipping around with tremendous speed): What?! What does that mean?
Miguel (playing with his key, unaware of the shocked mama eyes fixed upon him): You know, gay. Stupid.
Me (taking deep, cleansing breaths): Do you know what "gay" means? Did you know that "gay" actually refers to women who love other women and men who love other men? So, mãe and I are gay. We are two women who love each other.
Miguel: Well, I love you too so I'm gay.
Me: The fact that you love me doesn't make you gay. Again, being gay is about women loving women and men loving men.
Miguel: Then, I am gay with Augie (one of his best friends from way back).
Me: That may be true but the important thing to remember is that using the word "gay" to mean stupid is hurtful to people who are gay. Do you understand?
He said that he did. I'm not so sure. The fact that he then gleefully yelled, "Hey Zeca, you're gay" could be the confounding factor in my assessment. I thought Miguel had a basic understanding of gayness because of, you know, having GAY** parents and hanging out with so many GAY people and going to GAY pride and all. I knew the time would come when we would talk about this word, a word so easily thrown around playgrounds today, but I always thought he would be hurt by it, not use it so comfortably himself. I now know that I was wrong to assume so much. A few months ago, I wrote about the bubble bursting and I think it is beginning. Fucking YMCA day camp.
*A cute aside...as he was holding the globe keychain in the palm of his hand, he said, "Look mom, I am a god...I am holding the whole world in my hand". **I don't actually identify as "gay". I prefer "lesbian" or "queer". I always think of Gay Women as lesbians who play a lot of golf and go on cruises. Gay Women wear visors, I'm pretty sure of it. I own no visors. This is not intended to offend the Gay Women who may be reading this. You are all lovely. Of course, as a good friend of mine used to say, "Label jars not people".