It happened one day in the car, when I was driving home with my eldest daughter. She was silent for a while, ruminating on something in the backseat, when suddenly she piped up:
"Dad, kids at school are saying you're gay."
That afternoon the word "gay" had come up in a conversation, and it must have made some sort of connection in her head. I have to admit that the statement left me somewhat disoriented.
"Who told you that?"
"A girl from my grade. But I told her that you're not gay; it's just that you married a boy."
"But do you know what it means to be gay?"
I took advantage of her silence to explain that being gay means precisely that: a boy marrying a boy. I was about to launch into a drag about sexual diversity when she again surprised me with her response:
"People are saying that you're even more gay, because before, you were married to a girl, and then you married a boy. But Dad, you're not gay."
That insistence on refusing to apply the word "gay" to her father told me everything: Someone was bullying her about my sexual orientation.
She's already 8 years old, and I have occasionally tried to explain the concept of homophobia to her -- with little success, from what I can tell. One time I showed her the map of LGTB rights around the world, and she was surprised when I said that in some countries, not only was it illegal for two boys to marry, but they could be put in jail just for going out together. She almost didn't believe what I was telling her:
"How is that possible? But what does it matter to them if two boys go out?"
Looking back, I feel like the guy who tries to explain sex to his kid using the birds and the bees. Nonetheless, my pedagogical failure hides a small societal success: It was really hard for me to explain to my daughter what homophobia is, because she has never seen it; I was trying to explain to her something that she just isn't familiar with. When marriage equality was passed in Spain, she was just learning to speak. Since she reached the age of reason, her father has had a husband, and that's never been a problem. The level of normalization of the two-dad family that we're seeing today was unthinkable eight years ago.
Months have passed since that day in the car, and it's now become just an anecdote. It seems like she has not in fact had to suffer. I fear, though, that she's just been lucky, that not all kids so easily rid themselves of such homophobic harassment. A while back her school offered a course aimed at aiding clumsy parents like me, those who tend to explain things with birds-and-bees-type metaphors. It also served to help classmates understand that the sexual orientation of one's father is not the basis for an insult. It was called "Education for the Citizenry," but they dropped it.
Translated from the original Spanish.
"A Day in a Queer Life" is an ongoing blog series that documents the unique struggles, joys, triumphs, setbacks, hopes and desires of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people living in one of the six countries currently featuring a HuffPost site (Canada, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States). Each week a different blogger from one of these countries shares his or her personal story and perspective on what life is like wherever he or she resides. Want to share your own story? Write us at email@example.com to find out how you can take part in "A Day in a Queer Life."Read previous entries in "A Day in a Queer Life":
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