As the summer of 2014 comes to an end, I remember how different things were both inside and outside of my home only a few short years ago. In 2008, when my older daughter Nicole was in middle school, I started to wonder if she might be gay. Did she just love that English teacher and her sense of style, or did she really have a crush on her? Did she like that boy she was dating, or was she just trying to figure it all out? With the small suspicion in the back of my mind that she might be gay, I think I started to raise my younger daughter, Chelsea, just a bit differently.
At the time, Chelsea was only 10 years old. Because of my inkling about my older daughter, I often found myself talking about marriage equality at the dinner table, especially when it was in the news. I would talk about some of my high school and college friends who were gay and an old hairdresser who was gay and how much I loved him. I just made a point to talk about anyone in the gay community, so much that it became a part of everyday conversation. I asked my girls, “Do you guys know who Anderson Cooper is? I have a crush on him, but there is only one problem. He is gay, so I am out of the running!”We all laughed. I wanted them both to know that being gay was okay not only with me, but that it should also be okay with everyone else. I wanted them to know it was a possibility, and that it was normal.
As time passed, I started to realize that Nicole did indeed have a crush on her teacher. Next thing I knew, she broke up with that boy who was crazy about her. Soon after, Nicole and I started to watch Glee, a brand new musical comedy/drama about kids in high school. At the time, Chelsea was only 11, and I wasn’t quite ready for her to watch a show with such mature story lines, but after one season passed, I started to think about Glee’s depiction of gay teenagers in high school. It was so relevant to what was going on that I had to have her watch. The following year, Nicole and I started to watch Pretty Little Liars. It was a little creepy, so at first I didn’t let Chelsea watch it either. But when I saw the portrayal of two beautiful young high school women in a relationship, I decided to let Chelsea start watching.
The more we watched these two shows and discussed the stories, the more natural and normal it all became for them both. When Nicole finally felt comfortable telling her sister she was gay, she was like, “Oh I get it! Just like Paige and Emily or just like Santana and Brittany.”I was so proud that she was so accepting. But looking back on it, I realize I had a hand in it as well.
Since then, many states have passed gay marriage, and there are numerous TV shows portraying teens in the LGBTQ community. Looking back, I am so happy that I made the decision to expose Chelsea to as much of it as I did and talk about it openly. She is so supportive of her sister and makes her feel so loved and so special, just as she should.
Lisa is a mother, wife, music therapist, and part-time teacher. She currently teaches music and cooking to children at various preschools and libraries. She also teaches piano to children where she focuses on the love of music and sharing it with others. In her spare time, she loves to travel, scrapbook, and make music with her two teenage daughters.
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