The boy’s mother, Lori Duron, writes the popular LGBT+ parenting blog “Raising My Rainbow” (Pexels)
A mother has shared her heartache at seeing her 11-year-old son be ditched by his best friend for being gay.
Lori Duron is the author of the popular LGBT+ parenting blog, Raising My Rainbow. Writing for Huffpost, she explained how her young son, C.J., was cut off by his friend Allie because of his sexual orientation.
Duron describes C.J. as “a gender-creative boy who likes ‘girl things.’” His passions include Barbie, Monster High, LEGO Friends, American Girl dolls and women’s hair and shoes.
She said: “He’s not yet a romantic or sexual being; he’s an 11-year old boy with lots of time to figure out who he is attracted to while having our unconditional love and support.
“When he does talk about it, sometimes he says he’s gay. Sometimes he says he’s half gay and half bisexual. Sometimes he says, ‘I’m just me!’”
The two children had been the best of friends for nine years, with Allie’s family being “at least somewhat OK” with C.J.’s gender creativity. But it seems their tolerance did not extend to him being gay.
One day, C.J. came home from school with the devastating news: “She said her family doesn’t hang out with gay people, so she can’t hang out with me.
“She says I’m the only gay person she knows, and she doesn’t want to know me. She says that all of our friends will be her friends now because she is more popular than I am.”
His mother described how “tears dripped out from between his little fingers” as “homophobia turned my son into devastation personified.”
It prompted a raft of unanswerable questions: “Are Allie’s parents homophobic? Do they hate gay people? Do they hate me? Who will I sit with at lunch? Who will I play with at recess?”
And the most tragic of all: “Why do people hate people for something they can’t change?”
Duron’s gut reaction was to lash out in defence of her child, but she knew there was little she could do to take the pain away – and worse still, she knew it wouldn’t be his last experience of homophobia.
No child is born homophobic, and C.J.’s sexuality had never been a problem before this point.
It’s not clear what the tipping point was, but Duron suspects it was prompted by Allie’s parents discovering her reading Duron’s blog.
Shortly afterwards Allie attended C.J.’s birthday where there were gay people among the guests. C.J. also casually mentioned he was looking forward to Pride.
“Either Allie decided she was too uncomfortable with C.J.’s non-heteronormative identity to be friends with him, or her parents made the decision for her, because the next day their friendship was over ― but C.J.’s physical and emotional pain had just begun,” Duron said.
“He climbed onto my lap like a small child. I held him and rocked him while thinking, ‘This is what hate does. This is what the effects of bigotry look like. A mother rocking her fifth-grader because neither one knows what to do to ease the pain.’”
That night, C.J. cried himself to sleep in his mother’s arms. Seeing her son inconsolable, shivering and catching his breath between sobs, she wished Allie and her parents could witness his pain too.
“Would it prompt them to reconsider their phobias? Would they change their minds? Would they see that my tender-souled boy is a great person to have in their lives?
“Would they see that I’m teaching my child to love while they’re teaching their child to hate?”