So, Ten, being as she is now in the fourth grade, is beginning to experience her peers using the term "gay" in a derogatory way.
We had casually warned her about this.
And, from what we have read, we expected that one of her (their -- she and Big's) biggest issues-being children of gay or lesbian parents-will be their concern for us and wanting to protect us.
I didn't hear about it from her, but from a friend whose daughter is in Ten's class and who was on the receiving end of the slander, for no reason whatsoever, presumably.
They seem to be testing the word in a rather general way, although, of course, the only kid in the class that you could even slightly forecast homosexuality in his future, has become a clear target.
My heart aches for the kid.
I guess I thought that things would be different in a post-Ellen pre-pubescent world.
Not so much.
In any case, Ten was telling us a bit about it. Again, it sounds like, for the most part, the kids really don't know what they're saying; not even using the term in a consistently derogatory way, one kid even said that he was, himself, 'gay' to Ten.
After school one day Ten was telling me how she has been reacting, by informing kids in what sounds like a too-informed, too-mature way that the term they are using is "offensive" and hurtful and that they shouldn't use it.
The little mice in their head take a couple of spins around until they say "Oh... Your PARENTS are gay. . . . " or something like that.
My heart aches again.
For a couple of reasons.
First, I don't wish on her early maturity.
I had that and it was over-rated.
Second, I certainly don't wish on her to be the poster-child of some pro-gay agenda at her little Catholic school. You know how you sort of hope that your kid can sort of slide through middle school before shining in high school? Sort of get through the awkward years and early puberty without too much scarring?
So we had a little talk, she and BioMom and I. Urging her to really let some of her peers' pathetic attempts at trying out their new language roll off her back. To choose the most important battles -- like the one where the kid who we think might be gay gets teased.
Why do you think he might be gay? Asks she.
I let her in on the secret of our little club. How we know each other from across the room. How, at a restaurant or a coffee shop, I might say 'hi' to someone who seems like a stranger, and really, who is someone that we do not know, but who I know has had some of the same stuff happen to her as has happened to me. How can I tell? I dunno, I said. And we certainly could be wrong, but more often than not, we are right and it is sometimes a look, sometimes a way of dress, sometimes, a way of movement, but more often than not just a simple, inexplicable feeling of recognition.