So my daughter had a visit with a district nurse this week. It’s something all Dutch kids in her grade have: a chance to make sure health problems are being caught early, and that all kids have some basic information about nutrition, health, puberty, drugs, alcohol, and sex before adolescence kicks in.
They gave her a pamphlet labeled, “What you should know about puberty as a girl”. It has pages titled:
I am floored by this book. Let me translate the page about being gay:
In love with a girl?
Boy or girl?
Not all girls like boys. They can just as easily like girls. It can also happen that they sometimes like a boy and sometimes a girl.
Homo or bi
Girls who like girls are called lesbisch‡. Boys who like boys are called homo. It can also happen that sometimes you like a boy and sometimes a girl. That’s called biseksueel.
Sophie (11): My neighbors* are gay. They have a daughter. Nice, huh?
Laura (10): My mother says that it doesn’t matter if you fall in love with a girl or a boy. Only if you’re happy.
Am I lesbian?
Most kids figure out during puberty if they’re attracted to girls or boys. Some kids know very young if they’re attracted to girls, others not. So it’s just fine if you’re not clear on that yet. Take the time to figure it out! Are you uncertain whether you’re lesbian? That’s perfectly natural. Often, you’ll know after puberty what you are exactly. In any case, try to enjoy it if you fall in love, whether it’s with a girl or a boy.
Nothing wrong with it
Homosexuality is just as normal as heterosexuality. It’s just that there are many fewer gay people than straight ones. Some people may react† if you say that you’re lesbian. Maybe you’re afraid that others will bully you about it or not accept you? Take the time to understand your feelings, and choose a time to tell others when you’re ready. Remember that there’s nothing wrong with liking girls.
‡ all these terms are adjectives
* buurmannen, a word that specifically means “male neighbors” rather than the gender-neutral buren
† alas, I gather from my ground-level reports that this is not quite as rare a thing as the pamphlet says
Continued from Open thread 191