Thank you for this, it was really insightful for me, it really opened my mind on so many things that i've questioned or thought about.
I am Zimbabwe and like many many African countries homosexuality or anything that isn't the norm is illegal. The first time I ever even heard or understood what homosexuality was when I was 18, I was at a BBQ (we call it a Braai) and party, when my cousin and I saw these 2 super cute guys we had never met before (this was quite massive as the community was really small and everyone knows everyone), so my cousin was just getting up to go talk to them when they started kissing, my jaw must of been on the floor, I was very naive and didnt even understand what was going on my whole life up til that point it was always men and women you got married and had kids (my mom is very christian and my dad was back then ). I questioned this moment a lot with different people and the horror and disgust was confusing for me because I thought it was hot and with that confusion came the internal battle of what was wrong with me that seeing 2 guys kissing was not disgusting at all, after that initial shock it was beautiful in my mind it was different and unique to me because it change me I veiwed people in a different way, mind you growing up in a very closed minded community where you didnt get a choice you had to go to church, where having different views and thoughts is forbidden and racism etc is the norm, I have had to train myself not to say words that aren't fair or right even if saying them in anger.
Not long after my first experience with these guys, I moved to Cape Town,South Africa, I was so not prepared for it. The first day I arrived and I was waiting in the car and this trans man (i'm not completely sure he was trans and at what point you are homosexual or trans sorry if i'm offending anyone with bad terminology not my intentional, well she was about 6'2 and was dressed in a tiny mini skirt and top) knocked on the car window asking for 50cents and I was just in shock, I didnt know how to respond and just froze, he got offended and swore at me, I felt awful after that. I hadnt wanted to offend her I was just so in awe of her bravery. Once I started waitressing it changed my world and I met some amazing people and my new stomping grounds were the gay bars. I had a lot of protectors and friends who just blew my mind. In all that time I was still to scared to ask questions and I dont like asking questions I always worry I will ask it wrong and hurt someone, I used to play wow and joined a LGBQT+ guild I didnt realise that at the time, I just loved the kinky guild name Felbound Chains, and I made the comment that I liked that they were kinky and immediately I was told off that they werent kinky (they were a transgender couple), thankfully his Daddy Dom corrected his understanding of what I had said.
Even in South Africa there is a quiet divide of sorts because there is a big religious side not just in terms of Christianity but also in tribal terms where homosexuality is very much taboo so again I was in a place of confusion, and then moving over to the UK 12 years ago I experienced ever more shocks and amazement that made me realise that there wasnt anything wrong with me at all and that I wasn't some perverted person because I see people been true to themselves and who they are and want to be as beautiful, hopefully oneday I will be as brave enough to allow myself to as true to myself. Even now my families ignorance blows me away a direct quote from my mom 'have you noticed that since there are more gays that there are more tsunami's.' I have never been more angry in my life, and boy did I flip out at her completely!
In saying all that I would love some thoughts or advice, I am a single parent (thats a whole other story!) and my son whose 3 and the light of life and a super smarty cookie, keeps saying he doesnt want to go to any girls parties only boys and I hate that he sees things in this way and would love for any help or advice how to talk to him about LGBQT and really encourage him to realise that boys and girls are just as cool. I have never conciously meant to make him feel that its just boys and girls and these are boys things or girls toys, I encourage him to buy my little ponies and disney princesses if he wants ( he's super hero mad and minions at the moment, but he's already into minecrafting). I am not a christian but I do encourage my son to go to church if he wants, because I dont want to hide him from religions but to experience them so I can give him the tools to be open minded and challenge those beliefs. Man parenting is tricky!