Well…it seems a few of Julian’s missed assignments were caused by some emotional turmoil on my poor son’s part. After much lecturing and talking and discussing – yes, I let him talk, too – Julian spilled the beans. A fellow male dancer who is not shy about admitting he is gay told Julian he thought all people were at least a little bisexual and that Julian was, in fact, bisexual. Julian, who has liked girls since he was old enough to do so and has never questioned his sexuality before, suddently began to have doubts even though he’s never had any romantic or sexual feelings for the same sex in his life. This sent him into an emotional tailspin last week egged on by texts and FaceBook notes from this other young dancer.
I’d like to thank this young man…Really. (I’m being sarcastic. I needed this like a hole in the head…as did Julian.) I suppose, however, that every male dancer at some point wonders about his sexuality, and maybe it’s just Julian’s time thanks to some instigation on this other boy’s part. We could have waited a bit longer, though.
Julian and I talked long and hard and, given that he hasn’t had any inclination towards homosexuality or bisexuality, we’ve taken this tact: Focus on the facts – you like girls. If, and when, you find yourself having feelings for boys, we’ll deal with it. Until then, you are heterosexual.
I can (and did) make some assumptions about why this young man (still in high school) said these things to Julian, but they are just my assumptions. I’ll probably never know the truth. What I do know to be true, however, is that since Julian happens to respect and look up to this boy, who is a better dancer and has had some professional dance experiences, his words, of course, influenced Julian to a great extent. I told Julian that, too. It’s so easy to let other people’s opinions and words affect us, especially when we respect or look up to them. Despite the fact that Julian feels he and this other boy are a lot alike, I cautioned my son that only he can know who and what he is. The problem lies in the fact that this boy confused an otherwise very clear minded boy – at least on this topic.
I suppose every parent of a male dancer also has to wonder if at some point they’ll have to have this conversation with their son…and if their son will say, “Hey, Mom (or Dad), I’m gay.” And how will you react?
Right now, I’m wondering how much these young dancing boys are influenced by the other men and boys they are around, so many of whom are actually gay. It’s difficult to find male dance teachers who are straight. I’m glad Julian has at least one… But when you stick a straight boy in among so many gay men and boys, do they somewhere along the line begin feeling like they should be gay because they dance? They could easily say, “Everyone else is, so why shouldn’t I be, too?” Or maybe it’s actually that they decide, “I should be gay. All the other male dancers are. If I’m not, there must be something wrong with me.” That’s an interesting nature vs. nurture questions, isn’t it? Might they be more accepted among their peers? That’s a scary thought. (And that’s exactly where my thoughts went with this incident.) Something to think about…
For now, I think I’ve quelled some of the upset and self-doubt with Julian. I’ve been thinking of having him talk to a counselor about his issues with homework, and I suggested that he talk to one about sexuality as well. Right now he doesn’t feel the need. I might have him do it anyway…
I’ll be curious to read your comments. And if anyone would like also to discuss this issue (or any other), you may have noticed that I recently set up a the “My Son Can Dance Support Group, A Social Network for Parents with Sons Who Dance.” You can access it right here on this blog…Go to the bottom and look under the links. Sign in and start chatting! Or follow this link: My Son Can Dance Support Group. There readers can chat together about topics that relate to their dancing sons!