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I've mentioned it on this site before, but I spend a significant portion of my time working as a wedding photographer. My three year old absolutely loves my job -– he regularly asks about the couples that I'm working with and what their weddings are like.
In the four years that I've been shooting professionally, I've only shot male-female weddings, and none of our LGBT friends have married, so my son has only seen marriages taking place between a heterosexual couple. All of his questions are about the details –- What did her dress look like? What kind of flowers did she carry? Was he happy to see her when she walked down the aisle? And so on.
Last night, I showed him Robert Brown and Nathaniel Gay's wedding video. I didn't know if or how he would react. He's familiar with the idea that men can love men and women can love women (we have yet to introduce the idea of genderqueer to him, but mostly because I think he'll be better able to understand it when he's a little older), and that people of the same sex can get married, but he's never actually seen it happen.
If you haven't read about the couple yet, these two were recently wed in Lexington, Kentucky. That in and of itself is pretty huge: a gay wedding in Lexington? Hell, yes! Even more incredible is that Robert is a member of the traditionally conservative Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. As the video went viral yesterday, a lot of people were surprised that he was able to a) be openly gay and b) get married with the support of his family and friends.
I decided to say little about the video before showing it to my son -– I intentionally just said, “Hey, come here and watch this wedding video with me!” He was enthusiastic, since weddings are one of his favorite things. I didn't point out ahead of time that there were two grooms -– I didn't say anything else.
As the video began, he “awwed” in all of the right spots. He shrieked when he saw the big smiles on the couple's face during their first look, and when they each walked down the aisle with their mothers he held me tightly. When he saw a photo of the two of them kissing, he stated, “Aww, I love weddings. Can we go read a book now?” And that was it.
I'm not writing about this to point out anything especially special about my son –- he's being raised by two very liberal parents, and like I said: we've already started having conversations about different types of relationships and love that exist. The reason I'm writing this is two-fold: First, I do want to celebrate that a three-year-old saw a video of two men getting married and thought it was just as beautiful as when a man and a woman get married. Second, I wanted to make sure as many people as possible see this video, and that they share it with as many people as they possibly can, and that everyone just basically falls in love with Robert and Nathaniel, because they're worthy of that much love. Not because they're gay, but because they're just really fucking brave.
I'm one of those people who really believes that the more children are exposed to all that is good -- gender equality, marriage rights, the disproving of racial stereotypes to name a few -- the more their worldview is shaped in a more positive way. My son may be three, but I definitely believe that something as simple as showing him a video of two men getting married, and subsequently having a conversation about marriage equality and rights, will go a long way in helping contribute to a future generation that is better than the one that came before it. I don't rest all of my hopes on this idea, as elevation of the human race isn't up to today's three year olds when they become adults –- the time is now, and it's up to every single one of us who advocate for equality. But I firmly believe every little bit helps, and my son's reaction just helped bolster that belief.