Mom, what’s a lesbonian?

I listen to 567 CapeTalk when I drive.

Today I collect Georgia and Connor and while we are in the car, there is a discussion on the radio about Phumeza Nkolonzi, 22, who died after an unknown gunman kicked in the door to her home in the Cape Town township of Nyanga and opened fire three times in silence.

The term Lesbian was used, and I hear Connor’s cogs in his head turning over and processing the word.

As predicted he turns to me and goes: “Mom what’s a Lesbonian?’

This was the juncture that all parents reach, when you are going to cross “that final threshold…” from which you can never return – the entire ToothFairy and Santa Claus fantasy is over, we have moved straight on to se.x.

I let a few moments go by – primarily to steele myself for this momnt – decided I would go with the simple explanation, instead of trying to soften the blow and go into a long story.

Me: “Lesbians are girls who have sex with girls ….. like a boy has sex with a girl …. but a lesbian does not feel like that about a boy, she feels like that about a girl, and that is a Lesbian…understand?”

Connor: “Yes…… <and then the little hamster is running in his head and the next question comes> …… how does that work, girls have inside bits …. <and he makes the shape you would make if you were showing someone a cup shape with your thumb and middle finger..>

I glance at him – I am on the N1 at this stage, negotiating traffic … now he has figgered out the two inny bits …. so he goes “how does that work …… what are they going to put in there …..”

Me: “What do you think?”

Connor: “Fingers?”

Me: “Sure, that can work…”

Connor takes this information aboard and I explain how girls have sex with girls, and that is referred to as a lesbian, and if a boy has sex with a boy it is referred to as homosexual or gay.  And then I go on to explain that people love who they will love, and if they are a girl and they do not feel those feelings for a boy, and feel that way for a girl, then that is fine.

Connor: “Boys have outside bits <he indicates that with his two pointy-peter fingers…and I can see him trying to work this out> and where do things go in…they don’t have an in part..?”

Again, this is a juncture that all parents must get to with their children – I am glad this one is officially behind me.  Your turn is coming, so brace yourself.

Either you cross this bridge with your child now and discuss it honestly or start pointing at the sky randomly to try to distract your child and say you are sure you just saw Superman.

I chose to blunder ahead.

Me: “Okay, so where do boys have an inside bit?”

Connor: “Er ……….their bum???”

Me: “Yep that could work …….”

Connor: “Gross….”

Me: “My boy, that is the way it is, girls love girls, and boys love boys, and boys and girls love each other too. You love fishing, no one makes you love fishing you just do.  And your sister loves Smurfs.  Nothing I say or do is going to make the two of you not love those things, we all love differently.  As long as you are true to yourself and not hurting anyone, then you are free to love who you want.”

Connor – nodding as the fishing analogy is hitting a spot for him.

This awkward moments parenting is what parenting is about.  I realise this conversation might repulse people and make people angry who are against homosexuality, and I get that.

I understand the biblical message that explains the “religious” stance on this, but I am not teaching my child a religious or belief exercise here.  That is a seperate discussion, at another time.

I want him to be accepting, and I would rather him have frank conversations with me about what he hears and thinks, than him finding this out via another route.

Connor’s other winner question from last week after he saw one of those flag advertising behind an aeroplane was: “Mom, whats MAVERICKS?”

Mavericks by the way was a much easier question than me trying to explain the Israel-Palestine frucus …. it took me abotu 15 minutes, and hten I realised I(again) that I do not totally understand why two nations hate each other in the name of religion and holy land.

Trust me Mavericks is far simpler to explain and understand.  Pretty girls dance and men pay them.  That’s what I said.  Life would be simpler if the Israel/Palestine problem could be explained that simply.

{Mommy Blogger vote jig is nearly up – click over to Kidz World Blogger Awards – Voting closes on the 30th June 2012}

Leave a comment


  1. Alexandra

     /  June 29, 2012

    Still laughing…

    I’ve had a similar discussion but as Lyndall’s only just five I made it about love and left out the sex bit – much easier to explain.

    Honesty wins every time.

    And I’m with you on the Israeli Palestine issue.

  2. facts are facts, whether your’e against it religiously or whatever.

    fact: there are gay people out there.

    well done, I like your explanation. My husband’s brother is gay, so I’m waiting for the question from my kids in the next while. I might use your answer. Thanks for that.

  3. julz

     /  June 28, 2012

    And this is why you deserve another vote for best parenting blogger and possibly mom of the year award too. (Insert smiley face here)

  4. Love the honesty with the kiddo. Excellent answer…and well, great post!

  5. Jenny

     /  June 28, 2012

    Great response. But my only comment would be – lesbians are also homosexuals or gay 😉

    • reluctantmom

       /  June 28, 2012

      I may mention that when I do class 102 sexuality! I felt if I could use different terms which were mutually exclusive then it might not be so confusing. But point taken, do need to ensure he is familiar with the correct term.

  6. I had this discussion also with my oldest a few weeks back. I do think you handled it well. I love discussions like these with my children, as they aren’t difficult to me. I hope that this will also be the fact with my children some day when they have children.

  7. ClaireLL

     /  June 28, 2012

    When you’re having a crazy parenting day, come back to this post and read it again. It reflects how awesome you are 🙂

  8. When the time comes, can I call you to talk to my boys?! Awesome, I think the best parenting, nay, life lessons, is all about honesty. You handled this perfectly.

  9. What a great response!!!!!

  10. Gale

     /  June 28, 2012

    And its exactly for posts like these that I go over and vote for you.

    Love how honest you are about subjects that make everyone else uncomfortable. I would also rather that my kids discuss these things with me than anyone else.

  11. Joyce

     /  June 28, 2012

    Oi brilliant, I am sending Kirsten to you when she starts asking uncomfortable questions… did you explain to Connor that his Dad and Leon’s friend Sletvana works at Mavericks?

  12. Tan

     /  June 28, 2012

    I Think you did the right thing Honest is always best no mater how uncomfortable we as the parents feel 🙂

  13. Your honesty with him makes you mom of the year. I wish all parents would just be open and honest and not beat around the bush. I hate it when parents want to shelter their kids from all things sexual.


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