How Young Is Too Young? Kids Speaking Out for Equality

Many of you may have already seen the video of the eight-year-old son of a lesbian mom, who confronted presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, telling her, “my mommy’s gay but she doesn’t need fixing.” The remark seemed to have flustered Bachmann. But gay dad and columnist Dan Savage writes that, “We shouldn’t use our kids like this,” even if the child wants to say something. He explains that we should not go the route of the opponents of equality, who “use small children as props in their misleading commercials and at their hate rallies all the time.”

Based on the comment thread on his post, folks are of many opinions on this one. I think Savage has a point—we do need to be careful not to “use” our kids for political purposes. But I have an eight-year-old myself, who understands that our family is not treated equally. If he truly felt like he wanted to confront an opponent of equality, and it was his own initiative, I’m not sure if I would stop him. (This would depend on the particular circumstances, of course, and if I thought there would be any negative repercussions—threats, harassment at school, etc.—of his speaking out.) At the same time, I would never ask him to say anything while he’s still a child. Talking about his family has to be something he does on his own, in his own time.

What are your thoughts on this? Have your kids ever spoken up for LGBT equality, and at what age? Did you support them doing so?