Last week I found out that my niece is gay. I didn't think much about it until I started talking to her father. She came out to him when she was about 18 (she's 22 now) and he had a terrible time accepting it.
I couldn't understand that. She was a bit of a rascal when she was younger but now she's a truly lovely young woman, one any father should be proud of. He is proud now but he still doesn't understand and I don't think he approves. He wouldn't consider himself homophobic but he is 'disappointed she's not normal.'
He said that he simply didn't understand why a woman would want another woman because he couldn't see what she would 'get out of it.' He said that – and these are his words – that he knew 'there was something up a man's bum that made sex that way good for them, although he didn't have whatever it was.'
That left me speechless. He hasn't got it and he doesn't even know what it's called?
But then he went on to say that he had no idea what a woman would do with a woman that they couldn't do with a man.
That left me reeling. He seemed to think that being gay was all about sex and nothing else, that she could have found a 'girly man' if she wanted company.
Perhaps I have become more cocooned by the views of my friends and desensitised to the reality of the 'real world' then I thought. But I honestly didn't think anyone could think like that these days. It's not just his aversion to her being gay, but his complete lack of knowledge that I can't comprehend. He's only 48, has been a community worker for a long time and is well educated, so how can he be so ill informed?
This has rather rocked me. Not that she's gay – she's a lovely, decent person. What else matters? – but that anyone can think like her father.
I am obviously more naïve than I thought.