Dad Asks For Advice Amid Backlash After His 7-Year-Old Son Came Out—His Family Say He's 'Too Young' & He Should 'Let Him Be A Kid'

The little boy has been expressing his identity since he was 2-years-old and his dad has no issue standing up for him.

A dad with a rainbow shirt and his son STILLFX, nicoletaionescu / Getty Images via Canva, Zoran Zeremski / Shutterstock

Science has long known that some children can have a sense of their LGBTQ identity at a very young age — as early as their toddlerhood in some cases. But that doesn't make children coming out any less of a fraught situation.

And for one dad on Reddit, it has sparked all kinds of controversy both in his personal life and at his young son's school — especially among those who claim he can't possibly know his identity in childhood.


A dad's 7-year-old son came out to him as gay, and many think he's 'too young' to know his identity.

"My son is gay and I’m sick of people trying to tell [me] he’s too young to be," the dad wrote in his post to the "r/Daddit" subreddit, a forum for dads about fatherhood. His son is certainly not the first small child to come out to his parents, and he definitely won't be the last, but that hasn't stopped his family and many in his community from being outraged about it.

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The dad's father accuses him of 'making' his son gay, and his son gets bullied at school.

The dad's young son coming out has caused a rift between him and his own father. "I don’t talk to my dad anymore," he writes, "because he told me that letting him play with pink toys and having my gay friends around made my son gay."

That is, of course, not how it works. Despite what many religious people and right-wing politicians like to claim while accusing LGBTQ people of "grooming," child development experts and scientists say there is no data to support the idea that exposure to LGBTQ people or information has an impact on a child's identity. Clinton Anderson of the American Psychological Association called the notion "a misunderstanding of how sexual orientation and gender identity develop."

If exposure did have an impact, of course, it would be in the opposite direction — there would be few LGBTQ people at all, since the vast majority of people children are exposed to are straight and cisgender. Nevertheless, this has not stopped the dad from receiving tons of backlash over his gay son from "family members, co-workers I trust, and friends" who insist that "he’s 7 [and] he can’t know if he’s gay."


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The dad's son has said he was gay since he was two years old, without any input from his parents.

This has made him particularly confused by all the backlash. "Since he was 2 he has said he wants to marry a man with a beard," he writes. "In kindergarten, he kissed a boy on the playground. He loves to wear heels," and his little son has decided all of this on his own. "We never pushed him to decide if he’s straight or gay," the dad says. "He’s a kid, that’s not a conversation until he’s older."

But he is dead set on having his son's back no matter what. "I don’t care if he’s gay or straight," he writes. "What I do care about is that he feels supported because other kids have finally started to bully him because he is gay." The dad fights this by wearing "a big a-- very bright rainbow shirt to every school meeting."

As much as he loves his son, however, the constant backlash is taking a toll. "I feel like I’m doing the right thing by letting him be him, and not fighting it or telling him maybe he likes girls," he writes, but he is "burnt out" trying to explain the situation to people who insist that children coming out is somehow unnatural and unhealthy.


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Scientific data shows children coming out is common, and they can know and display their LGBTQ identity as early as their toddler years.

A 15-year-long study by the UK's University of Bristol called the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children found that as early as two-and-a-half years old, the way a child plays often correlates to their sexual orientation later in life.

As published in the journal "Science," the study found overwhelmingly that children who engaged in "stereotypically gender-conforming play" as a small child — boys rough-housing and girls playing with dolls, for instance — were more likely to be cisgender and heterosexual at the end of the study's 15-year span.

Conversely, kids who engaged in "stereotypically gender non-conforming play" — boys playing dress-up or girls playing sports, etc — were more likely to report an LGBTQ identity 15 years later.


And as myriad Reddit threads point out, many parents of LGBTQ people report having sensed their child's queer identity from a very early age, often decades before the child themselves realized it.

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The dad's fellow parents on Reddit agreed that he was taking the right approach, and should follow his son's lead.

"I like how you support your kid," one parent wrote, "I would just say to not make a bigger deal out of your kid’s sexuality than your kid makes of it."


Others pointed out that children are routinely exposed to and express heterosexuality throughout their lives and nobody bats an eye. "The term 'sexuality' is perhaps a bad word because it’s not about sex, exactly (this kid isn’t thinking about having sex with anyone)," another parent said. "Perhaps you don’t remember your perception and experience with sexuality at that age, probably because it was normal."

"I knew I liked girls when I was 7," a dad confirmed. "Sounds like this kid knows what he likes. I think it's normal."

One parent summed it all up very simply by applauding the dad for "let[ting] your son know he has your support 100% unconditionally," and wishing the dad's son a better experience than many queer people had in the past. "My [gay] brother had a rough upbringing," the person wrote. "I hope it’s better for your little one."


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.