Dear Savvy Auntie,

I teach in the local high school. My sister told me she got the name of a senior boy to babysit her six-year old son and eight-year old daughter and asked me what I knew about him. He is a good student and participates in school activities, but there are rumors floating around that he is gay, but has not yet "come out." Should my sister be concerned?


Dear Anonymous,

This is a touchy subject! Aside from the question of the boy’s sexual identity, I would advise against having a high school senior boy as a babysitter for children these ages. Teenagers, boys in particular, tend to be impulsive and what we term “risk aversive”. This means they might take unnecessary chances or exercise poor judgment.  The question of whether or not he is gay and how appropriate a babysitter he would be if he were is contingent on your sister’s and her children’s exposure and comfort level with homosexuals. In other words, in New York City, San Francisco and other communities that are mixtures of varied types of people it would be quite acceptable. In a more homogeneous community like a small mid -western or southern town it may be too diverse a decision.

I must also admit a little discomfort with you “outing” an adolescent student who is not ready to declare his homosexuality.

Hoping this is helpful,
Natalie Robinson Garfield


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