It sounds like a joke…

“So a gay, French, teenage school boy walks into a McDonald’s…”  But it’s actually a French advertisement by McDonald’s.  One they would never, ever air in the US.

I wonder if the father is just unaware of his son’s sexual orientation, if he is in denial about it, or if he is blatantly homophobic?  I think the clip is trying to suggest he falls somewhere between unobservant, heteronormative, and denial.

I talk with a lot of parents who assume their kids and teenagers either are not gay.  Many of these parents have gay friends – they would not think twice about saying sexual orientation is “fine with them.”  But they still assume heterosexuality as the norm – they assume heterosexuality for their children.  Perhaps the father in this video would be fully supportive of his son’s sexual orientation if he was aware of it.  But by assuming heterosexuality, he has made it substantially harder for his son to come out.

What do you think of this commercial?  Does it change the way you think of McDonald’s – at least over seas?

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. I don’t know. I think, as a parent, we assume all kinds of things about our kids based on our own experiences. I assume that at least one of my kids will work in the tech industry. So much so, that one day when we get the house in Sunnyvale, CA, I will do all I can to hold onto it for them–instead of selling it which would help out my finances.

    It’s difficult to teach something we have no experiece with. And if we try, it wouldn’t come naturally–not in a situation like the one above. There are all kinds of things about us that we hide from our parents and they assume something different. I’ve hid a variety of boyfriends from my parents, and brought home others. The son will one day love someone enough to bring them home, not caring what his parents say. Hopefully, the parents will be happy to meet their son’s boyfriend.

    However, I know the mother of one of my gay friends always says, “How do parents not know?!!” LOL

  2. Well, my husband’s mother assumed he was gay until he married me, because he didn’t like to leer at women. But maybe she is the exception.

    I’m tickled pink that McDonald’s in France is so accepting. I can’t even begin to imagine that kind of marketing here in the U.S., although I appreciate that they have healthier menu items than they used to, and that they now fully disclose their nutrition information.

  3. I think the hardest thing about assumptions is that we don’t know we have them until they are challenged. We assume things are for others the way they are for us, but we don’t KNOW we are assuming it. So, it’s like saying we have to question daily if the sun is going to rise or not. We have to find out what are our assumptions and then question them. Dr. Rayne is holding parents to a very high standard here.

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