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What Can I Do,When My Child Come Out As Gay

  • by Jamie Skylark

How times have changed! Some things are getting worse, but some things are getting better.

Maybe you remember Dan Savage's anti-suicide campaign, and it gets better. Thousands of LGBT people and their supporters have made videos on Youtube with messages like "Keep at it, don't give up - life gets better."

And that's what I want to say to you, if by chance your child just came out.

I'm writing this article for parents whose kids are coming out. Most of these apply to kids who come out as bisexual or transgender, and for simplicity I use the word gay to mean "gay or lesbian."

I have spoken to many parents who suspect their children are gay but have not yet come out to them. They come to me because they want to be ready for the moment when their child comes out to them. I've always noticed that even the most forgiving parents have a lot of questions on their minds, and I'll answer them all here.

If you consider yourself an inclusive person and support the LGBT people around you, but you're also struggling with your child officially coming out, please don't beat yourself up. As a parent, you must want the best for your child, but as a gay person, this can bring some additional complications, and it is a normal reaction for you to want to protect your child from suffering.

When your child comes out as gay, they will give you new information about their identity that will adjust your perception of them. It's not that things are going to get better or worse - it's just that things have changed.

When parents tell me their children are gay, I give them some answers:

1、It's not your fault.

Science can be very clear. Sexual orientation is innate and largely unaffected by culture. Of course, a more accepting society would allow gay people to come out earlier. It sometimes feels as if everyone is gay these days. But the truth is that the percentage of homosexuals has remained stable (they just used to hide their true feelings more).

Nothing about a parent can determine whether a child is gay or straight. Most gay children come from families with heterosexual parents and many positive heterosexual role models.

The old Freudian theory that children become gay because they have a bad relationship with their father or are too close to their mother has been thoroughly debunked. Boys don't become gay because they are close to their mothers, and girls don't become lesbian because they have bad relationships with men.

That's what your kids are like. Maybe they're left-handed, maybe they're good learners but have poor eyesight. Or maybe they're gay. There's nothing you can do to change that. However, you can try to help them live their best life!

2、You need time to adjust.

When your child comes out to you as gay, they have been thinking and feeling about their sexuality for years. They observed and analyzed every experience for themselves. They observe others in the community, and they may notice how you talk about gay people in your family. They've actually been thinking about these things for a long time.

On the other hand, you may never have doubted it. As a parent, your child has a certain mental image in your mind. You envision their future and do what you can to help them achieve the best possible future.

When your child comes out to you, that image changes. It's okay if you feel a little disoriented. Give yourself time. You don't have to give 100 percent right away. Your child has a long way to go.

3、No, you shouldn't know.

My parents often say to me, "I should have known better!" But the truth is, you don't have to know. That doesn't mean you're a bad parent. It's normal for you to acquiesce that they're straight. Some studies suggest that 95% of people are heterosexual, so your assumption is safe.

The "you should know" idea also points to the unhelpful belief that we can identify a person as gay by their appearance or behavior. But that's not the case. Sexual orientation is not visible or noticeable, especially when a person is trying to hide it.

In the end, your child may have tried his best, so you didn't know it at first.

4、It's not just a phase.

Homosexuality means that a person has some kind of attraction to the same sex. Your child is less likely to misunderstand their attraction. If they feel it, it's probably there.

Even if there is a small probability that it happens to be a phase, it still should not be ignored or minimized. Just as you do with any other stage, let the experience of this stage help your child grow.

5、Your child will be safe.

Of course, no one can guarantee that to the parents of any child. But one of the most common fears many parents have is that their children will become victims of homophobic violence.

We've all heard horror stories of gay couples being beaten up just for holding hands on the street. Even today, even where we live, this is happening. But this doesn't happen all the time, everywhere, or for every gay person.

I know a lot of young LGBT people who have never been harassed. They may be looked at, and they may feel unsafe in certain places. But in today's world, your gay children are basically safe because they live open and honest lives.

Just like any other safety issue, it's a good idea to talk to your child about what to look out for and how to be appropriately careful.

Your child may not actually care because their peers are very accepting of them. This may instead worry you because you want them to be careful when they need to be careful. But another thing to consider is that just as homophobia still exists, so do LGBT Allies.

LGBT alliances are everywhere.

6、Your child will be fine.

This issue often comes up in white families, but it's also a very common fear for many POC parents. When their children come out, they lose some of their privileges. It's scary. Parents worry that their children will be judged simply for who they are. Yes, it is true, and it will happen.

Children from minority families experience this all the time. They know they can't, and don't need to, change or ignore who they are. They learned to transcode. They understand that certain aspects of life are more difficult for them, and they often work harder for the same results.

So yes, your child will face difficulties that you have not experienced. It can be hard for them, especially during school. But the struggle will also give their lives special meaning and depth.

What they learn from facing prejudice will make them better people.

7、Sexual orientation is not first and foremost about sex.

I wish the word sex wasn't part of sexual orientation. One reason many teens don't come out to their parents is that they try to avoid talking about sex.

Parents of boys are often more worried about safe sex because of the stigma of AIDS and the sexualized image of "gay culture." Whether your child is gay or straight, they are at risk of contracting an STD.

When your child is just coming out, consider responding to their concerns and discussing how their coming out will affect your relationship before you start talking about sex. There's always a time and a place.

Let your child see that relationships and attraction are more than just sex. Remember, talking to your child about responsible sexual behavior is an ongoing conversation that has nothing to do with their sexual orientation.

8、You can still be grandparents.

Although gay parents are more common today than ever before, parents often worry that their children will not be able to have children. Even worse, they won't be grandparents themselves!

This fear is understandable. And it's also kind of silly. Just having a heterosexual child is not a 100% guarantee that you will have grandchildren.

And, as you know, everyone has many different ways of becoming a parent. When that moment comes, everything will happen the way it's supposed to.

And they've been very successful in that.

And that's okay.

9、Coming out isn't a one-time thing.

Your child will come out again and again, forever. The world thinks they are straight until they are proven to be straight.

Whenever your daughter mentions her girlfriend or partner for the first time, she'll notice that people adjust their mental picture.

I've always noticed that. Because I'm married, it's easy to casually mention "my husband" in conversation. I haven't gotten a negative response yet, but I noticed a small "coming out" moment that lasted about five seconds and kept happening.

The same thing could happen to you. At first, you may feel intimidated when you talk about your son and his boyfriend. But over time, coming out became easy and natural.

The more secure you are in yourself, the easier it will be for others to accept you. You will see change happen!

10、There is no one right way to respond.

Like everything else in parenting, there is no one right way to respond when your child comes out as gay. They've probably been planning this for a while, or at least they've thought about it for a long time.

On the other hand, you may be caught off guard. In that moment, you are dealing with many thoughts and feelings at once. It can be overwhelming.

Parents often feel guilty about their reactions. Or, they're not sure if their answers are good enough. Of course, there are many ways to respond that are not helpful. But remember, it's what you do afterwards that really matters.

The coming out conversation is just one of many moments. Whatever you say or don't say will be overshadowed by what you do afterwards. You can't not say it, but you can take it back.

To the best of your ability, focus on maintaining a loving, safe, trusting relationship with your child. That's all that matters.

11、Forgive yourself.

You've heard the saying: Kids don't have manuals. But equally, when your child comes out, no one is really there to teach you to be prepared. You might be the first in your mom's group, or your dad's group, or your family. Even without guidance or support, you must continue to deal with it.

You'll make mistakes, just like any parent. That's good!

You're not perfect, and by allowing yourself to be imperfect, you're setting an example to your children that it's okay to be imperfect.


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