Mighty Life List
Aug 5 2009

What if your kid is gay?

I like this episode. Please watch it.

33 Responses to “What if your kid is gay?”

  • Mau Says:

    Thank you for sharing, you raise an excellent question/topic.

    We know we’d be completely supportive.

    I would also say that it would be more a concern as a parent of what they will face out in the world than what they would face at home.

  • baby nursery decoration Says:

    Great topic. We’ll be completely supportive, because that’s just the way it is. He did not choose to be that way.

  • Jill Lathrop Says:

    I want my children to find that one person who loves and adores them as much I their dad and I do…regardless of their life love’s gender. Isn’t that the most important thing?

  • alphafemme Says:

    my parents had the whole “but your life is going to be harder!” reaction, which, like, duh. but I understand that reaction too. no one wants their kids to suffer. and gay kids DO suffer. my high school experience was… a nightmare. but support from the family is of UTMOST importance, so it warms my heart that all you momversation folks are on that same page :)

  • erinn Says:

    my mother is a single parent, and i have to say, i feared coming out to her more than i feared death. my younger brother (only other sibling) is bi-sexual, and he came out to my mom when he was 19 and away at school. she flipped out, and didn’t talk to either of us for weeks. it was the most painful two months of my life. so, naturally, when i had to deal with it, i was terrified. children do not want to disappoint their parents. my brother is an engineer and i am a newly graduated lawyer, and yet we felt that we couldn’t be who we really were or express ourselves because of something we could not control. we were afraid that our mother would blame herself for ‘causing’ it because she was a single parent.

    miraculously, when i told my mom last fall, she took it much better than expected. she had obviously done a little homework, and checked ou the statistics of gay siblings (my girlfriend also has a gay sibling, it’s quite common). when i meekly asked my mom if she was ok with having 1.5 gay children, she actually laughed. even though she’s tolterating it, she won’t be cracking out the pride flags anytime soon, but i don’t care about that. i just care that i wasn’t disowned and that i have some place to go for Christmas holidays.

    thank you for discussing this issue. if my mom had been as supportive as the bloggers in this episode, it would have saved me years of therapy, and i would have been a lot further in my journey of self-acceptance.

  • misstraceynolan Says:

    I can’t watch this right now…sneaking on line during a boring meeting…so I will only say this: What if you WANT your kid to be gay?

    I always, always take my job as a fag hag way too seriously.

  • Jan Says:

    Love is love is love, and that’s what matters. If I were a parent, I’d be concerned about different levels of threats to safety and happiness as others stated, but beyond that, I honestly don’t think it would change anything about how I view them as a person/my child. And I’d hope my kid would know that about me.

    I was raised in a family that included an aunt who was very much “out” and, because of the fact that she and my family made nothing of it whatsoever, I didn’t realize it could be a big deal to other people till I was probably about 10 or 12. Considering how long ago that was, it says even more for her and the whole family, especially her parents.

  • Anonymous, pls. Says:

    I’m a bisexual woman, closeted to my family but out to my friends. My primary partner is a man, but we’re not monogamous. And I have to say: coming out is one of the most terrifying things I can imagine doing. Despite the fact that there are other queers in my family, and that they are loved and accepted, I have always had the impression that my parents would not be thrilled if one of their own children was queer.

    To that end, I strongly recommend that parents who are comfortable with the idea of their children being queer make that clear to them. One of the best things you can do for a child who might be questioning his/her sexuality is to let them know that it’s okay to do that.

  • Stephanie Says:

    O.K. Here’s what you didn’t cover.

    What if your six-year-old said that he “knew” he was gay and that he loved boys and that he now wanted to wear girl’s clothes. Would you throw him a party? Would you announce it to the world? Would you let him wear girl’s clothes to school?

    I would not.

    So when is the age-apprpriate age that the child can start making those adult decisions? I, for one, think that it’s probably not appropriate for even a high-schooler to be declaring their sexuality.

    Everyone seems to be saying “I can’t believe anyone who wouldn’t want their kid to be gay,” but nobody is asking the tougher questions about lifestyle that will come in to play if these kids “come out” before junior high.

    That’s what you are asking for when you are these “accepting” parents.

    I don’t think that’s what I want in my family.

  • Corley Says:

    Stephanie,
    I don’t think that they are saying, “I can’t believe anyone who wouldn’t want their kid to be gay,” but rather, “I can’t believe anyone who wouldn’t want their kid to be happy.” By sixteen I knew that I was straight. By that age adolescents are self-aware enough to know what they want. An issue like this requires lots of discussion in families, and perhaps some of those complicated “lifestyle” issues should be at the top of the list of topics. Hopefully the discussion will be that you don’t want your son to go to school in women’s clothes because you love him and are afraid of how other people might treat him, not because you are ashamed of him.

  • Katie Says:

    Okay Stephanie, but here is the problem I have with what you are saying. Those are not “adult” decisions. Sexuality and who we are attracted to comes up very early in our lives and being told not to voice feelings/emotions/preferences at such a young age or that those feelings were “wrong” or should be kept a secret could cause major blows to a child’s self esteem, their ability to trust others, to trust themselves, etc… Not to metion you are creating an environment where your child feels uncomfortable talking to you about sex/sexuality which is so dangerous.
    If your child was six and a girl would you quiet her if she said her friend was her favorite “boy” friend and she wanted to get married to him when she grows up? Of course not, you would laugh and smile and perhaps tell the mom of the boy. The hypothetical little boy you speak of above is actually voicing the same sort of want, he is attracted to boys and wants to share his love/attraction with others. To answer your question I would follow my son’s lead if that was the case. I would want to determine what his feelings were (wanting to wear girl’s clothing doesn’t always actually go hand in hand with being attracted to other boys) and let him know that those feelings were normal and that some boys love boys and some love girls. Now would I throw him a party? No, and I wouldn’t throw my daughter a party if she told me she liked a boy and wanted to wear jeans to school. I also wouldn’t “announce it to the world”, again because, why would I? I wouldn’t anounce it if the opposite was the case…And if he wanted to wear a skirt to school or a pretty headband I would say go for it.
    That is what I want in my family. Also, what I am “asking for” as one these “accepting” parents” is a child who is confident in who they are, their decisions, and the role they play in the relationships in their life.

  • alison Says:

    The little dig in the intro (NOT MAGGIE) about the ‘burbs and the “Deep South” made me flinch. I am a “Yankee” living in the suburbs of Louisiana, and I have been astonished about the level of acceptance of alternative lifestyles here. No place is perfect, and there is still a lot of social growing to be done, but we can’t all be San Fran hipster parents….

    The generalization stings a bit, don’t you think?

  • anon Says:

    As a specialist teacher at a public school I see several hundred kindergarten and first grade students in my classroom per week, each year. So I can tell you with certainty that some kids DO know and DO make an issue of it when they are this young.

    What if you were the parent of this student – a six-year-old boy who loves to wear silk scarves, barrettes, and pink lip gloss, and who greets me at my classroom door with, “You look pretty today! That’s a great color on you!” What then?

    Fast-forward this child to fifth grade… I live in the most liberal state in the US and personally, I would be terrified for this boy.

  • JL Says:

    I have to concur with alison about the “Deep South” remarks. That really speaks of ignorance similar to the kind they’re trying to point out.

  • MeL Says:

    Totally okay with it, except MAMA WANTS GRANDBABIES. (totally deserving of all those caps.) I guess I can just hope that adoption laws are more liberal by then all around? I mean, with 3 boys, I don’t have the artificial insemination option for them. Really. I just want grandbabies. I don’t care who they have them with, as long as they’re happy. :)

  • mindy Says:

    Stephanie: You need to realize that the VAST majority of gay males do not wear women’s clothes. That is a stereotype. Also, one does not have to have experience a sexual act to “decide” what their orientation is. I knew I was gay since about age 12. Did you know that a gay or lesbian person can die a virgin? This fact was brought up in women’s studies class that I took recently, and it was scary to see that this fact blew the minds of adults. Many of them asked “How could that be? Don’t you have to have someone to ‘be gay’ with?” See how silly that is? A sex act does not define what orientation one is. If my partner became ill or passed away and I could never have sex again, I would still be a lesbian. If I had had the guts (and freedom) to come out as a young person and I had never met anyone and fell in love, I would still be a lesbian. And to all of those who wish for grandchildren, here’s a newflash for you: YOU CAN STILL BECOME A GRANDPARENT EVEN IF YOUR KIDS ARE GAY! I could show you a dozen sets of grandparents who raised gay and lesbian children!

  • Toni M Says:

    Maybe this grandbabies thread would be a topic for another momversation. As an only child of an only child, it’s deeply disappointed my mother that I haven’t wanted children. Seriously, I’m 47 and she’s still asking!!!! So is that more or less difficult to deal with than being gay? At least I’m happily married, gainfully employed and not addicted to anything.

  • Cindy Says:

    I also flinched at the deep south comments. Oklahoma isn’t technically the deep south (but I think we’re the reddest state in the union). One of our state representatives got everyone at the capitol recently to sign a morality letter (not bill thank God) stating the support of “traditional” marriage and blah, blah, blah. It was very anti-gay, anti-Jew, anti-Muslim, anti-any other religion then Southern Baptist. It was embarrassing.

    That said, there’s no way I’d raise a straight child here let alone a homosexual one. It’s just not safe.

  • dregina Says:

    Another person living in the South who found Alison’s dig on this region to be soooooo frustrating and offputting.

  • Hesper Says:

    I also live in the deep south. Jacksonville, FL to be exact. Most of us actually joke that we’re actually very southern GA. Anyway, I must say that the “dig” is actually quite true. I would support my child if he turned out to be gay, but I would fear for him. I graduated highschool in 2001 and I don’t remember a lot of openly gay boys, but I did know a female couple who were constantly made fun of and completely ostracized. And I know that probably 80% of the people I work with are very uncomfortable with anyone who might be gay. Oddly enough, on of them is married to a very effeminate man!

  • Liam's Grandma Says:

    Some of my best friends are gay men. I love them mostly because they seem to have a keener sense about fashion, style and emotions than even *I* do. I also love that they will never stab me in the back. And that we can have a deep friendship and talk openly about everything without me fearing being hit on.

    With that said, I am quite accepting of alternative lifestyles. I am not sure how I would handle it if one of my kids came out to me. I firmly believe that I would accept it, with the same kind of boundaries of any relationship – don’t make out in front of me, don’t have sex in my house while I am IN THE HOUSE and know the difference between love and lust.

    I am a Christian, but I adhere to God’s command not to judge lest you be judged. I would, therefore, accept my child, not try to change him or her, and do the same for their significant others.

  • Kait Says:

    In response to Stephanie’s comment, I would say that if I had a son who wanted to wear lip gloss and barrettes and whatnot, I wouldn’t honestly care. Yesterday my three year old wore an orange robot tee shirt she got from the boys section at Target, a pink tutu skirt, black high top Chucks and a dress up police mans hat. She wore it all day – to preschool, the library, the grocery store, the doctors office, the lab where I got my blood drawn, and to swim lessons. She also asked for trucks, legos, and to go through the car wash for her birthday. Why is it adorable to have a tomboy but weird to have a feminine son?

    Regardless of their ages, my main goal is to have children who are happy, healthy, well adjusted, and who know above all else they are unconditionally loved. If that means being very supportive of my six year old son who wants to wear a skirt to school, fine. I am his mother and that is my job. So long as he understands that ladies (or gentlemen in skirts) don’t flash people, we’re good.

  • Kait Says:

    Sorry to double comment but I also wanted to say that if my child was gay, I agree with a lot of the other comments that my heart would break for the additional complications they would face in the world. But would it be any different if my teenager announced they were going to become a parent in high school? In either situation my goal as a parent would be to let them know that they are loved no matter what and that home will always be a safe place for them to be completely themselves.

  • Jackie Says:

    I think what a lot of people worry about isn’t so much to do with loving a member of the same sex, it’s being afraid of “the culture” of being gay. Does being gay mean your son will engage in risky behavior any more than if he were straight, or does it just mean that there are different kinds of risks that different people take (or avoid)?

    I think that’s why people worry more about their sons being gay rather than their daughters; people associate lesbianism with being sensible – maybe even staid – but they associate gay men with cruising parks at night and using drugs at clubs. And of course I would love my son the same whether he is gay or straight, but as to worrying about him – well, for me it doesn’t have to do with his sexuality but with his personality.

  • beks Says:

    Not related to this post but have you seen this – http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/06/the-pain-of-being-a-redhead/?em

  • theambershow Says:

    This was boring! You got a bunch of liberal parents to talk about this. Rebecca would be happy either way: no shocker there. I’m with you guys, but I’d love to have heard from right-leaning parents, too. (Or did they just totally avoid this topic?)

  • Em Says:

    FYI, Step, not all gay men want to wear dresses. None of the gay men I know make it a regular practice.

    My child will have a gay grandfather and a lot of gay friends and aunts and uncles. That is just the way their world will be so if they are lucky enough to be gay as well than I think it will be a very supportive loving world he or she grows up in. The happier we make their universe, the less of a “hard time” kids will have, gay or straight.

  • Leah Says:

    Stephanie,
    A child I used to babysit for recently decided that she was a boy, wanted her hair cut short and wanted to wear boy’s clothes. She was 6 years old.

    Her parents weren’t quite sure what to make of it, but they went ahead and got her hair cut and gave her boys clothes to wear. They just did it matter-of-factly, and decided “not to worry about it until it was time to buy her a training bra.”

    The girl is 9 years old now, and while she was a “boy” for around two years, she just stopped caring, and started being herself. She has stopped trying to define whether she is a girl or a boy, and stopped caring if people used feminine pronouns. I think she is not bothering to keep her hair short either.

    So, in my opinion, let kids be. If her parents had tried to restrict her who knows what would have happened, how unhappy she would have been, or how strongly she would have rebelled or resented them.

    I think that by the time she reaches high school, though, she will without a doubt be aware of her own sexuality and gender identity- or at least aware enough to question it (or not), and at that age, she should be allowed to make her own decisions and develop into the person she wants to be.

    High schoolers are a great deal more aware than we give them credit for. Allowing them to figure out “themselves” is an important part of their development and should definitely not be suppressed!

  • Betsy Says:

    Well, ‘theambershow’ we are sorry you are bored. (nice blog by the way) I will say I am ‘very right leaning’ but can discuss this topic. I have had to consider what my reaction would be because my college-age son has not started dating or interacting at all with opposite sex.(to my knowledge) So, of course, I’ve had to consider, and have been for years, how will I feel if he comes home and says… And I can honestly say. I love my son, support him and want his happiness. That’s what I’ve always wanted, so it wouldn’t stop in this instance either. I simply want him to be happy and fulfilled.
    On another note, it seems beyond ridiculous that a commentary intended to open doors to rid prejudice /stereotypes would then include the same in regard to the South and those who dwell there… Really?
    Ironic isn’t it?
    Additional note, a close friend from from here (north) moved there (south) – Florida with her long time female partner and is not encountering an undue amount of bias. In fact, they are more welcomed where they are located now, than in the community they originally settled in San Jose, CA. Not a statement of anti-California Bias, just an instance of a friend doing okay in the South. And of course I’m speaking of adults and I know the discussion is about adolescents…who grow up to be adults, ideally.

  • Me Says:

    I love it: the deep south or THE SUBURBS (don don don donnnnnnn)

    And loved the baby crawling off the couch behind one of the moms.

    And killer earings.

  • Me Says:

    PS: I live in Toronto Canada. Absolutely no big deal. Love is love. As long as she finds what I have, which I would want no matter the gender of her partner!

  • Jessica Says:

    My husband and I would absolutely be supportive, but I would have great concerns regarding my extended family.

    Most of my family is made of ultra-conservative Catholics and upon learning that my youngest sister is a lesbian and a cousin is gay, they openly discussed the “perversion that has infiltrated our family” at a BBQ. It was horrifying; not even my father stepped in to defend his daughter.

    I can understand why so many children have to wait until their college years or beyond to come out.

  • Auntie Yolanda Says:

    My best friend was gay. He was godfather to my sons. I would like to think that not only did he model good fashion sense, but introduced them to the concept that men could do anything women can with a few exceptions. Today my sons cook, change diapers, do laundry, discuss parenting tips and go to work.
    If either one is holding out on “coming out” I wish they would cut loose and let it all hang out. Carpe diem!