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I think my daughter is a lesbian?

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 

I need help. Today I went into my daughters room to clean up a bit since she is away at college, and I found lesbian themed graphic novels under her bed. She never showed any interest in boys, but I always assumed that was just because she was shy. Now I'm starting to suspect that her relationship with a certain "friend" of hers might be more than it seems. I'm very upset, and I don't know what to do. Is she gay? Should I ask her? Should I confront her about the books?

Also, how do I accept this if she does turn out to be a lesbian? I feel sick just thinking about it. I know it is not a choice, but I don't want her to be this way. I want her to have a normal, happy life, not this.

post #2 of 54

I would not "confront" her until you have spent a little more time with the idea and are closer to coming to terms with it. Right now it sounds like you are still in shock, but I don't think you'd do either of you any favors by making it into an argument. There is no reason to put her on the defensive about who she is, and that is not going to encourage her to open up to you. Whether she is a lesbian or bisexual or just exploring, having the support of those close to her is so important. Also, she can definitely have a happy life, even if it doesn't match what you would think of as "normal". 

 

I would start by checking out PFLAG--Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. They have a page here you might find helpful: http://community.pflag.org/page.aspx?pid=539 

 

If you decide to approach your daughter rather than waiting for her to approach you, I would just let her know what you found and keep it nonjudgmental, and see what she has to say. 

post #3 of 54

I mother confronted me.  I lied.  Around the same time my sister and I were both home from college and she asked me if I had a special guy.  I answered honestly.  She asked if I had a special girl.  I couldn't help but answer honestly!    I would wait until she is ready to talk.  She might still be figuring it all out herself, and that takes time.

 

And, if you feel "sick" about this and want her to have a "normal, happy life" she is probably right in not choosing you as a confidant at this time.

post #4 of 54

{{{hugs}}} to start. 

 

Let me ask you this - how does this change her from the person she was before you discovered the books? 

 

My son/daughter came out to me (well... the world LOL) as trans* last fall. While I was a bit stunned, it really wasn't a huge shock. I've always known that s/he's different. Always marched to a different drummer. So it didn't floor me. Nor did it change my wonderful, beautiful, loving child one bit. If anything? It has made him/her blossom into an equally wonderful, beautiful person who is willing, able and proud to show the world the person s/he is. S/he is more than before. And that is something to celebrate, IMO. I love A as much - maybe even more - today as I did "before". 

 

I suspect your daughter knows how you would react, which is why she hasn't said anything to you. But imagine how difficult it must be for her to have to hide who she is from the one person who should love her unconditionally... I wouldn't confront her. But I would make sure that she knows - deep in her heart - that you love her, no matter who she chooses to love. This does not change the core person she is. Let her know that there is nothing she can tell you that will change how you love her. 

 

ETA p.s. Feel free to message me if you need to talk. 


Edited by mtiger - 2/28/13 at 4:27am
post #5 of 54

This may be a troll...this is their first post and it can be taken as immflamatory(imo).

If not...OP Your daughter's sexual orientation doesn't determine whether she lives a "normal, happy life". There is no reason to feel heartbroken. Take your daughter as she is as if it is a normal part of life...it is to her.

My daughter came out to her family last year. She is still a bit confused, but whatever she figures out, it's not an issue to us. We want our kids happy and healthy.

post #6 of 54
Thread Starter 

Thank you to everyone who has responded.

I guess I should just wait and try to come to terms in the meantime. She's away at college, so I would wait until she comes home before starting this conversation anyway.

 

Quote:
Around the same time my sister and I were both home from college and she asked me if I had a special guy.  I answered honestly.  She asked if I had a special girl.  I couldn't help but answer honestly! 

I may take this approach. I'm really starting to think that she and her friend are actually a couple. They seem a bit too close to be just friends.

Quote:
Let me ask you this - how does this change her from the person she was before you discovered the books? 

It doesn't change who she is, but it does change her life. It changes how people will look at her and how they will treat her. "Sick" was probably not the right word to use, and I'm sorry for that. "Worried" probably would have been a better choice. I am not upset with her, but upset at the situation and worried for her. I'm not homophobic, but that doesn't mean I want that for my child. The fact is that her life will be harder if she is gay.

 

 

Quote:

Your daughter's sexual orientation doesn't determine whether she lives a "normal, happy life". There is no reason to feel heartbroken. Take your daughter as she is as if it is a normal part of life...it is to her.

Again, I should have chosen my words more wisely. I was upset last night, and I've had some time to calm down. I didn't mean to imply that being gay is abnormal, just that her life will be different. She can't get married, having kids will be so much harder for her, people who don't even know her will hate her, etc. I realize that she may want different things out of life than I want for her, but it is still hard to let my vision go.

post #7 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AConcernedMom View Post

Again, I should have chosen my words more wisely. I was upset last night, and I've had some time to calm down. I didn't mean to imply that being gay is abnormal, just that her life will be different. She can't get married, having kids will be so much harder for her, people who don't even know her will hate her, etc. I realize that she may want different things out of life than I want for her, but it is still hard to let my vision go.

while reading yoru post i figured you were just shocked.

 

what guarantees do you get that her life wont be different - whether she is gay or not. 

 

these days having kids is the easiest thing in the world. you dont even need a man. just a sperm bank. 

 

well people just dont hate gays. they hate everyone.

 

but i get what you are saying. and i want to say - just the opposite. your dd's life will be just as it will be. being gay doesnt make it easier or harder - but different. 

 

and marriage? what's so great about marriage? its not something i want or look forward to with my dd. i want her to find a deeply moving and committed relationship. marriage is just icing on the cake. 

 

yes i understand your concern. she could be beaten up or killed. so you need to make sure she lives in the right city. 

 

but by golly what a rich life your dd will have. and by golly what a wonderful experience you will have - as you watch your dd flower and open up and meet all the challenges. 

 

the best thing for you to do is as previous pp said. get involved with PFLAG NOW. go talk to people there. start volunteering there. that will help you get to know yourself, your dd and your community. 

 

can you imagine how your dd will feel if she comes home and finds mom is volunteering with PFLAG or a similar organization. 

 

there is no need for your vision to go. your dd can still get married. have kids. be happy. 

post #8 of 54

There are, what, five? states in the union where your daughter can get married even if she prefers to marry another woman.  More soon, we hope. 

 

I live in Massachusetts, in a neighborhood where it was trendy for gay and lesbian couples to buy houses about 5 years ago.  Our neighbors include some wonderful families, and I can't tell that the kids care who has two moms or two dads or a mom and a dad or what.  Rich family lives are increasingly available to people, regardless of sexual orientation.  Your daughter has a high chance of a happy life, with loving friends and family.

 

There is also a chance that the books you found mean that your daughter is an aspiring indie cartoonist.  Or that she enjoys the work of Alison Bechdel.  (I have a complete set of Dykes to Watch Out For in my house, half of which were bought by my husband.)  Remain open to other interpretations. 

post #9 of 54
Quote:
Again, I should have chosen my words more wisely. I was upset last night, and I've had some time to calm down. I didn't mean to imply that being gay is abnormal, just that her life will be different. She can't get married, having kids will be so much harder for her, people who don't even know her will hate her, etc. I realize that she may want different things out of life than I want for her, but it is still hard to let my vision go.

I can understand where you are coming from, since my mother had the same reaction towards me. She became angry and upset and it lead to us not speaking for 3 years. I was a senior in college when she stumbled upon some poetry I had written about a female friend who was more than a friend.

 

Either way, I'm sure you don't want that kind of break with your daughter. My mother and I wasted a lot of time. I eventually found out her 'anger" was from fear she had of people treating me badly, and my life not being happy. She said some of the same things you said in your original post to my face. The result wasnt pretty.

 

I assume your reaction is from the same thing. fear over your daughter's future and the fear that you don't know how to be a part of her life. All your visions of your little girl growing up and getting married and having babies with you there by her side are ruined. You don't know what to do?

 

Your daughter can get married. I am getting married this July and my mother will be there, the mother of one of the brides. (Were getting married in a state where is it legal and having a ceremony in our state where it isnt recognized)

You can have grandchildren, trust me, it not as hard as it seems. Were working it out with my mother there the whole time tell me how to parent. (eek)

 

Don't worry about how others will react. You just being there for her will make all the difference. Some people who I was once close to said horrible things about me in front of my mother. What they said didn't matter, what mattered was my mother coming to my defense and telling them to keep my name out of their mouth.

 

You reaction, your support is going to be more important that what ANY other person says.

My mother confronted me in anger, and it led to a strained relationship for years. You could always do what my father did. Turn on a lgbt program and ask her opinion. It worked for me and he then just said. "You can tell me anything, I will always love you."

I'm sure her reasoning for not telling you, if she is a lesbian, is just because she is scared that she will lose your love. Assure her that she wont lose you, and it will make it easier for her to open up to you.

 

If you want to chat, you can message me.

post #10 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AConcernedMom View Post


Again, I should have chosen my words more wisely. I was upset last night, and I've had some time to calm down. I didn't mean to imply that being gay is abnormal, just that her life will be different. She can't get married, having kids will be so much harder for her, people who don't even know her will hate her, etc. I realize that she may want different things out of life than I want for her, but it is still hard to let my vision go.

 

Don't fall into the trap of assuming that all lesbians have the same experience, which is different from what all straight people experience. There is a lot of variation in the world.

 

There are states where lesbians can legally marry, and there are lesbians who get married even in places where their marriage isn't legally recognized (that's the situation for my partner & me). There are straight people who never get married. There are lesbians who have no trouble getting pregnant, and there are straight couples that struggle with infertility. People are hated, and loved, for all kinds of reasons, in all kinds of places. Being a lesbian isn't a guarantee that people will hate you, and being straight is no guarantee that they won't.

 

If your daughter is a lesbian, she might still fulfill your vision in every (other) way. If she is straight, she might never fulfill it. Chances are no matter who she is, she'll meet your expectations in some ways and not in others.

 

(Side note: When I came out to my mom, the first thing she said to me was: "But I always thought you wanted to get married and have children!" and I said, "I do want those things!" FWIW, my partner and I have been together for 20 years (married for 11, still awaiting legal recognition of our marriage), and we are parents to a daughter, though my mom died before she got to meet her granddaughter.)

post #11 of 54

Just want to second the idea that you should contact PFLAG!  They are an amazing organization run by and for families of GLBT people :) 

 

Here's a link to find your local chapter:

http://community.pflag.org/page.aspx?pid=803

post #12 of 54

Congrats on the lesbian daughter!

 

Your perspective of a gay person's life seems outdated to me. There are many places in the world where your daughter will be able to have a partner and children (if she wants them) and live openly as gay and no one will bat an eye. Your job as mama bear is to fight as hard as you can for gay rights so that she won't face discrimination in those parts of the world where it still is hard for LGTB people. Your other job is to make your home a place where she can feel safe to be herself.

 

Enjoy.

post #13 of 54

I do think there are some ways in which a gay or lesbian person will have difficulties that a straight person will not. So I can understand the perspective of abstractly wishing your child not to be gay the same way you might wish them not to, say, have a disability or a chronic illness or anything else they can't help that is going to cause them to have some unavoidable problems. But it's a moot point when one's child is actually gay, because even though they will most likely get some level of crap about it at some point, it's not like they can snap their fingers and be straight, so what's the point dwelling on it? 

post #14 of 54

I understand how hard it is to suddenly change your mind about what you thought your child's life would be.  I think it's a good idea to take time to let this idea settle in your mind before saying anything.   It won't always be hard on you, it's just a shock right now.  Soon, you will come around and be proud and happy for whatever choices she makes.    (hopefully she will make good choices)

 

I think your feelings are normal and valid.  Don't let anyone make you feel bad for how you feel right now.  

post #15 of 54
Thread Starter 

Thank you all again for you responses. I went to the pflag website, and I'm considering going to the meeting a week from now. Do any of you know what to expect from one of these meetings? If you've ever been, what was it like?

 

Quote:
Your perspective of a gay person's life seems outdated to me. There are many places in the world where your daughter will be able to have a partner and children (if she wants them) and live openly as gay and no one will bat an eye.

I admit that I'm pretty ignorant on this topic. I've lived in Arkansas my whole life, so I haven't really been exposed to gay people. The people around here are very religious and generally not very accepting of homosexuality, so I don't think my concerns for her safety are unreasonable. In Arkansas, gay marriage is a long way away.

Quote:
I think your feelings are normal and valid.  Don't let anyone make you feel bad for how you feel right now.

Thank you. I really appreciate you saying this. I wish I could be 100% accepting, but I'm just not there yet. I am trying though.

post #16 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by erigeron View Post

I do think there are some ways in which a gay or lesbian person will have difficulties that a straight person will not. So I can understand the perspective of abstractly wishing your child not to be gay the same way you might wish them not to, say, have a disability or a chronic illness or anything else they can't help that is going to cause them to have some unavoidable problems. But it's a moot point when one's child is actually gay, because even though they will most likely get some level of crap about it at some point, it's not like they can snap their fingers and be straight, so what's the point dwelling on it? 

This. It changes nothing.

 

And I agree with a PP who said people are going to hate, regardless. Those are not the people you, or your daughter, should waste energy on. 

 

Right now you are not in a position to give help, support or constructive criticism to your daughter, because you are living in an angry, shocked, prejudiced place. Give yourself time. See if you are capable of growing and change. I am not saying it is easy, it isn't. And even if you don't say a word, your daughter knows the place you are in. Perhaps she is not discussing it with you in order not to hurt you. I do not discuss religion with my parents. Not because my views are a big secret; I have told them. But only when they have asked. But otherwise, not. But it hurts them, because they feel I will not be saved, and I see no reason to rub it in, or try to change their point of view. I guess I am saying is that sometimes two people are two whole poles apart, and their views so vastly different, that there is no middle ground for them to meet in. I think, right now, this is maybe where you and your daughter are at.

post #17 of 54
I assure you, there are gay people in Arkansas. You may not know who they are. It is a far tougher place for your daughter to be herself the newsgroup York or SFO or Chicago. So I can see that being a huge deal, and I know, as a parent, I'd have a tough time with my kid moving out of state. I know my kids may go anywhere, and I am raising them to have, hopefully, all the options I had, when I chose to move to the opposite coast for a few years. But in my heart of hearts, I think I'd be happiest, in the end, if they raised their own families just down the street from me. So that's an angle I could see needing to adjust to. It's certainly not the only one.

When I was a teenager in an isolated suburb, I thought there were no gay people on my town. I mysteriously believed thet homosexuality was a purely urban phenomenon. I now know at least three people from my high school class who are openly gay. They have partners and families, and their moms swap grandkid pictures with my mom in the library and the grocery store.

If you're community isn't particularly accepting, it can be hard to figure out where to start. Finding a community in which you can be open and honest and loving to and about your daughter will take some work, and it may be disruptive to some relationships you have now. These things are worth some thought, maybe a few meetings of PFLAG.

I would walk over broken glass for my kids, I would not hesitate to switch churches or cut acquaintances if I found that my kids were being badly treated or otherwise hurt. I do not promise that I wouldn't find that work daunting, or that I wouldn't feel sick about it at first.
post #18 of 54

I say this as gently as possible.  Your daughter is away at college.  that means she is an adult.  She is free to make her own decisions, yes you still are her parent, but she can date/have a relationship with whom ever she chooses.  

 

As for cleaning her room. That is her space and I don't think I would be cleaning my adult child's room.   

 

There could be a million reasons for the books, for her actions, for her attitudes.  You, the parent live in Arkansas,  You don't say where she goes to university. (we don't need to know)  but she may end up anywhere in the country or the world.  She may decide to go to NYC, SFO, Chicago, The florida keys, who knows??

 

I think you are rushing to judgement.  I have a rising 13 yr old, who loves art, theater and swim team.  Does that mean he will be 'gay'?  All I know is he is happy - whom ever he grows up to be - I will love him no matter what.

post #19 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post

I say this as gently as possible.  Your daughter is away at college.  that means she is an adult.  She is free to make her own decisions, yes you still are her parent, but she can date/have a relationship with whom ever she chooses.  

I'm not trying to control any relationships she might have. That was not the point of my post. I just wanted advice on how to handle the possibility that she does turn out to be gay, so that I wouldn't say something to her that I would regret later.

Quote:

 

 

 

There could be a million reasons for the books, for her actions, for her attitudes.

I don't think I'm jumping to conclusions, although I would love to find out I'm wrong. The books I found are rather pornographic, and she has NEVER shown any interest in boys. I just don't see another explanation.

post #20 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by AConcernedMom View Post

The fact is that her life will be harder if she is gay.

 

 

Again, I should have chosen my words more wisely. I was upset last night, and I've had some time to calm down. I didn't mean to imply that being gay is abnormal, just that her life will be different. She can't get married, having kids will be so much harder for her, people who don't even know her will hate her, etc. I realize that she may want different things out of life than I want for her, but it is still hard to let my vision go.

 

 

I really disagree with you. I know gays and lesbians with great lives, and heterosexuals whose lives are very difficult and painful. Having a happy life is a lot more complex than which gender we are attracted to.

 

I live in a part of the country where it really isn't a big deal and there are MANY openly same sex couples. Some one hating them would be seen as very backward and ignorant.  Your DD may decide to move to a part of the country that is more open and liberal.

 

Let your vision go -- even if you find out she is straight, let your vision go. This is her life, to live her way. Your vision doesn't have anything to do with it.

 

I think the first step of having a happy life is accepting ourselves. I think that the more we get messages that we are fine just like we are (how ever we are!) the easier it is to be happy.

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