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Gay Teens

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
If you stumbled across something that lead you to believe your teen was gay, you asked them about it and they admitted it. What would you do? How would you handle it?

If someone were to come to me and tell me that their teen told them they were gay, I would tell them to love them, support them, be there for them.

But when it is my own child, I can not comprehend this. I can not react in the way I feel is right. Why?

I keep hoping it will go away. I think she is young. How can she know she is gay?

Do you have any advice. Please don't flame me. I want to deal with this in the right way. And I am ashamed to admit that so far I haven't.
post #2 of 19
check out PFLAG

post #3 of 19
It sounds like she doesn't know you've "found" this out. If that's the case, I would do some research & work through my feelings before bringing it up to her. Once you've delt with whatever bothers you about it, you will be able to handle it much better - and be able to really offer her your support. If she knows you found this thing or info, I'd just focus on the fact that you'll love her if that's who she is, and you'll love her if it isn't. That's gotta be a really difficult thing for a young person to deal with - I would just be as encouraging & supportive as possible & work on my own issues in private. Good Luck!
post #4 of 19
I would suggest just being supportive of your child and also suggest you go to a PFLAG meeting if you can. You can learn more about GBLT issues and talk with other parents who've been there and talk to people who have been in the same position your teen is in as well.

Chances are your teen would be relieved just to know you love her no matter what and that you will support her for who she is whether she's gay, straight or bi.

"I keep hoping it will go away. I think she is young. How can she know she is gay?"

Your daughter probably just wishes it would just go away too - who wants to be different from the norm - especially as a teenager and in this political climate?

As for her age, if the girls her age are going boy crazy - it seems like a natural time for her to question why she may not be? The more support and love she can have from her family and friends, the better.

Please contact PFLAG to help smooth your journey - you are not alone! If your teen has questions and concerns, you could even attend a PFLAG meeting together. At the meetings I attended, parents and friends usually chose a different discussion group (we had three at a meeting) than their gay friends or children since they had different issues to deal with.

Peace and to you.
post #5 of 19
You might to come read some of the threads in the queer parenting forum here. It is a subforum of parenting issues. This topic has been discussed there before and there is a great thread from a dad that found out his son is gay and asked similar questions you have.

Just love her, and accept her as she is. She is the only one that can really say if she is gay, straight, bi or queer. And please believe her.
post #6 of 19
Originally Posted by Arduinna

Just love her, and accept her as she is. She is the only one that can really say if she is gay, straight, bi or queer. And please believe her.
I agree with what Arduinna said
post #7 of 19
My daughter is gay,
well bi,
atthis point.
A couple years ago she began her explorations, she will be 17 in July.
Then earlier this year my 12 year old son announced he was gay
<roll eyes>
he is so cute!
thankfully he is in a school where there are only 11 other kids and most are totally kewl with it,
now he claims he is 80% gay and "the rest straight"
Ive seen him checkin out both sexes,
i honestly dontcare and think he is a great little man whichever...

I really do question his true certainty of his sexuality and believethat his announcement was POSSIBLY based on the factthat he is dying to be accepted by his big sister and her friends, and wanted approval and attention from the older chics at the new school (he had previously homeschooled)

but I think its important for me to allow him to define his own sexuality and so I watch and will see what he thinks,
He knows I think he is cool eitherway!
as for my daughter, she has hadd a serious relationship with hergirlfrind for about a year, and also with the same boy for about a year, butI think the chic relationship is more serious,
<shrug shoulders>
I definately like hergirlfriend -way more than the dude...but thats a different story...
We had a friend whose family took 2 years to accept his call, his claim of being gay, and during that process where they doubted him and rejected his belief he was depressed and fell back in school -experimented with drugs (I know thats the age anyways, but something to consider) and eventually was calling talking about suicide to my daughter - he is now accepted totally by his mom, doing GREAT in school and a really fun person to be around by the way and totally gay <grin>
I think respecting our children as young adults and respecting THEIR sexuality as THEIR choice is important in so many ways,
I dont know about PFLAG but its probably a good thing,
best of luck
post #8 of 19
Originally Posted by Butterfly0071
I I want to deal with this in the right way. And I am ashamed to admit that so far I haven't.
Remember that she is the same person she was before you found out. SHE has not changed, it's just that you've gained some new knowledge about her. She needs to know that you still love her, still like her. Even if you can't yet talk about her lifestyle or her girlfriends, please make sure she knows she's got your love.

I agree with others--get some support from other parents of gays so you can talk openly about your shock/worries, whatever.

I keep hoping it will go away. I think she is young. How can she know she is gay?
Do you really hope a part of your dd will "go away?" Would it matter if gays were accepted as well as straights? Would you still want it to go away? I'm not sure if you're responding to your dd's gayness, or to society's opinion of gays. As to how can she know...how did YOU know that you were straight? How did you know you weren't gay? Most likely, she knows about herself in the same way.

If you can't yet support her or be there for her on this issue, then remind yourself of all you do love about her, and make very sure that she knows she still has your love. With that as a foundation, and with you getting some support for yourself, I think you'll be able to work up to acceptance and support of your dd.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you all very much for answering. I will try to respond to somethings you all posted.

My dd does know I discovered this. I asked her about it.

My dd is a wonderful person no matter if she is gay, bi or straight. She knows this. She is sweet, kind, funny, smart and has a heart that you only wish you would see in more people. And you are so right in that I do not wish to change anything about her. She is my angel, she always has been. How is that for describing your teen daughter?

I think I am responding more to society than my dd. I do not want her to be hurt by the way people treat her. She has such a kind heart and I want it to stay that way.

I have done things that in the eyes of society is wrong and I had to live with people talking about me, laughing at me, calling me names and pretty much making me an outcast, my friends and even my family. I do not want this for my dd. I know that no matter how much you act like it doesn't bother you, it does and I went home from somewhere many times in tears. I want to protect my dd from this.

I went to the queer parenting forum but could not find the post you were speaking of. What is it called?
post #10 of 19
Be supportive and don't make a big deal about this. I don't have a teen yet, but I am a young mother and I remember being a teen and being gay was a huge fad. If she is just doing this to fit in with her peers then the more horrified she thinks you are the more gay she will be. My friends and I both went through a stage like this and all of us are heterosexual now.
Also, if this is not a stage then there is nothing that you can do about it anyways so be supportive and go to groups with her and encourage her to be open with you, it will either make her realize that this is not going to push your buttons or it will make her realize that you love her no matter what and are only concerned for her happiness.
post #11 of 19
There is a stage in teenagers when they aren't sure about their sexuality, but they are the ones who have to make the choice and you should support him/her.
I have a couple of friends who are gay or bi and from what they told me and from what I’ve understood, parental support is very important. Gays aren't any different from str8 people except they like the same gender. But you should ask yourself; do you really want your son/daughter to feel bad with her/himself for being slightly different?
Some did suicide attempts only because they had no support from their parents.
Anyway, I hope you can deal with your child's 'self', as I’m sure she needs your support more than anything. But on the other hand, I think you shouldn't treat her ANY differently than a str8 teen so he/she won't feel more different than she does now.
PS: Many may disagree with me, but i think that if he/she haven't told you that he/she's gay and you still "suspect" him\her to be, don't ask. Juts wait a few years, then things may change.

I hope that helped.
post #12 of 19
I talked to a person who is openly bi for you. Here is a part of the chat log without disclosing the names and without timestamps for his privacy.

<me> i think this question would help her in a way:
<me> 1) If your parents "suspected" you of being gay/bi, what would make you feel better; for the parent to talk about it or for the parent to wait for you to tell her/him
<undisclosed> talk to the parents first
<undisclosed> i did
<me> you didnt understand her story... its a parent who thinks her daughter is gay
<me> so she should wait for the daughter to talk to her, right?
<undisclosed> no
<me> talk to her right away?
<undisclosed> mom should talk to her first
<me> okay
<me> do you have any other thoughts on this topic?
<undisclosed> its allway good to talk things out
<me> any other suggestions for her or anything?
<undisclosed> don't get mad at the kid
<me> Thanks. Do you mind me posting this chat logs without tiestamps and without disclosing the names?
<undisclosed> sure
<me> Thanks
post #13 of 19
Originally Posted by Arduinna
Just love her, and accept her as she is. She is the only one that can really say if she is gay, straight, bi or queer. And please believe her.
ditto!! and remember, she is still the xact same child you have loved with all of your heart since she was born.

and about whether she is too young to know - of course she does. the average age of awareness of same-sex sexual feelings is 10-12.
post #14 of 19
My daughter said to me one day "Mom, it's in the genes! I'm gay."

It surprised me. I did not think it would last. I didn't hope for an outcome one way or the other. That was over a year ago -- almost two years. She is 15 now. The reality is that, right now, she is bisexual. She has a girlfriend (nearly the last person on earth whom I would choose for my beautiful daughter : ) who is not good for her in so many ways. I take a little comfort in the fact that, despite what she may believe, I KNOW that this relationship is not permanent.

She has liked a couple of boys in the last year or so. She still very much checks out guys and includes them in the list of "Who's hot".

I encourage my daughter to not put labels on herself. At this age, I don't want herself putting her into a box. When we talk, it is usually in terms of that she "likes boys and girls" and we avoid the labels almost all of the time.

I forgot to tell her that the easy life she sees and experiences with us (me and my partner) is not the same life found behind the walls of a high school. I don't know how I forgot. I guess I didn't expect her to have to deal with it to much degree at school. However, her girlfriend recently started attending her school (again) . They are "out and proud" and they are definitely feeling the homophobia and the snotty remarks. So far, however, no threats or anything really horrible. The school is a "Safe School" with regard to gay/lesbian/bi youth and they are aware of their relationship so I feel secure that they are safe.

When I think of her future, I am not fearful of what society has in store for her. I have been with my partner for four years, live in the Seattle metro neighborhood, and have not ever experienced one incident of direct, blatant or confrontational homophobia. We all have a long long way to go for total acceptance and inclusion, but I am glad that her safety, in general, is not at stake.

My fears are centered around the KIND of person she chooses to be with and not the person's gender. I want her to experience her relationships or encounters with caring, happy, nice, respectful, productive, intelligent, honest, appreciative, kind, loving people--whether they be male or female.

I recently signed her up at a local "drop-in" center for gay/lesbian/bi/trans youth and I'm looking forward to her being able to hang out with other kids who she can relate to on that level. Additionally, there is a camp in Washington State which caters one week to children of LGBTQ parents and another week to youth who are LGBTQ or questioning same.

Hang in there and keep breathing. You sound like a very loving mom and I'm sure everything will be just fine.

Take care,

post #15 of 19
I agree with what others have said.

Love her.

Believe her. (Her identity may shift, or it may not. This is who she is right now.)

Support her.

If you feel weird or unsure or afraid about it, I think you can tell her you are struggling to work through some things so you can support her as well as possible. I think kids can understand this - for most of us coming out is a process, and I think she will hear that you love her enough to work on it.

And then call PFLAG or go to a meeting. They're great.

I hear that you are grieving for your daughter some, and are fearful for her future. It is true that coming out can be hard for kids, and yes the stats about suicide, substance abuse, withdrawing from school, running away/being kicked out from home are scary. But PARENTAL ACCEPTANCE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE for kids. Fear of rejection by parents is the biggest fear queer youth I have worked with have. If she knows you love and accept her she can deal with any crap from a position of power, and will find her community and her identity.

And please know that being gay in this world for most of us brings at least as much joy as pain over the long term. None of my friends would be straight if they could.
post #16 of 19
And if you have any questions about coming out/sexual orientation/queer culture, please don't hesitate to pm me. I can tell you anything about my experience you want to know.
post #17 of 19
Originally Posted by thismama
And please know that being gay in this world for most of us brings at least as much joy as pain over the long term. None of my friends would be straight if they could.
thismama, I think I love you for this. I have been shouting that from the rooftops for years - I didn't choose my sexuality, but I don't WANT to change, and if given the chance, I wouldn't. Yea, I got a lot of crap in highschool, but so what? It's just highschool for cripes sake. The crap I've gotten since then has been different, more pervasive and more subtle - but honestly, I think I'm discriminated against just as much because I'm female, and because I'm fat. And I wouldn't change either of those even if I could, either! Let's change the screwed up world, not our beautiful selves.

Curious Me - you're probably right about your daughter's girlfriend, but I wanted to share with you that the kids in highschool whose parents did the most "you're too young, it'll never last" "your relationship is only temporary" stuff were the ones who clung longest and hardest to shitty relationships. And (and I sometimes hate to admit it) I'm still with my first real relationship, from when I was 16. It's not likely, but it can happen. Take that for whatever you think it's worth.

And for whatever this is worth, I've been absolutely sure of my sexuality since I was about, oh, 10. I just didn't have a good label for it (or a strong desire to act on it, thank God!) until a few years later. I actually know of no one who wasn't sure of their sexuality at 13, 14, 15 - just lots of kids who weren't sure how well they would be accepted, and wanted to "test the waters" so to speak.

ETA I just wanted to add that I knew my sexuality at around 10, but I had it even before then. There are many things in my childhood, going back to at least preschool, that I can point to in my memory and go "Yup! I was quasi-queer back then, too!" :LOL
post #18 of 19
Originally Posted by Butterfly0071
I think she is young. How can she know she is gay?
i realize this is an old thread, i found it looking for a different thread, i just want to say that when i told my dad at 15 that i was a lesbian, i told him because he asked me, i think he said "do you think you are gay or something" i said that yes i was a lesbian he responded by telling me i was to young to know if i was gay and that i wasn't he has no memory of this conversation but it really was horble for me, and it took me 10 years to bring it up with him and tell him how much it hurt me, my dad has always had a lot of gay friends he is really open minded, he just didn't want to have a lesbian for a daughter, he is a good dad and we are pretty close, i brought up how much it hurt me because my younger brother was 13 and i am pretty sure he is straight but i wanted to make sure my dad wouldn't make the same mistake with me
post #19 of 19
Some of my friends were attracted to the same gender as early as age 5 or 6... when they started having "crushes" on teachers, etc. Some came out as bisexual in their teens and later settled on a gay identity. Some of my college friends were bisexual in practice but felt more comfortable with a "gay" or "lesbian" identity.

I've found that it's much harder for a parent to comprehend bisexuality than homosexuality. If your kid is gay, that's something you have a concept for. But if your kid is not one or the other, that can be very confusing.

Just let your child know that you love them no matter who they choose to love. Express interest in their love life... don't clam up just because you don't understand or approve of their sexuality (your child will pick up on it). Be kind to the friends or significant others that they bring home. Your child has not "changed." They're just putting words to their feelings.
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