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#1 of 15 Old 04-12-2014, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been feeling a desire to start a thread about raising non-straight kids in a region with strong religious fundamentalist undertones. Dd is okay with me starting this thread, by the way. I think this might be the best place to start it in because the Religious Studies forum allows for a more open discussion of controversial topics like religion.

 

About dd: dd was unschooled for the first 13 years of her life. But she wanted the school experience, so last fall, at age 13, she started the 8th grade in our inner city school district's fine and performing arts magnet school. A couple of weeks before starting school, she told dh and I, and all her friends, that she had realized she was a lesbian.

 

The realization had come to her during the course of a close friendship that she'd developed over the last several months with a bi girl in our homeschooling group who was two years older than her. Her friend had let dd know that she was attracted to her, and dd had said, "I'm not gay or bi," and her friend had said, "I know; I just wanted you to know." After their discussion, dd started having romantic feelings for her friend, but said nothing because her friend had a boyfriend at that time. But when her friend decided to break up with her boyfriend late last summer, dd decided to tell her how she felt and that was when she told everyone else, too.

 

They spent a very intense couple of weeks messaging each other back and forth on Facebook, but didn't have much chance for face to face contact because the friend's family had a vacation during that time. Then the other girl's dad forced her to break up with dd, pulled her out of the homeschooling group, and even had her start a new Facebook account on which dd wasn't included. Since that time, they did end up having a little contact by email and the friend told dd that she'd like to be friends but that she'd realized she preferred boys over girls.

 

So anyhow, dd started school fresh from that heartbreak, and by her second week in had decided to be completely open about her homosexuality so that she'd know who her real friends were. Right off, she learned that this fine and performing arts magnet has many openly gay males. She has also had some girls confide in her about being bi or bi-curious. I think she has only met one other girl who's lesbian like she is. She said most of the bi girls seem to be dating boys.

 

Dd started out developing one friendship with a bi girl that she'd thought was going to be a close friendship; then she found out the other girl was talking about her behind her back and saying she just wanted to be friends "at a distance." After that, dd went for quite some time feeling like she had a group of kids whom she "knew" and ate lunch with and so on, but whom she wasn't going to assume were her friends.

 

Then, towards the end of the first semester, she started referring to certain kids as her actual friends. She slept over at one friend's house and then this friend came and spent the night at our house. Dh also took two of her friends to the movies with her. Then, more recently, one of these friends (not the one who's already slept over) told dd that her mom isn't comfortable letting her stay for the sleepover after dd's upcoming birthday party, because of dd being a lesbian.

 

So dd is now considering not being "out" next school year. Because nearly all of her friends are changing schools in the fall, she thinks she'll be getting to know all new kids and she just won't tell them and then their moms will let them sleep over. I'm not really sure if this will work, because throughout this past school year, dd has had a lot of kids who were complete strangers coming up and asking her if it was really true that she was a lesbian. And if she's questioned next year, I don't think she really has it in her to lie about who she is.

 

About the religious issue: dd was recently confronted in P.E. class by a girl who asked her, "Do you really not care that you're going to hell for being gay?" When dd told us, I was ready to talk to the school, but dd said she'd rather handle it herself, and she actually handled it really well. She talked with both P.E. teachers, who talked with the girl. The girl later accused dd of "trying to get her in trouble." Dd said she just didn't like being told she was going to hell, and the girl said, "I didn't say you were going to hell, I just said that's what's gonna happen" and started telling dd that she didn't have to go to hell; she could change...and dd said, "but I don't want to change." And one of the teachers intervened and told the other girl to drop it.

 

After this happened, dd started questioning her Christian friends -- they actually all seem to be Christians -- regarding their beliefs about homosexuality. While a couple seemed to be more liberal Christians who didn't see homosexuality as a sin, the majority seemed to feel like It was a sin but that you wouldn't go to hell for it -- that "God would forgive you if you just kept saying you were sorry."

 

At this point, dd said she hates the Bible and she hates Christianity, even though she does understand that there are liberal and accepting Christians, because, as she put it, "The Bible is the reason why some people hate me when they don't even know me." We are UU and I am very happy that she'll soon be attending our local Youth Empowerment Summit on LGBT issues. I'm hoping that this will be a place where she can build friendships with more non-straight teens in our city. Several months ago, I'd tried to get her hooked up with some sort of a support group for lesbian teens, but wasn't able to find any.

 

Our Midwestern city definitely does have liberal pockets -- obviously, our UU church is one -- but there's also this strong "Bible Belt" mentality that can cause a lot of pain to anyone who veers too far from the fundamentalist norm. I imagine some other parents of LGBT teens are dealing with similar issues, and I hope this thread can be a good place for us to support and help each other. I also want others to feel welcome to participate, so long as everyone is respectful.

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#2 of 15 Old 04-12-2014, 03:07 PM
 
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Hi!  I've never raised a lesbian teen, but I am a lesbian and a Christian.  I came out when I was in grad school so I don't know much about what it is like to be an out teen, but things have changed a lot since I was a teen.  I would suggest looking for some resources for support with PFLAG.  Also, is there a Metropolitan Community Church anywhere near you?  I am from Ohio and I know they have some there.  It is a Christian church that is also LGBT.  They are all over the country.  I have met a lot of incredible people through the church.  They have wonderful leaders and ministers who really know their their stuff.  They could give your DD some info to use with her Christian friends.




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#3 of 15 Old 04-12-2014, 03:48 PM
 
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I'm bfing right now, but this is a great thread idea. Will come back with my 2 cents from having been an out queer teen when I have both hands free. smile.gif

Me treehugger.gif + DH reading.gif= DD faint.gif (1/2004) & DS babyf.gif (6/2013)
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#4 of 15 Old 04-12-2014, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, there is an MCC church in our area.  However, we also have some openly gay people in our UU congregation, and dd's youth group is pretty supportive. I'm hoping that she'll make some really good connections at the Youth Empowerment Summit on LGBT issues coming up, but I will also keep MCC in mind as a possible resource. Thanks for reminding me about it.

 

It does seem rather uncommon for girls to be openly out at age 13 like dd is -- but it doesn't seem at all uncommon for boys, at least, not at dd's fine and performing arts school. I wonder what's up with that? I also wonder why it's so much more common for the girls to be bi, whereas quite a few of the boys are comfortable with being completely gay. I wonder if it has something to do with our misogynistic culture? Many of the kids at dd's school seem to think it's perfectly okay for a girl to be attracted to other girls, just so long as she's also attracted to boys.

 

If you don't mind my asking, pokeyAC, were you Christian before realizing you were a lesbian, or did you make your conversion later? I'd love hearing your story if you'd like to share it!

 

LTurtle,  I look forward to hearing from you soon!


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#5 of 15 Old 04-12-2014, 09:04 PM
 
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It does seem rather uncommon for girls to be openly out at age 13 like dd is -- but it doesn't seem at all uncommon for boys, at least, not at dd's fine and performing arts school. I wonder what's up with that? I also wonder why it's so much more common for the girls to be bi, whereas quite a few of the boys are comfortable with being completely gay. I wonder if it has something to do with our misogynistic culture? Many of the kids at dd's school seem to think it's perfectly okay for a girl to be attracted to other girls, just so long as she's also attracted to boys.

 

If you don't mind my asking, pokeyAC, were you Christian before realizing you were a lesbian, or did you make your conversion later? I'd love hearing your story if you'd like to share it!

 

 

Boys do tend to come out sooner than girls.  I'm not sure why.  You may be onto something with our culture having an effect on how people come out.  Two women together is a fantasy for some people so it's acceptable as long as the women don't totally turn their backs on men and become lesbians, then it can become a problem, especially if you don't look like the average straight woman.  In my experience, too, some people come out as bi and then come out as gay or lesbian later.  It can be a stepping stone that makes the coming out process a little gentler.  Some people are bi and they maintain that identity.  

 

I was raised Catholic but never felt totally comfortable in the church.  I became a Christian in high school.  I came out in grad school.  I never saw being Christian and being lesbian as in conflict with each other.  We are all made in God's image and God made me the way I am.  I started attending MCC after I moved to California from Ohio after finishing school.  I made a lot of great friends there.  I haven't attended church regularly for a few years.  I am looking for a church closer to home that my wife and I both like where we can take or son.  My mom sings at a United Church of Christ and we are considering checking some of those out because they are open and affirming. 




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#6 of 15 Old 04-13-2014, 06:08 AM
 
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I don't have any experience with this but wow your dd sounds really strong and confident! That could be why boys come out sooner? Maybe it's a self confidence thing?

Dealing with religion is a tough one for sure! I have a friend that is very religious and she wasn't very nice to a co worker do to him coming out to us. I thought it was horrible personally for someone so reglious not be accepting to another human being no matter what there sexual preference may be. I know the bible says this and that..... But what about being kind and nonjudgmental? My other aggument with my friend was why do you even care what someone else's preferences are, it really shouldn't matter.

Good luck to you and your family!
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#7 of 15 Old 04-13-2014, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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About being bi, I didn't mean to sound like I was equating it with insecurity. Dd initially told us she was bi, then soon after said she might actually be straight-up lesbian, then soon after said she was just lesbian.

 

She has since commented that people think "bi" means "confused," and she doesn't like anyone labeling her as confused. She also really hates it when people (such as her ex-girlfriend's dad) say that you can't really know if you're gay till you start having sex. And I agree with dd. If a virgin can fall in love with someone of the opposite sex, it stands to reason that it's just as real when a virgin falls in love with someone of the same sex.

 

I felt like dd's previous girlfriend's dad was not being the brightest of dads when he essentially told his 15 yo that she needed to become sexually active in order to know what her preference was. I mean, I'm not one of those parents who insists that I want my children to remain "untouched" till age 30 or something -- but I definitely don't want them to feel pushed into sexual exploration before they're ready, either. I don't want them to feel like moving into that territory is the only way they can have a strong sense of who they are. I mean, I do understand that our sexual experiences and more importantly, our intimate relationships, do reveal valuable things to us about ourselves and about life, but getting to know ourselves is actually a lifelong journey. I'm nearly 50 and I'm still discovering new layers!

 

And I'm also not saying that it's the end of the world if a child does jump into an early experience and regrets it later. That can be part of getting to know ourselves, too. I just really believe that since we're all going to make mistakes, they might as well be our own mistakes and not mistakes we made because we were parroting someone else's ignorant assumptions.

 

I'm sure dd will do just fine at sorting out who she's attracted to and who she wants to spend her life with.

 

pokeyAC, how exciting that you never saw any conflict between being a Christian and being a lesbian! What a wonderful spiritual community you must have gotten plugged into! Good luck in finding a new and wonderful community now with your wife and son!

 

lovemylab, I'm so sorry about your friend's meanness to her gay coworker. It's good that she had you to call her on it. I think the more we're willing to speak out about the unfairness we see, the more it will make people think.


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#8 of 15 Old 04-13-2014, 01:59 PM
 
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That took courage by your daughter to come out like that. I am full of admiration for her. :)

 

I attend a middle-high Anglican church that has connections with the ecumenical community of Taizé in France, but only recently have I become a Christian. I can understand what led your daughter to hate the Bible and church and lose her faith, for there is much hatred and unfair judgement against us. Please tell her from me that to have faith in Jesus is nothing to be ashamed about or turn one's back from, that even in our weakness we are strong for in Christ we can do anything providing we give up the belief we can't do it.

 

Because of being so utterly tired and stressed out by the time the weekend is upon me, I don't always manage to get up in time for the early morning service. But I frequent ODB online and recommend this to your daughter.

 

http://odb.org/2014/04/13/determination/

 

No matter what denomination or level of belief, these bible devotions help build us up, young or older, every day. Wish your daughter well from me. :)

 

Alex

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#9 of 15 Old 04-13-2014, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much, Alex! I really liked your post in Parenting. I just saw it for the first time a little while ago, so that's why I hadn't responded before.

 

As far as faith in Jesus, our family's journey in that respect has been kind of an interesting one. Dh and I were both fundamentalist Christians when we married -- then becoming a mother started a major landslide in me in which I gradually saw that a loving God would never send one of his precious children to hell.

 

Then a few years back, before I had any inkling that one of my children might be gay, the title of the book "What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality" jumped out at me at our local library. I read it, and started reading other things, and watched the movie "For the Bible Tells me So," and basically got involved in an exploration that seemed at the time to be totally intellectual and theoretical, as at that time I didn't have anyone close to me who was gay. Dh joined me in this journey, and I'm so happy we took the plunge and worked through all that so that we could feel so open and relaxed when our own precious dd came out a few years later. One of my lesbian friends joked that in our "other" life, we'd have called it "a God-thing." I actually DO still see it that way, even though I no longer see God as a separate entity from myself and everything and everyone around me.

 

While we were on our journey of questioning, we kind of dropped out of church for a few years, so our girls haven't exactly grown up steeped in Christian teachings. Dd1 does remember feeling really scared when she was in Sunday School at around age 5 or so and a teacher informed the kids that they could go to hell for lying. I feel so sad that, in our ignorance, we exposed her to that fear-based teaching, and so glad that we are all now moving into greater and greater peace and freedom.

 

What led us into UU a few years back was that, although dd1 didn't miss the fear-based teaching, she did miss going to church, and so I started looking around for a spiritual community where we'd really have room to grow and continue to be welcome regardless of where our own individual spiritual journeys took us. After visiting some other places, we tried our local UU church, and dd1 immediately loved it and basically insisted that she always wanted to go every Sunday and never wanted to miss. She can really be herself there, and it's wonderful because the children and youth program is flexible enough that it allows all the kids plenty of unstructured time just to socialize, play, and hang out.

 

In UU, the main thing we're united around is social justice and service to others. There's plenty of room to be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu, Atheist -- you name it -- so long as you're respecting of others' beliefs. I am currently really enjoying learning about mystic Christianity and about the unity between Jesus' teachings and Eastern philosophy. Dd1 doesn't believe in God at this time. The neat thing is, we are both welcome in the same church without needing to change what we believe!

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#10 of 15 Old 04-14-2014, 03:59 PM
 
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mamma1_mama-I was trying not to use bi as something equated with uncertainty. That's a myth of bisexuality that bi folks are trying to dispel because it makes it sound like someone who identifies as bi just isn't sure and eventually they will make up their minds. I never identified as bi because I didn't want to seem uncertain. That was my biphobia I suppose you could say. I had a boyfriend once, who I met at youth group, but I identify as lesbian. I agree with you that you don't have to be sexually active to know your sexuality. It's not about sex. For me, it's about who I want to build a life with, and that's a woman.
I am glad that I never felt like I couldn't be gay and Christian. I wasn't involved with a church or any spiritual community when I came out. After I moved to the San Francisco area, I started going to MCC, and it was a great way to find community for me. I think I just always grew up knowing that it was ok to be gay. My mom is a singer and she has always had gay friends, and she has always sung in churches. I never really got the message that it was bad or that you would go to hell. I was raised Catholic, and we never really talked about homosexuality. I know the church isn't keen on it, but I don't remember being lectured on it in church or CCD. I never got the you're going to hell/fire and brimstone lectures that some of my Christian friends did as children. And I don't think the youth group I was in in high school would have been very supportive. I guess I just found my own way. Maybe if I had been brought up in a born-again type of Christian home, it would have been different. I do still have some struggles. I have a sister who is a conservative Christian and she believe being gay is a sin. It can get very tense at times. I know she loves me and my family. I wish she could change her views, but I can't tell her what to believe.
I enjoyed hearing about your spiritual journey. It's wonderful that you and DH were able to grow together spiritually. It sounds like you have the tools you need to raise a gay daughter. When I first read your post, I thought of the book you mention above about what the Bible really says. I was going to suggest it, but you've already read it. I went to a UU women's group in college, and I think you are in a good place. I don't think your DD needs to got to MCC to find a supportive community, but I was thinking that they might be able to help her deal with her Christian friends who are giving her a hard time. I'm sure they've heard all the arguments. My hope is that all people, especially gay people, find a spiritual community that accepts them for who they are. I went to school with someone from grade school through high school and he was a Jehovah's Witness. He killed himself 10 years ago. I heard it was because his church rejected him for being gay. It broke my heart. I felt that if he could have come to my church and felt as loved as I did, he would still be alive. No one should have to go through that.



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#11 of 15 Old 04-15-2014, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, I'm so sorry about your classmate! And I never got the impression that you equated being bi with being confused -- I was just thinking that I might have given the impression that I saw it that way. It was just interesting to me to learn that, at least from what I've heard thus far, there seem to be more bi girls and more totally gay boys. But I honestly don't have any actual stats on this.


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#12 of 15 Old 04-15-2014, 10:12 AM
 
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I've been feeling a desire to start a thread about raising non-straight kids in a region with strong religious fundamentalist undertones. Dd is okay with me starting this thread, by the way. I think this might be the best place to start it in because the Religious Studies forum allows for a more open discussion of controversial topics like religion.

About dd: dd was unschooled for the first 13 years of her life. But she wanted the school experience, so last fall, at age 13, she started the 8th grade in our inner city school district's fine and performing arts magnet school. A couple of weeks before starting school, she told dh and I, and all her friends, that she had realized she was a lesbian.

The realization had come to her during the course of a close friendship that she'd developed over the last several months with a bi girl in our homeschooling group who was two years older than her. Her friend had let dd know that she was attracted to her, and dd had said, "I'm not gay or bi," and her friend had said, "I know; I just wanted you to know." After their discussion, dd started having romantic feelings for her friend, but said nothing because her friend had a boyfriend at that time. But when her friend decided to break up with her boyfriend late last summer, dd decided to tell her how she felt and that was when she told everyone else, too.

They spent a very intense couple of weeks messaging each other back and forth on Facebook, but didn't have much chance for face to face contact because the friend's family had a vacation during that time. Then the other girl's dad forced her to break up with dd, pulled her out of the homeschooling group, and even had her start a new Facebook account on which dd wasn't included. Since that time, they did end up having a little contact by email and the friend told dd that she'd like to be friends but that she'd realized she preferred boys over girls.

So anyhow, dd started school fresh from that heartbreak, and by her second week in had decided to be completely open about her homosexuality so that she'd know who her real friends were. Right off, she learned that this fine and performing arts magnet has many openly gay males. She has also had some girls confide in her about being bi or bi-curious. I think she has only met one other girl who's lesbian like she is. She said most of the bi girls seem to be dating boys.

Dd started out developing one friendship with a bi girl that she'd thought was going to be a close friendship; then she found out the other girl was talking about her behind her back and saying she just wanted to be friends "at a distance." After that, dd went for quite some time feeling like she had a group of kids whom she "knew" and ate lunch with and so on, but whom she wasn't going to assume were her friends.

Then, towards the end of the first semester, she started referring to certain kids as her actual friends. She slept over at one friend's house and then this friend came and spent the night at our house. Dh also took two of her friends to the movies with her. Then, more recently, one of these friends (not the one who's already slept over) told dd that her mom isn't comfortable letting her stay for the sleepover after dd's upcoming birthday party, because of dd being a lesbian.

So dd is now considering not being "out" next school year. Because nearly all of her friends are changing schools in the fall, she thinks she'll be getting to know all new kids and she just won't tell them and then their moms will let them sleep over. I'm not really sure if this will work, because throughout this past school year, dd has had a lot of kids who were complete strangers coming up and asking her if it was really true that she was a lesbian. And if she's questioned next year, I don't think she really has it in her to lie about who she is.

About the religious issue: dd was recently confronted in P.E. class by a girl who asked her, "Do you really not care that you're going to hell for being gay?" When dd told us, I was ready to talk to the school, but dd said she'd rather handle it herself, and she actually handled it really well. She talked with both P.E. teachers, who talked with the girl. The girl later accused dd of "trying to get her in trouble." Dd said she just didn't like being told she was going to hell, and the girl said, "I didn't say you were going to hell, I just said that's what's gonna happen" and started telling dd that she didn't have to go to hell; she could change...and dd said, "but I don't want to change." And one of the teachers intervened and told the other girl to drop it.

After this happened, dd started questioning her Christian friends -- they actually all seem to be Christians -- regarding their beliefs about homosexuality. While a couple seemed to be more liberal Christians who didn't see homosexuality as a sin, the majority seemed to feel like It was a sin but that you wouldn't go to hell for it -- that "God would forgive you if you just kept saying you were sorry."

At this point, dd said she hates the Bible and she hates Christianity, even though she does understand that there are liberal and accepting Christians, because, as she put it, "The Bible is the reason why some people hate me when they don't even know me." We are UU and I am very happy that she'll soon be attending our local Youth Empowerment Summit on LGBT issues. I'm hoping that this will be a place where she can build friendships with more non-straight teens in our city. Several months ago, I'd tried to get her hooked up with some sort of a support group for lesbian teens, but wasn't able to find any.

Our Midwestern city definitely does have liberal pockets -- obviously, our UU church is one -- but there's also this strong "Bible Belt" mentality that can cause a lot of pain to anyone who veers too far from the fundamentalist norm. I imagine some other parents of LGBT teens are dealing with similar issues, and I hope this thread can be a good place for us to support and help each other. I also want others to feel welcome to participate, so long as everyone is respectful.

I haven't read all the replies, but I am just so moved and impressed by your daughter and your relationship to her. I also grew up in an area where most of my peers were Christians, and my own parents are fundamentalists who have low, polite tolerance of gay and lesbian people, but whom I have yet to come out to (seems pointless now that I am married to a man and my dad is very old and set in his ways.)

Way back when, I was one of those bi girls who mostly dated guys, but I did have legitimate feelings towards girls too. I was open to my friends, in love with one friend, and had a first mutual love who was a woman. As an adult I continued to date women and men. I have seen many bi-curious girls go on to live effectively heterosexual lives like I do now, and I think it's too bad not more of us speak up about our identities. It probably makes it seem as if few bi women would ever give a lesbian a real chance, and probably frustraes the hell out of women who can't "pass" when it's convenient, or who thinks it's damaging for anyone to stay in the closet.

I am sorry for that. I say all this because
on the heart break front, your daughter will probably kno bi women of all levels along the Kinsey scale, and I hope the confusion doesn't lead her to the very popular conclusion that bi women are not to be trusted. There's too much of that intolerance in the queer community.

But for her own healing heart, it's important to know that if a girl crush dates a man, it's not about your daughter personally or even about women overall, but rather a matter of personal preference in the moment and yes, probably also as a reaction to the fear of having an open gay relationship, especially in oppressive environments.

Not all teens are as well prepared to face the world as your daughter! And some shouldn't, especially I they are in danger of being sent to rehabilitation camps or in danger of other oppression from religious parents.

On the topic of sleepovers, as bi girls, we did abuse the fact that we were allowed to sleep over at each other's houses, so I actually understand that concern.

However, me and my ex were both surrounded by unsupportive religious parents, so honesty was not a viable alternative.

I would try and broker things with the other girl's parents directly, and go on a case by case basis. Sleepovers kind of lost their charm in my circle of friends by High School, so it may not be an issue for very long. I remember only best friends continuing this into our teens. New friends or casual aquaintances weren't "grandfathered" in.

Finally, on the topic of religion intolerance, that is, intolerance of religious people and their artifacts, I would suggest something you probably already know to do. That is, encourage your daughter to try an understand and forgive religious beliefs which condemn her. It seems impossible probably, but being hostile against religion is not a good future for our secular nation. I struggle with this still myself. And I worry a lot that we are heading for a huge rift between secularism and religion in the USA. But at the end of the day, people do have a right to their beliefs. We have a duty to make sure those beliefs don't harm others, not to eradicate religious beliefs.

I feel as though reform needs to come from within. If religion ever tolerates homosexuality on a grand scale it won't be because of angry atheists but because of compassionate insiders.
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#13 of 15 Old 04-15-2014, 10:23 AM
 
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Also, regarding why more women are bi, I think it's partly biological. Women are biologically more flexible in their sexuality than men. I don't have stats in front of me, but I've seen many studies along the lines of "What arouses women" concluding "Just about anything" compared to men, who are aroused mostly by specific, explicit desires. To me that makes a lot of sense, and explains why women are capable of having gay loves and straight loves while men are more likely to fixate on either gay or straight relationships. Even among adults, there are more bi women than men.

However, I do think part of that may be oppression, like, men feel more comfortable saying they enjoy sex for it's own sake, while women feel more pressure to be fertile and multiply, therefore need to meet men. But maybe it's not all cultural. This is jut wild speculation, but maybe it's a evolutionary drive thing too. I know some forms of feminism frown on what I am about to say, but I am too pragmatic to turn a blind eye to the evidence that women experience the intersection of desire and reproduction differently than men do.

Like, I've been bi forever, but I also always knew I wanted to have children naturally. For a while, I thought my only options were some form of polyamory, but now I am very happy and satisfied in my monogamous straight relationship. Before meeting my husband, when I was dating women as well, I never felt like AI or adoption would satisfy my desire to be a mother, and that DID stand in the way of me taking a lesbian relationship to the "lifelong monogamy" level. Some people seem to have little to none of this "biological imperative," but I don't think it's a coincidence that this drive affected my choices of mate, and I am sure I am not the only one.

Anyway, sorry to derail this. But suffice it to say that this kind of complex study of my circumstances was flat out impossible in my environment as a teen, so I am just glad your kid has better options!!

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#14 of 15 Old 04-15-2014, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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cynthiamoon, I really appreciate everything you have to say! About bi women being at all stages of the Kinsey scale, dd did feel rather uncomfortable when a bi-curious girl recently told her that she'd like to experiment. Dd already knows that she becomes too emotionally attached to be someone's "experiment." With her first girlfriend, she really had her heart set on this being her first, last, and only love, and I think she still hopes to meet that one girl early on and just stay together forever.

 

As far as brokering things with the mom who doesn't want her daughter spending the night, I'm just not sure. I guess there's a part of me that doesn't feel so forgiving and just wants to cut people like that out of our lives, but I know I need to respect dd's feelings on the matter. I'm honestly not sure how badly she wants to keep this friend in her life.

 

I also may differ from some parents in that I don't see a need to be constantly checking on teens like you do with younger children. Of course, I'm talking here about when one or two or so friends come over for a visit, not a great big party where some kids we hardly know might drop in and try to smuggle in drugs or something. Our house is not really big enough for us to host that huge of a party anyway.

 

My main concern as a parent of a teen hosting a get-together with a few friends is that no one is forced or pressured into anything they're not comfortable with -- and, of course, that there's no illegal behavior. And we don't have any illegal substances in our house, and we don't make alcohol available, either. I know my dd well enough to know that she is absolutely not interested in any romantic or sexual contact with anyone who doesn't really want to be with her, so there is no possibility that she would try to coerce any of her friends into anything. She's also sure enough of herself not to give in to anyone who might try to pressure her into anything against her better judgment, so as long as I feel comfortable enough with her friend or friends to know that they're not rapists, I'm okay with them spending loads of time alone together in her room, without me needing to keep popping my head in like I did when she was younger, and like I still do with dd2.

 

I'm not sure how reassuring this would be to someone who apparently sees my daughter in the light of a potential predator. Of course, I do kind of see the analogy that may be going through some people's heads: most people wouldn't allow sleepovers between kids of the opposite sex (and the same sex is kind of like the opposite sex if you're gay) -- but I actually would allow opposite sex sleepovers with boys I'm comfortable with, and I even felt this way even before dd came out as gay. She has a friend -- she was closer to him previously than she is now -- who she really, really wanted to come hang out and also to sleep over. I talked with his mom and invited him on some different occasions. I finally gave up because she kept turning us down. She'd initially explained that she was leery about sending her kids to others'  houses without her or her husband being there because of some horrible experiences she'd had as a child.

 

At first, I felt like maybe she needed to get to know us better. But we've been friends for, like, three years now. Her son is 14. I'm honestly not sure what harm she thinks could befall him at our house, but oh well. He has come to two of her birthday parties and a couple of other get-togethers at our house, fully supervised by one or both of his parents, as well as us all spending lots of time together at the park and in some other settings, and that's it. To each his or her own, I guess. But anyhow, not to derail my own thread, what I'm saying is that as long as I'm comfortable with one of my dd's opposite sex friends, whether my dd is gay or straight, I'm comfortable with them sleeping over. But she did have one male friend from school who came over a couple of afternoons, and wanted her to spend the night at his house, and we said no, because I didn't feel comfortable with some signs I'd noticed about him not respecting personal space, such as when he took several puffs off her asthma inhaler and continued doing so when she tried to stop him. After he left, dd said she really hadn't wanted to go but just didn't want to turn him down herself, either.

 

So for teens to spend lots of time alone together, I do think they need to be respectful of others' feelings and boundaries. I know that my dd is a respectful person, and I'm pretty good at picking up vibes about whether or not her friends are respectful. She's actually pretty good at this herself. If a group of teens respect one another and also respect the law, I see no harm in them being able to hang out in a room alone together, especially in a situation where a trustworthy adult is nearby and available if needed. But I have a very, very trustworthy teenager, so maybe my perspective about teenagers is kind of skewed. I am, however, pretty new at being the parent of a teen, so advice and thoughts are very welcome..


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#15 of 15 Old 04-26-2014, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, it's the morning after dd's slumber party and I think everyone had a great time. The friend whose parents were concerned about dd being a lesbian did let her come to the first few hours of the party yesterday, and then her mom picked her up. Three other girls did stay the night.

 

When the other girl's mom was on her way to pick her up (they were communicating by cell phone), I suggested that she have her mom come in so we could meet, and she checked with her mom and her mom didn't want to come in because she had her baby in the car with her, so I went out and met her at her car, and we chatted for a few minutes.

 

In the process of the chat, dd, one of the other girls, and I all learned that this mom reads all of her daughter's private messages on Facebook -- I guess she was letting her daughter's friends know that she knew everything they were talking about. Her revelation made me aware that my total unwillingness to delve into my own dd's private communication, and my belief that dd has a right to decide what she does or doesn't want to share with me, probably wouldn't set well with this mom or seem like adequate parental supervision.

 

Everyone just has such different ideas about what constitutes proper supervision for teens, and some parents really never do feel comfortable letting their children spend the night away from home, at any age. In our own case, with the family bed and everything, our girls started out with a very strong attachment and weren't all that eager to spend the night away from home at the ages when we would have felt much more anxious about sending them. Dd2, at age 9, still hasn't done so. And regarding dd1, who has just turned 14, now that she is comfortable doing so with friends she trusts, she is also at a maturity level where we have little to no anxiety about sending her anywhere -- save into situations where we're not sure that her personal boundaries would be respected, such as the situation with her former friend that I referred to in my last post.

 

So, anyhow, I've decided to relax and let go of my feelings of resentment over the discrimination against my dd. I'm really impressed that dd has been so mellow about the whole thing. Before the party, when this friend was still hoping her parents might decide to let her sleep over after all, dd said, "Tell them I find you as attractive as a potato, so they have nothing to worry about." Who knows, maybe now that we've met, they'll decide that our home is a safe place after all -- or not. It's really more about them than about us, IMO.


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