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#1 of 27 Old 07-02-2012, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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my 15 year old daughter came out to my in-laws this weekend. not a problem, as one of her uncles is gay and the family has been supportive after a rocky coming-out many years ago.

 

i am worried about my own family's reaction when they find out. this is a huge, disgusting sin in their southern-baptist eyes and i *do not want* my baby getting preached at. i know what my grandparents think about my gay brother-in-law(they all have met several times at my kids' birthdays, baby showers, sports games,...) maybe this will make some of them re-think some things, but i keep thinking how when my bil first came out, one of his brothers said, "i love you, anyway." as if there was a reason to not love him? that was long ago. the thought of one of my family members saying that to my child enrages me. or telling her she is going to hell.

 

do i warn and threaten them? do i let my daughter handle it all alone? i love my grandparents and my mother but if they were to hurt my daughter i don't see how we could go on. any thoughts?


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#2 of 27 Old 07-02-2012, 07:46 PM
 
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I don't want to read without posting.  Maybe post this in Queer Parenting also?  I imagine this depends in large part on your daughter. I know I'd want to protect my 15 y.o. from hostile behavior as well! 

 

I wish your daughter the best of luck!
 


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#3 of 27 Old 07-02-2012, 10:18 PM
 
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do i warn and threaten them? do i let my daughter handle it all alone? i love my grandparents and my mother but if they were to hurt my daughter i don't see how we could go on. any thoughts?

 

I don't think that you can warn or threaten them without outing your DD, and I personally wouldn't do that unless it is what she wants. I think talking to your DD about how they might respond and how she feels about that is the next step. I'm guessing that because you live in The South, their response may be somewhat  typical of people your DD will come across. It may be helpful for her to think through and plan how she wants to deal with this.

 

As far as cutting off relatives for being hurtful, it may take time to set up ground rules that everyone can live with and follow. I have cut off family members and I find it draining. I wouldn't recommend it if they lose it when they hear this news *if they are able to pivot and move forward in a respectful way.*  I think that freaking out when shocked is one thing, but continuing to be hurtful and rude when one has had time to think through their actions is quite another.

 

I think there is most likely a middle path, of realizing that your DD can hear hurtful things and not be crushed by them, yet setting boundaries were hurtful behavior is not allowed to continue. Your DD is stronger than you realize, but there's no reason to let mean people dictate every holiday and family gathering for the rest of your life.

 

And good for you for letting your DD be who she is. thumb.gif


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#4 of 27 Old 07-03-2012, 09:08 AM
 
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Being different requires a high level of patience and forgiveness. There are a lot worse things a person could say than "I love you anyway." I wouldn't be too hard on the family about that. My Catholic in-laws "love me anyway" despite my being an Atheist. We all forgive traits we don't agree with or habits which annoy us in the people we love. In situations like this, it's really important not to stress about wording and hyper-analyzing responses. Especially their initial responses. Believe me, if you go in ready to fume over their wording then you will have no choice but to be furious and destroy relationships despite potential. Instead, expect stupid comments and ignorant concerns. Go in prepared to let them go. Instead, focus on the sentiment. It's a big deal for an anti-gay family to say "we still love you" EVEN if you are annoyed by the "anyway." Take it for what it is... a step in the right direction and the potential for growth. 

 

You might joke with your DD over all the stupid things they could possibly say. Maybe mimic what you think they'd look like in an exaggerated fashion. Laughing about the worst case scenario before it happens might turn something ugly into more of an inside joke between you and your DD.... sort of highlight the ridiculous. That's how we handle such situations in our family anyway... a little humor can make you stronger.

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#5 of 27 Old 07-04-2012, 01:58 PM
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Being different requires a high level of patience and forgiveness. There are a lot worse things a person could say than "I love you anyway." I wouldn't be too hard on the family about that. My Catholic in-laws "love me anyway" despite my being an Atheist. We all forgive traits we don't agree with or habits which annoy us in the people we love. In situations like this, it's really important not to stress about wording and hyper-analyzing responses. Especially their initial responses. Believe me, if you go in ready to fume over their wording then you will have no choice but to be furious and destroy relationships despite potential. Instead, expect stupid comments and ignorant concerns. Go in prepared to let them go. Instead, focus on the sentiment. It's a big deal for an anti-gay family to say "we still love you" EVEN if you are annoyed by the "anyway." Take it for what it is... a step in the right direction and the potential for growth. 

 

 I agree with this. 

 

I would write them a letter, if that's ok with your dd.  (or she could write them a letter)

Don't "warn" or "threaten", though; just write it as if you expect their full support and love (because you do.)  Sometimes people will surprise you, in a good way.  But a letter will give them time to process it before talking to you or dd.  And I would snail-mail it; email is too informal.


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#6 of 27 Old 07-08-2012, 12:57 PM
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So how did it go?


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#7 of 27 Old 07-10-2012, 01:02 PM
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Does your DD want to come out to your side of the family? Is it something she wants to talk about with them, or let things progress and avoid "the talk"? It may not be necessary for her to come out to them, especially if you all know they will not be supportive. If they wouldn't support her lifestyle anyway, why does she need to discuss it with them?

 

I came out to my parents as a teenager and dealt with negative reactions before and after that from various people. All of the negativity helped me grow as a person, and learn a lot about how to express my sexual orientation, when I wanted to say it or not, how to choose my words carefully to not make it a huge topic for others , and so on.... basically - I learned a lot. There was pain that came along with it, but no one can shield us from the negative things we have to experience that come along with being openly gay.

 

If I were you I would set some boundaries for yourself about what you will and won't accept from your family members, and let your DD follow her own path and experience some of those painful words that are bound to come by at some points in her life. You could just make sure that she knows you are there to support her along the way.

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#8 of 27 Old 07-10-2012, 02:35 PM
 
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I agree with wannabmomkt.  Does she want to/need to come out to them soon?  Coming out is all about being honest, but sometimes I think it's ok not to tell some people, especially if they will react negatively.  I had an uncomfortable experience once with my ex's Southern Baptist grandmother that no one should have to experience.  Coming out is a process that happens over a lifetime not all at once.  Does your family live nearby where they might hear the news through the grapevine?  If not, I would say hold off for a while.  It's hard enough being 15 and being gay without having to deal with a family who thinks you are going to hell.  If she does want to tell them, I suggest you set some boundaries.  You are her parent.  You get to decide what's best for her.  Tell your family that if they don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all.  Maybe in a few years, your daughter will feel more confident in who she is and meet someone special that she wants to introduce to the family.

You might also reach out to some local gay-friendly churches for info.  For example, United Church of Christ or Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC).

Sometimes people will surprise you also.  They may be more accepting than you anticipate. 

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#9 of 27 Old 07-10-2012, 02:57 PM
 
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I think after the family knows...or right now, you and DD and supportive family should go out for dinner and give her a big congrats!!! Its amazing she is coming out so young, it warms my heart to see teens come out instead of feeling shamed or hiding who they love, fantastic!!

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#10 of 27 Old 07-10-2012, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We haven't talked to my side yet. You are all right, we don't really have to. I am definately leaving it up to my daughter, whatever she wants to do, I was just worried in case she did want to tell the other side. I didn't know whether I should prep them first. I won't have them hurting her!! Mama bear will be coming out along with her!! I will just leave it all up to her and be there and handle the repercussions, if any. Thanks, everyone. I am proud of my kids, it hasn't been easy but the teens are growing up and I am proud :)


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#11 of 27 Old 07-10-2012, 03:37 PM
 
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Good for you Mama Bear!  Your daughters are very fortunate to have you as a mom.  Not all gay teens have family who will love and protect them.




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#12 of 27 Old 07-10-2012, 04:24 PM
 
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Good for you Mama Bear!  Your daughters are very fortunate to have you as a mom.  Not all gay teens have family who will love and protect them.

 

 

Agreed! What a lucky girl.


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#13 of 27 Old 07-10-2012, 06:59 PM
 
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your daughter is very strong to come out so young all you can do is hope for the best and if your family is closed minded then really thats their loss keep you head up young lady and always be true to your self best of luck to you all
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#14 of 27 Old 07-10-2012, 10:09 PM
 
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purplerose, be careful about the boundary in between protecting and taking away experiences.  Yes it's infuriating to have your family say nasty things (if that even happens!), but THE MOST IMPORTANT part is that you love her unconditionally.  That is enough.  You don't have to prep your family, I agree chatting with your daughter about the potentials is definitely a GREAT thing to do, and you're letting her lead, which is amazing.  Where you step in, is not accepting repeated BS from your family if they go all crazy.  They will take their cues on how they should respond from how you are.  

 

IF they are not able to accept it or deal with it in a semi rational manner (stupid, ignorant questions are allowed, but set a deadline if they repeatedly have the same stupid question), then you can put your foot down.  You can choose to cut off that side of the family until they come to their senses, or just not allow them to interact with your daughter.  Dan Savage (he's got a podcast and a weekly column that runs in newspapers everywhere) has talked about this a couple of times.  You can search his podcasts and find the one that talks about how to deal with gay children, coming out, and dealing with the rest of your family.  The advice he gives for that topic is great (I've summarized it... rather poorly, but there is it).  

 

It helps also to be extremely nonchalant about it, I don't actually "come out" anymore, it's just there.  I always felt like coming out to people was revealing something bad about myself.  It helps tremendously that I'm married, so I refer to my wife on a regular basis (and there is ZERO confusion when I use the term "wife").  Thank you thank you thank you for being an actual adult and a loving parent about this.  Your daughter is lucky to have you as a mom.  It warms my queer rainbow heart to hear of parents like you!

 

Good luck!!


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#15 of 27 Old 07-11-2012, 04:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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it is a good idea to just live and not make a show of "coming out" as if it's something wrong. i will bring that up with her next time we talk about this. when she told my in-laws at our regular sunday dinner, her gay uncle and his boyfriend were there and i think that helped her be ok and want to tell them.

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#16 of 27 Old 07-11-2012, 04:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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years ago, my mom said she'd rather one of my kids be gay than a drug dealer lol so this should be good news? (so far, lol) my daughter when she was about 10 came downstairs crying in the middle of the night, because she couldn't see herself marrying a man and was worried she was gay. "What if I'm gay?" she sniffled. so it's been there.


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#17 of 27 Old 07-11-2012, 07:27 AM
 
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Purplerose, thank you for being a great, loving mom to your kids! Keep on keepin' on!


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#18 of 27 Old 07-11-2012, 12:17 PM
 
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it seems to me that she already has the single most important thing: a loving and supportive parent. Many gay teenagers do not have even that much, and you should not underestimate what your unconditional love is worth to her.
 

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#19 of 27 Old 07-11-2012, 06:00 PM
 
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Fair play to you for embracing your mammy bear side!!  I'm not gay but have experience unsupportive family and friends (only some of them - most of them are great!).  

 

My advice is this - let your daughter do it they way she wants to do it and stand behind her ready to intervene if necessary.  She must be amazingly strong and confident to come out at such a young age but at the end of the day, she's still only 15.  You need to protect her.  

If that means making it a very short coming-out visit, then so be it.  Be there with her and let her say the words but if the family even think about uttering anything negative or nasty, be prepared to step in.  And by that I don't mean get in to an argument or discussion - I mean remove your daughter from the situation altogether.  Let them call you then and take it from there.  Also, be prepared that they might surprise you and be more supportive than you think.  At least they might have the sense not to say anything too stupid or insensitive in front of your young daughter. 

 

At the end of the day, it's nobody's business.  I don't feel the need to go around announcing that I'm straight.  There's no need.  If you allow people an opinion they'll be fairly quick to offer it so sometimes it's better to tell them the way it is and leave it at that - make sure your daughter is not asking for anyone's approval.  She's just letting them know the lay of the land so there are no surprises later and no need for gossip.

 

I agree with the others too - there's no need to come out to everyone, even if they are family.  It might be best left for another day or left altogether - again, it's not up for discussion with them.  Your daughter should go ahead and live her life and not worry too much about peoples' opinions.  

 

Best wishes to yourself and your daughter.  Sounds like you two are lucky to have each other!!

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#20 of 27 Old 07-12-2012, 01:29 AM
 
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I am in a very different boat, yet similar.

 

My 7th child at the tender age of 3 started to self identify as a girl. We kind of ignored it believing it was a phase, but we never corrected her or told it was bad, since we are very accepting and all that. Then shortly after her 4th birthday she started demanding that we all call her by "Evelyn". Her original name was Evan. Also when we'd talk with her about growing up and stuff, she'd talk about things that would be anatomically impossible - ie genitals morphing from male to female when she got older and how she couldn't wait for that.

 

Thankfully we are in a Welcoming Congregation with a local UU church and were already part of the PFLAG, but my family is mostly Mormons or fundamental Christians (ie they boycott stores that don't say "Merry Christmas" in their advertisements and much worse). So I worried about telling them. This really wasn't something we could keep secret. She'd go to the dentist or doctor and when they'd ask her name and she'd give them the girl name, or ask for the girl toothbrushes, sticker, or rewards - well it's difficult to hide this, especially this young.

 

Knowing family was coming towards the end of this July, we decided we needed to tell family because I didn't want to have to repeatedly explain why Evan was suddenly asking to be called Evelyn or insisting that she's a girl and not a boy. I decided to just plainly make a blog post explaining the situation and how much we love and support her and that if they weren't going to do the same that we just didn't want to hear form them ever again, as we don't need that kind of negativity and hatred in our lives. ESPECIALLY, knowing just how difficult Evelyn's life is going to be from here on out. - blog post - http://methodtomychaos.blogspot.com/2012/04/secret-announcement.html

 

Thankfully, most of my side has come back positively. My mom made a slightly backhanded comment, but I just tried to let it roll and chalked it up to ignorance. I doubt I'll hear much of anything from the fundies though, if anything. I hope I never see some of them again, sadly. Although, grandparents are still alive so a day will come that we could be together again at a funeral, and I can only hope and pray to the FSM that they either just ignore me, or do like they did last year when my grandfather died, and they just go on vacation instead of showing up!

 

Good luck, to you and yours. And while I have time on my side for everything to set in and to grow and expand and settle into losing a son and gaining another daughter - I seriously would rather be in your shoes and just have a gay child than a transgender one. I have no idea what the future holds for us as we start school this year (depending on if the school will work with us and Evelyn), let alone what puberty will hold and if my child WILL want gender reassignment surgery or not. DH and I have always been open to the possibility of having a gay child but we got thrown a wild card with the transgender card, LOL We love her just the same, but it is really different than I ever thought it would be. I am glad I found a good support board for parents in my shoes. I wish there were more out there.

 

I know I looked up the Queer Parenting board the first commenter suggested, in the hopes it was for parents raising LGBT kids, but it's more of LGBT parents raising kids and not the other way around. :(  {{{sigh}}}

 

I really hope our efforts with our families will help change their views and feelings on such LGBT manners. I really do. Sadly some "friends" of mine still let their religions tell them how to feel about LGBT and it saddens and sickens me. :( Thank god I am an Atheist!


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#21 of 27 Old 07-12-2012, 08:18 AM
 
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To UCmamaTomany, I wanted to suggest youth theatre for your family if you are looking for a generally accepting peer and adult group. I can't vouch for them all but most are very, very open-minded and accepting. My DD 15 is a camp/classroom aide as well as a long time student (since 3) and last fall an 7-year-old child who was "male" one class came back as "female" and has been so ever since. It's been a total non-issue. Theatre can be good for all sorts of kids. My DS 11 is straight but gets bullied for other things (like our not being religious) and has found a great group of buddies who could care less about his differences. 

 

Anyway, you might look into your local programs. Like I said, I can't vouch for them all. I've seen some I wouldn't put my kid in for artistic reasons but I've yet to come across one that wasn't church related NOT be openly accepting to any sort of different child.


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#22 of 27 Old 07-12-2012, 09:32 AM
 
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Wireless- You don't need to go around announcing you are straight because people assume other people are straight unless there is evidence to the contrary.  If you mention your husband or boyfriend, people get the message.  I don't look particularly lesbian so people often assume I am straight.  Sometimes that is ok, sometimes it is not. Mentioning my wife usually clears that up or even just holding her hand. 

Sometimes my sexuality is other people's business.  It's not their business to pass judgement, but if I hide part of myself I can't be properly recognized for who I am.  Visibility is important.  The more people know and see other people who are gay, the more "normal" it becomes to them.  The same goes for trans people.  I can't imagine even 10 years ago parents being as open and understanding as UCmama and other parents like her.  For me, getting to know many different trans people really helped broaden my understanding and respect for them.  I wish you all the best with your daughter, UCmama.

Sometimes it's ok not to be so out because it wouldn't be safe physically or emotionally.  Emotionally in that someone could say something hurtful or insulting.  This is especially the case for a teenager.

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#23 of 27 Old 07-12-2012, 10:16 AM
 
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Wireless- You don't need to go around announcing you are straight because people assume other people are straight unless there is evidence to the contrary.  If you mention your husband or boyfriend, people get the message.  I don't look particularly lesbian so people often assume I am straight.  Sometimes that is ok, sometimes it is not. Mentioning my wife usually clears that up or even just holding her hand. 

Sometimes my sexuality is other people's business.  It's not their business to pass judgement, but if I hide part of myself I can't be properly recognized for who I am.  Visibility is important.  The more people know and see other people who are gay, the more "normal" it becomes to them.  The same goes for trans people.  I can't imagine even 10 years ago parents being as open and understanding as UCmama and other parents like her.  For me, getting to know many different trans people really helped broaden my understanding and respect for them.  I wish you all the best with your daughter, UCmama.

Sometimes it's ok not to be so out because it wouldn't be safe physically or emotionally.  Emotionally in that someone could say something hurtful or insulting.  This is especially the case for a teenager.

I agree and I HATE that I can not protect my child from the hatred in this world. She already deals with neighborhood kids that might tease her from time to time, because she is so young and we don't push gender, so one day she'll be out in a dress and the next she'll be wearing some truck shirt with shorts. She'll play with dolls and cars alike, and it's amazing how uncomfortable people are with that. Some kids will brush it off and say "whatever" but others who are taught hatred can be down right mean bullies. It's horrifically sad.

 

Finding that support system and building it is key. Going to your local PFLAG for support is a great start. It helps both you and your daughter.


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#24 of 27 Old 07-12-2012, 10:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

To UCmamaTomany, I wanted to suggest youth theatre for your family if you are looking for a generally accepting peer and adult group. I can't vouch for them all but most are very, very open-minded and accepting. My DD 15 is a camp/classroom aide as well as a long time student (since 3) and last fall an 7-year-old child who was "male" one class came back as "female" and has been so ever since. It's been a total non-issue. Theatre can be good for all sorts of kids. My DS 11 is straight but gets bullied for other things (like our not being religious) and has found a great group of buddies who could care less about his differences. 

 

Anyway, you might look into your local programs. Like I said, I can't vouch for them all. I've seen some I wouldn't put my kid in for artistic reasons but I've yet to come across one that wasn't church related NOT be openly accepting to any sort of different child.

Thank you. Like I said we're in a very open Unitarian Universalist church. We're Agnostic Atheist or Secular Humanists our selves and Evelyn has a ton of friend who accepts her. The nursery didn't even bat an eye when we walked in one day and told them "Well, Evan has decided she is Evelyn." They said "Okay" and that is how they address her and write her name etc etc etc. The PFLAG group, while it's difficult to find a GROUP of 4-5year olds who are "gay" or "trans" in many places, I don't think a theater group at this time would help. I think if Evelyn was older, maybe she'd be interested, but not right now. :D

 

We have MANY LGBT friends, & even our minister, so we're not lacking for support. I'm sure as she gets older her friends will expand beyond the "norm", but right now most parents will try and suppress their kids at this age. I had one "friend" who was "supportive" in one breath but in the next started telling me how her one son kept saying he was a girl and would cross dress while he played but that her "solution" and "reaction" is to keep telling him "No, you are a boy and boys __(insert stereotype here)__." It angered me that she would literally tell me how great of a parent I was and that she supports LGBT and their rights and then do exactly what one SHOULDN'T do to her own child! NO matter how I tried pointing our her hypocrisy, she could NOT see how she was wrong. :(

 

Still, I feel like we have a HUGE loving support system in place. I never felt scared or ashamed of telling our friends - just scared and nervous of telling family, LOL Like I said this isn't something we could hide. She's already lucky to have been born into a large loving family that will support her and defend her at all costs and at all points in her life. If extended family chooses to be hateful I can choose loving friends instead. It's their loss and our gain! ;)


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#25 of 27 Old 07-12-2012, 12:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by UCmamaToMany View Post

Thank you. Like I said we're in a very open Unitarian Universalist church. We're Agnostic Atheist or Secular Humanists our selves and Evelyn has a ton of friend who accepts her. The nursery didn't even bat an eye when we walked in one day and told them "Well, Evan has decided she is Evelyn." They said "Okay" and that is how they address her and write her name etc etc etc. The PFLAG group, while it's difficult to find a GROUP of 4-5year olds who are "gay" or "trans" in many places, I don't think a theater group at this time would help. I think if Evelyn was older, maybe she'd be interested, but not right now. :D

 

We have MANY LGBT friends, & even our minister, so we're not lacking for support. I'm sure as she gets older her friends will expand beyond the "norm", but right now most parents will try and suppress their kids at this age. I had one "friend" who was "supportive" in one breath but in the next started telling me how her one son kept saying he was a girl and would cross dress while he played but that her "solution" and "reaction" is to keep telling him "No, you are a boy and boys __(insert stereotype here)__." It angered me that she would literally tell me how great of a parent I was and that she supports LGBT and their rights and then do exactly what one SHOULDN'T do to her own child! NO matter how I tried pointing our her hypocrisy, she could NOT see how she was wrong. :(

 

Still, I feel like we have a HUGE loving support system in place. I never felt scared or ashamed of telling our friends - just scared and nervous of telling family, LOL Like I said this isn't something we could hide. She's already lucky to have been born into a large loving family that will support her and defend her at all costs and at all points in her life. If extended family chooses to be hateful I can choose loving friends instead. It's their loss and our gain! ;)

 

Sorry, just giving you some options for down the road. Glad you already have all the support you need.

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#26 of 27 Old 07-12-2012, 01:33 PM
 
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I know I looked up the Queer Parenting board the first commenter suggested, in the hopes it was for parents raising LGBT kids, but it's more of LGBT parents raising kids and not the other way around. :(  {{{sigh}}}

 

 

 

Ah, good point. 


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#27 of 27 Old 07-13-2012, 07:15 AM
 
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i come from a similar family. my southern baptist and catholic (oh yeah i got BOTH) family knows i am very pro gay rights and see it as a good normal thing. BUT i see no impending reason to tell them that i'm bisexual. yes its a struggle as i dont want to come off as i'm hiding but on the other hand if something is not of immediate importance and will only cause conflict why bring it up?

 i am currently married to a man so they are all happy. if we weren't together and i ended up with a women then i certainly wouldn't hide it either. i would not announce it like its a big deal -because its not. just show up or introduce a significant other when the time cames in a relaxed way. 

 learning to laugh off advice is part of growing up. remember they truly love her and want to "save" her from the horrors of hell in their minds, they mean well

 

good luck!

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