My 13yo daughter told me yesterday that she is gay and has known it for a long time. This completely took me by surprise, and only came out because she wanted permission to ride on the Gay Straight Alliance float in the homecoming parade. I said no.
D is in 8th grade. She has a good friend who got permission to start a GSA club at the middle school level, except it's called Diversity Club and is open to anyone who feels like they don't fit in for any reason. This friend is bi-curious, but D says she didn't know that until recently. That's how the whole parade thing started.
I had a very long conversation with D about her reasons for thinking she's gay. It's completely based on feelings and attractions she's had, no sexual experiences at all, boys or girls. And a "long time" in her life is since 7th grade :) So I told her (after doing hrs of reading on the topic beforehand) that it's completely normal. It doesn't necessarily mean anything. Her teenage brain in the middle of puberty is totally messed up and is sending lots of mixed signals. We had a long discussion about the pitfalls of labeling herself at this age and how it will stay with her for a very long time even if her feelings change. She understood.
Here's the kicker... I expected her to breathe a sigh of relief, and it turns out she doesn't care one way or the other. That part is making me crazy. In fact, she acts like she hopes it's true and in the end she's "right".
I'm not a homophobe. I'm tolerant of other people's choices, but, I also want the easiest life possible for my children. I told her that while her father and I are tolerant of homosexuality it's not something we agree with, but we will always love her no matter what. I went on tell her about all the things she will miss out on - marriage, babies - the most important things I've ever done, but she doesn't seem swayed.
So here we are. Biologically I don't feel like she's any different than half the 13 year olds out there. But I want her to want to be straight and she doesn't seem to care.
What do we do? I think we should consider sending her to the small, Catholic high school in town instead of the huge public HS where she plans to go with all her friends. The small hs won't have a GSA club where they are ready to welcome her with open arms. And her bi-curious friend won't be there.
It occurs to me that maybe not wanting my D to be gay does in fact make me a homophobe. SO BE IT. Don't respond here just to tell me that!
Please just respond if you have some useful thoughts or advice or maybe you have been in a similar situation.
Trying to forgive and move on.
Even if she does turn out to be gay, she can get married and have babies. Not in the Catholic church, but she can have a family.
Give yourself time to work through this emotionally--whatever happens. There's nothing you can do to make it turn out one way or another--she's gonna be what she is.
And you are thinking of sending her to a school that does not have a similar club, that would "welcome her with open arms". My son's school would not allow such a club....but they sure did allow his life to literally be threatened every day....not just bullying, but other kids ACTUALLY THREATENING TO KILL HIM. How I wish he'd had anything at school where he felt welcome.
KVille is right...she came to you because she trusted you. Upending her life would just be punitive...and might result in her never opening up to you again. Is that worth it?
Finally, I know a lot of gay people. My sister has been with her wife for over 30 years...legally married for five years. Every gay person I know, including my son, has told me that they've ALWAYS known they were gay. That there was never a period of uncertainty. And I know that not one of my gay or bisexual friends has ever made me feel like I myself might be gay. I'm comfortable in my heterosexuality, and always have been.
I also urge you to go to a PFLAG meeting. You will find good information, and absolutely no judgment. There are plenty of people who go to PFLAG that are tolerant of homosexuality, but don't think it's the greatest thing for their kid.
One last thing....my other son has cerebral palsy. I also want his life to be easier. He did not "choose" his cp any more than his brother "chose" to be gay. But both boys have vibrant, happy lives, and have grown up to be strong, compassionate, caring men, despite the "issues" that may mark them as different.
Please know that if your daughter is gay, she really will be ok. She clearly loves and trusts you. It sounds like you have raised her to be honest and good.
[This message edited by SadMad2012 at 12:06 PM, October 12th (Saturday)]
At first I was very upset and talked to my daughter about the choice. Two of her best friends growing up had come out of the closet and I felt like she was saying she was bi as a way of showing her support. I told her that her Dad and I would love her and support her no matter what her future significant other looked like, and that it was HER LIFE, not mine.
I went through almost a grieving process which I know makes me sound horrible, but it's honest. I felt like I was going to not get a chance to see her walk down the aisle, or hold her babies in my arms.
Then I started researching. I knew she could still have babies, so that fear went out of the window. I also knew that someday she would still be able to walk down the aisle, weather it be an actual marriage, or a commitment ceremony.
Mostly I think my fear was over how much harder her life would be dealing with small minded people and I didn't want her to have to deal with that.
I support her 100%.
I can tell you that as of today she is in a relationship with a young man whom she loves very deeply and he treats her like a Goddess. If she were to marry him tomorrow I would feel so very blessed that she found someone who loves her that much.
I would feel equally blessed if her young man were a woman as long as my baby were loved THAT STRONGLY.
Your daughter telling you she feels like she is gay is testament to her trust in YOU. If you jerk her out of school and try to force her to believe a different way, it will only shove her into the belief that she IS gay and she will no longer trust you.
She is a teenager. She is going through some serious changes to her body AND brain. Give her time and space to learn who she is and let her know you love her and will be there no matter WHO she loves.
And I also agree that PFLAG is an excellent resource.
He has also been shunned by everyone in his family for his whole life. This, IMO, makes it a tougher life than being gay and being able to be comfortable in your skin because you are accepted by your family.
He's married too, btw. No kids, but that's a choice that he and his husband made.
But I want her to want to be straight and she doesn't seem to care.
"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."
She will be able to get married and have children.
It's completely based on feelings and attractions she's had, no sexual experiences at all, boys or girls.
I didn't have any sexual experiences until my 20's. I've always been attracted to males. My "school girl crushes" were all on boys. I was about her age when I started to get "ideas" about sex, always about the male gender.
I went on tell her about all the things she will miss out on - marriage, babies - the most important things I've ever done, but she doesn't seem swayed.
She can still do all those things. If she wants them in the first place. I have quite a few homosexual friends in my life and some are parents. Very good ones too with nice children.
The small hs won't have a GSA club where they are ready to welcome her with open arms. And her bi-curious friend won't be there.
If she is indeed questioning her sexuality this will do nothing but shove her deeper in the closet. Clubs and groups that are so valuable for youths that are going through this thing. Many of my friends work with gay or bi teenagers and consistently say the trend they see is that too many parents make this about them and not the child. Children do not want to disappoint their parents and just knowing by existing they are breaking their mom and dad's hearts it's a very stressful thing to deal with. That is how so many end up developing extra issues like depression or addictions.
Instead of trying to scare her straight, ask her what is going on with this group. What do they talk about? She reached out to you for guidance and she's being shut down and dismissed. Alienating her will make things way worse than they have to be. Like everyone else said, PFLAG is a great place to start.
If your daughter at 13 came to you and said she wanted to be a neurosurgeon or a florist you would probably say to her to keep an open mind and find out what these particular paths in life would mean for her future.
13 is a difficult age. Peer pressure is huge at that age. You only have to see some of the teen girls around who all wear the same clothes, and act the same way. Some of them can be very promiscuous heterosexually, and I think 13 is too young for that also.
As she has apparently not shown much interest in being gay before her friend introduced her to the club,it may be that she currently does not have much interest in sex or boys and therefore thinks she might be gay.
I think it is difficult to tell if it is a passing phase. When a long time is about 9 months to a year, at a time when hormones can be all over the place, I am not sure that is something to base the entire future on.
We all joke about girl crushes, but a lot of us have had them. I idolized a female teacher when I was that age, and also an older girl in the school. I am glad that no one was around to try to label me then.
I think your wait and see approach is good. I have no real advice for you. Your daughter knows you love her and that you will never do anything to harm her.
[This message edited by cissie at 2:07 PM, October 12th (Saturday)]
Trying to scare her? Really? I'm trying to show her some of the realities, because right now she denies that there is any downside at all. Who is going to be honest with her?
When I said " I want her to be straight and she doesn't care" I meant that she doesn't care if she's gay or straight - not that she doesn't care what I think.
I told her that she could be happy, that she could fall in love. But is it so wrong to want HER to want those things to happen with a man instead of a woman?
Is it wrong for you to want these things with a man? Not really but why is it so important to you? What about what she wants? If she's a happy, well adjusted child who grows into a decent adult shouldn't that matter more?
Seriously though, ask her what goes on at this club. Is it for support? Figuring things out?
Please just respond if you have some useful thoughts or advice
My advice is that you work on you. Let your daughter be who she is - straight, gay, bi, trans, herself. Your problem with her sexuality is yours, and yours to deal with - not hers. There's some great advice in this thread. Your daughter deserves parents who support her no matter who she is, so please do the work necessary to become that parent.
[This message edited by Amazonia at 2:52 PM, October 12th (Saturday)]
My one addition is this: why do you think this is necessarily a CHOICE she is making? Being hetero, homo, bi,,etc. is part of someone's being, just like the color of one's hair.
She will be struggling with this. Please don't make this harder for her. You will need to work through this too. I hope you can find support at a PFLAG group.
SadMad - you say that none of your gay friends have ever made you feel like you might be gay. Even when you were 13?! Really? Because I find that 13 year olds question just about everything about themselves. So here's my D with these confusing thoughts which are a very normal part of puberty, and her friend who has already decided she's bisexual and has it all figured out. She felt like she had to decide on a career because she hated being undecided when most of her friends had already chosen a path. So she latched on to the idea of surgeon. That's just a job! So of course she wants to figure this out also!! I want her to have a clean slate so she has the space to figure it out without latching on to the easiest thing.
It's funny how people will assume the worst of you when they disagree with your opinion. I am not a bully who tried to frighten my child or punish her. I did not threaten to pull her out of school and away from her friends. I'm considering it, yes, because maybe it's the clean slate she needs.
But is it so wrong to want HER to want those things to happen with a man instead of a woman?
If that is not what SHE wants, then yes, it is very wrong. You don't get to make that decision for her.
You sound a lot like my mom when my brother came out. The best thing she did was attend those PFLAG meetings. I would urge you to do the same as soon as possible. These waters are difficult to navigate for all of you, but your daughter needs your love, compassion and acceptance so very much right now, and you need to be able to give them to her unconditionally. Please do all you can do to make sure you can be there for her, regardless.
((((espoir1114 & DD13))))
Enjoying this chapter in my life.
Learning that being alone does not mean being lonely.
Discovering that where I've been is not as important as where I'm going.
Sexuality is not a choice. I don't remember the day I decided men turned me on. It's just what I always knew.
I have a set of twin cousins. One is gay (he says he is "flaming gay lol") and his identical twin is completely heterosexual.
Their Mom will not acknowledge the gay one. She refused to even speak to him for many years. He ran away when he was 15 and lived on the streets. He is now a successful psychologist, living in his own home, happy with his partner.
His twin who was coddled and loved, sadly passed away last year after many struggles with drugs.
Their Mom will now speak to the gay son, but refuses to allow him to sleep in her home, and will not tolerate his partner in any way, shape, or form. There are no photos of him in her home, and even when my gay cousin offered her some photos he had of him and his twin brother, she told him he should keep them.
He is so very hurt by her rejection. Even his beloved sister makes him sleep in her floor when he visits, even though she has a guest bedroom.
I UNDERSTAND not wanting your daughter to be gay. I get it. I LIVED it. But honestly, if she really IS gay and not just trying this on for a while, will you treat her any differently? Will you be like my Aunt and not let her sleep in your home? I don't think so.
The fact that you are here asking questions speaks volumes of your love for her. And in the end that is all you have to do to get through whatever life she chooses to lead. Just love her.
I promise you though, if you try to take her away from her friends, she WILL rebel. As long as the friends aren't dangerous (druggies, or gang members for example) it is best in my opinion to let her make these decisions in her own time.
I knew by age 12 and it DID NOT change. Since I would have expected an even worse reaction than you gave I didn't "come out" to parents until my 30s. My father's reaction caused irrevocable damage to our relationship.
Please get involved with a PFLAG chapter before you harm your daughter any further.