So you have just found that your son (daughter) is gay. Perhaps he was brave enough to come out and tell you, or perhaps you found out by some other means. These are my views on the top 10 questions or thoughts you might have.
1. My child is going to become HIV positive
HIV is not a gay-only disease. It affects millions of people of all sexualities. If your son is careful about sex, there should be no need for you to worry about HIV. You should have an honest talk with your son about abstaining from sex, and/or using a condom when having sex. If he has been sexually active, you should encourage him to get tested and explain how you will support him, even if he is positive. This conversation should happen no matter the sexuality of your son.
2. I won’t be able to have a conversation about “the birds and the bees”
You can (and should) have a conversation with your son about sex. Since he is gay, and you might be unfamiliar with gay sex, you might need to educate yourself about what gay sex is. It is important to approach the subject without judgement, so as to build trust with your child. I mean, you want your son to be able to come to you if he has a problem one day, right??
3. Will my child start dressing and acting differently?
Maybe, but not necessarily. Remember, your child is still the same person he always has been. Now that he has come out to you, he may feel more comfortable in expressing who he is around you. But just remember that all he is doing is being himself. Perhaps he will go through a phase of finding himself. The metaphor of ‘coming out the closet’ is very real, as once you have come out, you get an overwhelming sense of freedom. Let him celebrate who he is and explore all that life has to offer. Who cares what he is wearing.
4. My child’s life will now be destroyed, he can’t live a normal life
What is a normal life? What does it mean to be normal? Your child will lead a unique life, which is great! But being gay is also fairly ‘normal’. There are many successful gay businessmen, sportsmen, professionals, etc, and many gay people lead a happy family life. Sure, it may be a harder life if people are teasing or bullying your child for being gay. But why add to your child’s problems? Rather be the rock that he can always turn to when he needs advice and support.
5. It must be my fault
No, it isn’t. And it isn’t your son’s fault either. People are the way they are. It is probably genetic, but nothing you could have done would have changed the fact. Besides, being gay is not a bad thing, so there is no need to look for blame.
6. Being gay doesn’t fit in with my religion
This is a tricky one. I think the core answer to this is that firstly, God created your child the way he is. So him being gay is part of God’s plan, and God loves your child. Secondly, most religions are against homosexual sex, not being homosexual.
7. Is it a phase?
Probably not, especially if your child has gathered the courage to tell you about his sexuality. If you treat it like a phase, you will find that your child will just close up and not trust you enough to tell you about his life.
8. I can’t tell my friends and family… I’m embarrassed
Being confident enough to tell friends and family is a great way to show your child that you love him just the way that he is, and that you are proud of him. Rather be proud that he can have an open conversation with you about it rather than be embarrassed. You might also find that most friends and family will accept it. Just make sure your son is OK with you telling people first.
And if you are worried about telling friends and family, just imagine how your son felt before he told you!
9. Why didn’t I see it coming? I don’t know my child!
Your son might have known he was different for a long time, or he might recently have realised that he is gay. But being gay is only a small part of who he is. He is the same person he was before he told you. And he has so many other great things that defines him, so you do know your child!
He might have kept it a secret from you because he was afraid of what your reaction would be. But now that he has told you, it is your chance to start getting to know this part of him as well.
10. There is no support for me
There are many support groups available for parents of gay children. You should also consider therapy for yourself if you are having trouble dealing with the homosexuality.