Gay Parenting Support Group

Gay parenting has been an important issue over the past few years. Over 34% of lesbian mothers have at least one child residing in their home and 22% of gay men have at least one child living with them. Together there are 6 to 10 million gay parents that are caring for between 6 and 14 million children.

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Questions for parents of gay children...

Hi, everyone. I'm hoping to get some answers and support from other parents of gay children, especially those who have lived with this for a while, since it's new to me. I am a liberal person who has always supported gay rights, but have surprisingly been having a hard time since realizing that my daughter (my only child) is gay. Of course I will always love and support her, but is it normal that I feel disappointed? And then of course I feel guilty for feeling disappointed. I used to get so excited about boyfriend prospects for her, etc. I can accept, but why can't I get excited for her? I am uncomfortable and try not to show it but she probably feels it (again creating guilt.) It is hard to give up plans and dreams for your children: dating, weddings, grandchildren, etc. (I do realize these things can still happen, but it's hard not to wish for the traditional way.) It's obviously her life and she is who she is and I know I have to accept this. Why is it so hard? I'm so surprised at this, since I'm so liberal. But honestly, I actually prayed that she wouldn't be gay. How dumb. I knew it all along. It just felt better to live in a dream world for a while. Are there any other parents out there who have resolved this? Have any of you gone from feeling disappointed and uncomfortable to actually embracing this and getting excited for your children's relationships, etc.? Right now, I just feel like I'll have to fake it forever. But this is sad. I truly hope I'll be able to embrace it and get excited for her relationships instead of uncomfortable. Hoping to hear from some parents who have succeeded in this. Thanks so much for reading and/or responding! Love to everyone.

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

HI,
I just recently found out my son (16) is gay. It is very hard and I'm still trying hard to accept phone calls for him, allow guys to come over, etc. The hardest of all is that I have family members that are old timers and believers and very much against homosexuality. How will we tell them? At this point, we are keeping it from so many people. I always wanted the weddings and grandchildren, etc. I don't know how I will handle Thanksgiving gatherings, family gatherings, etc. I guess time will do everything. I keep blaming myself for this, when I know I couldn't have done anything. It is very hard and good luck to you.
remi59
remi59

To confused. Since I'm new to this, too, I can't give you experienced advice, but maybe we can figure things out together, and maybe more experienced parents will chime in with some advice. I've been thinking about how to tell people, also. Basically, I think it's up to our children-who and when to tell. Once I read in Dear Abby that you don't have to tell everyone, unless of course your child feels it is important to him/her for absolutely everyone to know. I think sometimes people just don't tell older or conservative friends or relatives, and this can work. It's not saying we're ashamed of it, just that it's easier not to tell everyone, maybe even advisable. If this is the case, either those people will just never figure it out, or figure it out but never acknowledge it, or best case scenario they'll figure it out, come to terms with it and say it's ok. But obviously, it will never be ok with everyone, especially if they're fundamentalists, so I do believe sometimes it's better to leave some people out of the loop. This, I repeat, is only if our children want it this way, if it's easier for them. If they want to be totally open with everyone, I feel that if they're ready to be that brave, I guess we'd better summon up the bravery to support them 100%. I know it's hard. Thinking ahead can be overwhelming, so maybe we should take advice from the AA program and just take one day at a time. I find that when I'm alone and think too much, I get incredibly overwhelmed and confused and think "what am I going to do about this, that, and the other things?" but then when I'm with my daughter again, lo and behold, she's still the same person I raised and I still love her so much, maybe even more since I admire her bravery and poise in dealing with this, and then we laugh about things and share our common interests, and life is still great. They're not sick or dying or criminals or mean or nasty or anything that would be so awful. They're still our kids that we love. And we're so lucky they're still here with us and have trusted us with this part of them. So I try to keep this in mind. No, we won't travel the traditional route anymore. I probably won't get to go shopping for her wedding dress (although that is a possibility, just in a different scenario) but the future may bring us grandchildren. Even if they get here in a different way, we'll love them just the same! It will take time for us to be comfortable with all this. I admit I am still uncomfortable. But I have a huge goal: not only to get comfortable with it, but to embrace it, and to be able to get excited about her relationships, the same way I would have had she been bringing boys home. I think it will take a while, but I think we're going to be o.k.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I am not a parent of a gay or lesbian child (that we know of ;)) but I am gay and a parent.

Telling my mum that I was gay was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. She was concerned and yet totally supportive (I came out over 25 yrs. ago). My mum has 3 kids, I'm the only one who is gay and the only one to give her grandchildren! Neither of my siblings is married or even in a serious commited relationship. I have been with my partner for almost 6 years. We own a house a car and have 2 wonderful boys. We live in Canada where same sex marriages are recognized, and plan to marry in the next couple of years or when we can afford her divorce, whichever comes first!

As Remi59 says, coming out to your parents, friend, etc. is still very difficult and frightning for most people and yet your kids have the had the courage and self-respect to tell you about who they are in a world where we are still treated like freaks. All I can tell you is that my mum and I are the best of friends, she loves her grandkids (even if they are not biologically related) and adores my partner.

If you are stuggling with accepting your childs sexuality, imagine how hard it was for them! Just love and support them. All those things you hoped for are still possible (just look at my world) and who cares what sex a person is if your child loves them and is loved in return?? Not everyone gets to experience real love, even in the straight community (just ask my brother!) so be there for them, love them with all your heart and watch what wonderful things can happen as a result!

All the best to all of the parents out there who are struggling with acceptance. Be patient, if you love, them it will come.

BG.
remi59
remi59

Dear BG, Thank-you so much for responding and for your encouraging words. I am trying very hard with this! Best of luck to you and your fiance. Remi59
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi, Remi. I am a mom and I'm gay, so maybe I have some insight?

Put the guilt aside. Why is there disappointment? Are you worried that you won't have grandkids? Or that her life will be harder? Is there a worry that maybe there is something inately wrong with being gay? I think that once you figure out the reason for the disappointment, you will be able to get past it and then embrace your daughter and her being gay, if that makes sense.

For me, it was very difficult to find my way, I could imagine on the parenting end that it would be difficult to come to terms with as well.
remi59
remi59

Dear Baindegael, Thank-you so much for responding and for having such empathy for parents coming to terms with having gay children. I do feel guilty about my feelings because I know it's so much harder for the gay person, like you or my daughter, to come to terms with it. You're the ones subject to unfair discriminations, not me, so it doesn't seem that I have the right to these feelings. However, they are there-I'm not sure why. My emotions have obviously not caught up to my intellect. I am a Unitarian-Universalist, a very liberal religion, and we've always had same-sex couples in our church. Not until it turned out to be my daughter did I have struggles with acceptance. I'm obviously not one of those crazy fundamentalists who would disown her or anything. I love her more than life itself. I guess I just selfishly wanted evrything to be "normal." (as in "the norm," not as in thinking being gay is abnormal). I feel I've lost a closeness we had, since I can't relate. It does seem quite selfish as I write this. I guess I wanted some sort of vicarious experience, the way I see many moms do, when their daughters are dating boys, talking about them, planning weddings, etc. It's exciting. When she went to the prom in high school with a boy, I was beside myself with excitement. I truly don't understand why I can't get excited about her with women. Is it just because I can't relate? It still makes me uncomfortable to watch same-sex couples kissing, etc on TV, in movies, in real life. I see that this is absurd: I know intellectually that I have been socialized. I guess I didn't get as far away from my Catholic roots as I thought. Do you think I'll be able to progress from reluctant acceptance, to the ability to embrace this and truly feel excited about it? I hope so, but I'm not sure how. I hope that time will take care of it. I'm reading a lot of good books, which help somewhat, but I still have a long way to go. Anyway, thanks again for writing. I think it is amazing that you can have empathy on the other side of this.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi Remi

I think that we only learn by trying to think about others in how they see things. :) I'm not always succesful at that! lol

There's always dischord between the intellectual and the emotional, makes us human!

I would say... make an effort. Get to know her more, on a personal level. Not that she needs to take you to a gay club, but to go through her day to day. It might help to see that it makes very little difference that she is a lesbian.

My partner is always saying that we should have a reality show because I'm a femme, she's not and we have a son, like this would make for excellent television. And I always quip that it would be THE most boring reality show ever. We aren't all that different from other families and we are certainly no more exciting. That's my remedy- get to know her more. Be close again. :) Good luck! And yes, I think that you will become accepting. You are far further along than most parents and the fact that you are here asking for advice speaks more than words could.
remi59
remi59

Thanks again, Baindegael, for the great advice and understanding. I'll let you know of my progress. On the reality show note, do you know there is a new reality show called "The Real L Word?" It's funny that you were just talking about that. I think the show is a great idea. Maybe it will show people that we're all basically the same. I guess the best success would be if it's boring, proving your point that all of our everyday lives are about the same. I think this is much better than the original L Word show, which although well-done and addicting, I don't think was a typical representation. What did you think of that show? I thought that making most of the characters rather promiscuous might have given people the wrong idea. Not that tons of straight people aren't promiscuous also, but since it was the one show on TV portraying lesbians, I didn't think it was the best idea. Also, their lives seemed overly glamorous, but I guess that's what keeps people watching. Thanks again!
jaymee4647
jaymee4647

My son is 14 years old and just came out to us a couple of months ago. I thought I would let him lead the way. For example how many people in our family did he want to tell. I am having issue with the adult males... not talking 17 year olds... 20+ that think it's okay to befriend my child. He is infact a child. I have been looking into teen support groups for him. I have found nothing for his demographic. We live in Palm Springs, Ca (you would think there would be alot) but inface this is still a retirement community and have nothing geared to teens. I need advice in a BIG WAY!
jaymee
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hello;
I have also learned that my son is gay (at 28 years old) and I have been wrestling with the news as well. The good news is that he is well adjusted, prosperous, owns his own home and is finally happy with his partner. My family cannot handle knowing that he is different- so I have chosen not to share the news with them. They are fundamentalist and very conservative. They lent little support when he was depressed and nearly suicidal. And life is too short to spend it on people who are limited and negative. It is his news to share if and when he ever decides to do so. Moreover, I want to wrap my arms around him, share his life, love him unconditionally and make sure that he feels included in all of our activities. I agree with the author who stated that life is not a dress rehearsal. We only have one lifetime to love and honor our children and get it right.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I'm so confused at the moment that I'm not sure this is where I should be seeking help for my situation.
About an hour ago I received an e-mail from my married daughter that she is in a relationship with another woman. She feels like she was pushed into getting married to please family members. She has two children, a 2 1/2 yr old son and a 9 month old daughter. Her daugher has infant glaucoma so my daughter has been living in a differnt state to receive treatment for her. I'm lost and confused at this point, crying out to God and also blaming myself. I need someone to adress this situation with me, please. If I have posted in the wrong place, would you be so kind as to let me know where I would go to get help.
Thanks you so much.
remi59
remi59

Hi Eliqrma. Wow, I have great empathy for you. I'm sure this news was a great shock. Please believe me that the shock will wear off and hopefully be replaced by acceptance, even if begrudgingly. We kind of only have two choices with this news: support our children or reject them. And if we choose to reject, we lose the relationship, and in your case probably your relationship with your grandchildren as well. My advice: sit quietly and take some deep breaths. Become accustomed to this news. Say some prayers for acceptance if you pray. Please put aside the blame. There is absolutely no way you or anyone else can do anything to "turn" your child gay. I have only one child, a gay daughter, who had a very normal upbringing. We have always been extremely close. I watched this unfolding. I watched as she grew up and her friends started talking about boys and I could see that she just wasn't interested at all. She would politely listen, then try to change the subject. It became increasingly obvious to me, yet I chose to deny it and encourage her many times to date boys. Never worked. I know your situation is different since your daughter is married. I know this is very difficult for you, and it must be incredibly difficult for your daughter. There will be a lot of hurt and pain if she divorces and she will need your support. Since she reached out to you and announced this, it is probably not just a fling. It probably means she is serious, and has realized she's a lesbian. I know acceptance is hard. As I have previously mentioned, after my denial years, I have come to acceptance, although not to the point where I am happy and can totally embrace this. The whole thing is a process. After your shock wears off, you will slowly accept (if you choose to). And I hope that after that, we will both progress toward embracing this. In the meantime, what helps me most is to spend time with my daughter. Every time I do this, I realize she is the same wonderful person that I love. Only one part of her life is different. This does not affect her kindness, her sense of humor, her interests, hobbies, her hard work and dedication, or the fact that she is a devoted daughter, cousin, granddaughter, niece, and friend to many people. She is simply a great person, and that hasn't changed. I'm sure your daughter is, too. I hope that you and I can both get past the uncomfortableness and embarrassment about same-sex relationships and choose to see that this is just one part of our wonderful and complex children. I don't think you have to worry about telling people yet. This can be between you and your daughter for an indefinite period while you adjust. If she's ok with it, maybe some family members, if too conservative, can just know that she is divorcing, and leave it at that, at least for a while. But if she chooses to come out completely, that will be very brave, so she will need support. My daughter has come out slowly: she's told my husband and me and most of her friends, but only a few select family members that she knew would be supportive. I need to respect her timetable, although I wish I had some more people with whom to discuss this. Anyway, please take some breaths, give yourself time to accept, see your daughter as soon as possible so you confirm that she's still the same person, and if possible count your blessings. I know that's a hard one. I sometimes get caught up in jealousy of other families with straight kids. But maybe we also need to look at and feel for other families whose children are sick or dying, or mean,selfish,nasty, dishonest, etc. We need to appreciate our children for who they are and not waste time wishing they were straight. (I'm still working on that!) Please know it is not your fault. People are born gay or straight, or in some cases bi-sexual. I am positive of this. I did nothing to promote this. I even encouraged her to give boys a chance, all through high school, the poor thing. I was trying to force her to feel things she could not. She's just not wired that way. Please do not try to get your daughter to stay with her husband if she has truly realized that she is gay. That would mean caring more about what people think than about her happiness. Believe me, I border on that alot. I still wish she would just marry a man and have a family. But would I truly want her to do that if she sacrificed her happiness and fulfillment for it, just so I wouldn't have to be embarrassed and uncomfortable? No, I wouldn't. Even though I do dream of it sometimes, I try to put that aside because I know it's completely selfish. It's ok to have the feelings, though. Our society, and of course most religions, have socialized us all to believe that being gay is wrong. Things are slowly changing, though, and many gay people are living normal lives, with less and less discrimination. Progress is happening in the world, and it can happen within us, too! Please believe me-I've lived at least part of the progress and am confident of more. Please write back if you want or need some more support. Good luck.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi don't know where you live but look up PFLAG.org and find a support group close to you..Its a wonderful life line and you will learn so much and meet other parents. I found out my child was gay in 1989 and went to a support meeting and found others and learn to accept and be proud you had a gay child. This may sound silly to you: but I have met so many parents & gay people all over the US and its an experience if your open and patience with yourself to grow...I grew as a woman, mother and became a community worker for gay rights. I always said when I told my story at any meeting or community groups God gave us Gay children to see how much we could love. Everyone thinks they know what love is but when you are face with this issue it puts you in a place where shame, pain, angry the list goes on you grief as that person is gone or what you thought is gone, Your DREAMS....not theirs! But really being gay is only a very small part of who they are...They are still your child, that loving funny person you have known all along. It's a journey to walk but I truley know what love is. Telling family members some may know already you don't have to share with anyone..Take it one day at a time and check out PFLAG.org
Keep writing it will get better...
remi59
remi59

Thank-you, nosey22. I appreciate your response and I'm working on it!
deleted_user
deleted_user

I am the proud mom of my 19 year old son. I had always suspected he was gay. When he came out 2 years ago, he was very scared that my husband was going to hate him. I told my son that nothing had change - he was the same beautiful baby and boy we always loved. I assured him my husband wasn't going to hate him which he didn't, of course. I asked my son if he wanted me to let people know. I didn't want to make any formal announcements, but if the topic came up I wanted to be able to let people know. I told my son that this was nothing to be ashamed of and I didn't want to treat it like a dirty little secret. My son said he wanted me to tell people. I thought if anyone would ask if my son had a girlfriend, I would simply let them know he was gay and didn't have girlfriends. Well, nobody ever asked about him. They always ask about my daughter. I think people around us have always suspected he may be gay and just avoided the subject. Last Christmas we were at my in-laws and I was admiring my son from across the room. I was thinking how handsome he is and felt so proud. I realized he was wearing his rainbow beads and to me there is no doubt from looking at him that he is gay. I asked him after if anyone in the family has every commented or asked him if he is gay. He one of my sister-in-laws came and told him she was very proud that he doesn't hide the fact that he is gay. This is a pretty conservative family, but also pretty accepting. I finally asked my in-laws a few months ago if they realized he was gay. They said they suspected it, but didn't want to ask. I wish people understood this is not a moral choice, it's just part of who he is. Why would anybody choose a life of being teased and talked about. Nobdoy wants to be the topic of gossip. I have known many gay people in my life and they have been very good friends and co-workers. I can't imagine living in a world where you are told you need to like a particular sex and be attracted to that same sex, when you aren't. Then trying to pretend you do, but never feeling like you fit in.

Remi - nobody did anything wrong to cause this. This is just who your daughter is. It may take some time and hopefully everyone here will help you accept and feel comfortable with your daughter. Keep posting and reaching out - you will get the answers you need in one form or another. Take care.