Briefly describe how your child first came out to you and your initial reactions.
I will never forget the look in my grown son’s eyes when he asked me to come sit down with him on the couch one afternoon. My son is almost 6′-3″ and I am 5′ tall. I hadn’t even sat down and he said I’m gay, with his head down, tears flowing out of his beautiful green eyes and I am just flabbergasted standing there just looking at him. I walked over to him and put my arms around him and said don’t cry. I am small, but very loud and I’m now almost yelling I know your gay.
I told him we knew he was gay since he was about 6 years old. We never treated him different, we never loved him any different, but he could not tell us he was gay because he did not want the family to judge us or shun us, because of him. I was so heart broken that we were on the same subject, but on the totally opposite understandings. (Us knowing he was gay and he trying to tell us he was gay because he thought we didn’t know)
I told him he meant more to us than anything or anyone’s opinion of him or us. His father and I are sorry he suffered so long by not saying anything to us and being more open with us sooner. It crushed me not knowing that he would think that we would choose not to love, live or support him any less than any of our other children. That is not us. We would have never done that and it really crushed me that he thought he was going to cause us pain.
This is not the end of the story. We are the very proud parents of three children. In the last year another son of ours told us he was in a relationship with a man. This was a totally different story to say the least. We (his father and I) were NOT prepared, and to be honest, still struggling with the fact that he told us that he was in a relationship with a male.
It’s not that we agree or disagree or even have that right, I have considered the struggle and realize its all about his father and I and not him. We were not nice to him when he told us. I can say we were mean. I was a child advocate at the time and I would have NEVER responded to any of my clients that way, but yet responded to my own son like a crazed maniac. My belief is that you are born one way and it is not a choice, which ever way it may be. (my belief) Because there were NO signs (in my eyes) he was making an unnatural choice.
That is the struggle his father and I have been dealing with and when asked if he is gay he does not consider himself gay. I take that as he is still trying to figure things out himself. We are supportive! That is the only thing that is important.
We love all of our sons, will support and do whatever we can to wrap our arms around them and try to help their lives be easier as long as we are here and able. It is not our right to judge and we don’t have control who we fall in love with. We can just love and support them and all we wish is happiness for our children.
What concerns did you experience over the first weeks or months? How did you deal with them?
My first son there was not a change, and explanation or anything else.
My second son we are still working on acceptance. We are tying to get to know his friend and just make sure he is happy. Our lifetime goal for our children is that they are happy in life and we hopefully had something to do with that.
Has your child come out to other family members over time?
Yes. With my first son there were not many reactions. The reactions that we had were negative and we chose to ignore.
I’m not sure that my second son has chosen a time to tell, based on his understanding of what is happening in his life now.
What is the hardest thing about knowing their LGBTQ identity?
The criticism that they will receive.
What is the best thing about knowing your child's LGBTQ identity?
They are MY BOYS, they are great citizens, they are intelligent, they are caring and they are not afraid to be themselves.
Knowing what you know today, would you want your child to “stay in the closet”? Why?
My husband and I have told our children that we do not tolerate hypocrite’s. Life is too short!
What would you say to other parents learning the LGBTQ identity of their child?
Step back, Breathe, Take Everyday As If It Were Your Last Day With Your Loved One!
You don’t get Yesterday back, but you can have a happy tomorrow.
What would you say to youth coming out to their families?
Don’t contemplate the reaction you might get from your family. Go to whom you trust the most and confide in them. Let them try to understand you and your feelings. Don’t make assumptions of what is going to transpire. Take it slow and let them know you are still the same person, but need to share the real you. Your life will be different as you know it now, but your life will be true to you and with great choices as a “HUMAN” being. You can prosper and be happy and a great part of society.
100K-500K, 20-29, 20-29, 20s - 30s, 30-39, 40-49, 500K-1 million, Arkansas, Father, Featured, Florida, Gay, Lesbian, Mother, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Older Teen (16-19), Older Teen (16-19), Oregon, Over 1 million, Pennsylvania, Pre-Teen (12 & under), Rural, Texas, Transgender, Under 100K, United States of America, Written, Young Teen (12-15), Young Teen (12-150