A shiny new topic!

(49 Posts)

This is a bit like being the first to trample in virgin snow!

We very recently discovered that DS1 (18) is gay. Apparently he has known for some time. We only found out because it became apparent that he has a boyfriend.

DH and I are both open, liberal and accepting of homosexuality so we were both shocked by our own reaction to this discovery. Whilst rationally I can accept it, emotionally it is a very different matter.

I find that I mind very much that he is not heterosexual. And I'm mourning the imagined future that I had for him - meeting a girl, settling down, having children ...

He's obviously happy, which is the most important thing, but I am worried for him and his future. Can't help it.

The especially difficult thing is telling our parents. His friends all know, and we're telling our friends as it becomes appropriate - but I'm not really sure how my dad, or my PILs will react, so not sure how we're going to proceed there.

How has it worked for anyone else in a similiar situation?

I think you are right, you are mourning what you imagined you would have in the future (meeting a girl, settling down, having children) but apart form the meeting the girl bit, your DS could well settle down and have children at some stage.

I know it's not exactly the same, but I guess it's rather like a liberal open parent might feel when they are told by their child that they have converted to a religion that is not the one they where brought up with.

With time, you will get used to it and not be emotionally upset. Just give yourself time and allow yourself to mourn what will never be.

Thanks, OMDB. You're quite right - that is about me and not about him.

Have just found out that we're meeting the boyfriend tonight!

Am nervous.

chipmonkey Wed 29-Sep-10 17:51:10

Oooh! <<tramples on BIWI's footprints in virgin snow!>>>

I think you are bound to feel a bit conflicted. It's something you didn't know about him. And I think there are things we take for granted about our children, even before they are born. I never thought I would have only boys, for example and I keep looking around for the missing daughter who is not going to show up now!

The other thing is, just because he is gay, doesn't mean that he won't settle down and have children, that is all still possible. It just won't be with a girl.

Not sure about the grandparents, tbh. I know my Mum would be fine with it but MIL would blow a gasket! At the end of the day, they have to accept him for who he is, though.

chipmonkey Wed 29-Sep-10 17:52:32

Should add, I do have a feeling about one of my boys but he is still v. young, so no idea if I am right!

I know. I'm sure MIL would be find, but not sure about FIL, and can't expect to tell her and ask her not to tell FIL.

My dad usually fine, but very much of his generation, so could be awkward.

But as one of my friends said, I wouldn't ring them up if he suddenly had a girlfriend to say "guess what, DS is heterosexual!"

fine, not find!

IUsedToBeFab Wed 29-Sep-10 17:56:08

We have recently been told a family member is gay and we have met his boyfriend, all without him ever saying anything to us about it. Dh and I are sad we won't have more babies in the family but are happy he has someone.

What does the T stand for in LGBT? confused.

Eleison Wed 29-Sep-10 17:59:33

It is good that you can be so honest about the conflicted feelings you have BIWI. I went to a voluntary/community sector training event once whose purpose was to foster equal treatment of minorities of all sorts. The very best workshop was run by a LGBT activist. Instead of getting us to discuss our consciously egalitarian, right-on views, etc, she required us to roleplay the part of a bigot. We were each given intolerant statements to defend. And voicing such difficult attitudes was really a way of turning over the stone of all the prejudices we acquired when we were too young to challenge then rationally and looking properly at all the maggotty insects writhing about there. Exposing them to the light was a great way of evaporating them.

My point is that she knew that we HAVE these attitudes deeply buried by rational self-correction, and that it isn't helpful just to heap more soil of supression on top.

BecauseImworthit, I was where you are about a year ago. I'd love to discuss it all with you (and reassure you) but I'm about to go out, and may not be back till very late.

This post will mark my place, and I will come back, I promise. (Probably tomorrow).

Eleison Wed 29-Sep-10 18:04:19

(Not meaning remotely to identify your conflicted feelings as involving any kind of bigotry. Just to say that we are prey to the currents of society in our childhood and young adulthood that left us fearful of difference. I guess that quite often young LGBT people thenselves have to counter those same prejudices within themselves.)

T = transgender

AP - I look forward to talking with you tomorrow

Eleison - no, I know what you mean! That's why I was shocked by my own reaction. I always thought that if it ever happened to me that I would be fine about it.

Of course, we are/will be fine about it, but it is just taking a bit of processing, IYKWIM

PosieParker Wed 29-Sep-10 19:09:29

OP, you can still be a Grandmother! And you're very brave to admit that you have these feelings, your DS will be fine and so will you!

Have to say I am mighty intrigued that Agent may or may not come home tonight!!

chipmonkey Wed 29-Sep-10 19:16:56

Sign MN is coming of age really! The babies are all growing up!

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 29-Sep-10 19:17:58

It's just the shock that's getting to you I expect, and throwing off that particular avenue from your DS's future. But of course, there's no guarantee that had he been straight he would settle down or have kids either.

Really great that he's been able to let you know now (18 is pretty young to come out judging by my gay friends). One good friend of mine just brought his boyfriend to stay with his parents for the holidays, not saying a word about it, some 8 years after he'd come out to everyone else.

Try not to hold yourself back from talking about him and his boyfriend like you would if bf was gf. For example, it's fine to ask what they're doing for their anniversary, or how things are going etc, without curling up with awkwardness. Don't be afraid to talk to him about it, when he realised etc, if he wants to.

You'll be fine, you sound like a great mum. He's probably very nervous of your reaction, even if he seems chilled out.

good thread! important topic. I'm gay (and a parent, but DD is 20mo..) and I always think that when gay or lesbian people come out it's such a big deal and so hard that it's easy to forget that their parents also effectively have to come out to everyone they know too. And this tends to be harder the older the folks. But don't pre-judge your PILs, friends, etc - my mother was awful about me, but DP's mum was wonderful (devout catholic etc etc).

Good luck to you all - and remember, never ever take your children's sexuality personally. Likely as not it had absolutely nothing to do with you!

ElephantsAndMiasmas Wed 29-Sep-10 20:17:27

<resists the urge to say that he will probably give you good clothing advice too>

LOL! I know. I keep thinking 'gay men are so wonderful to their mothers'

If only I could believe that - DS is still in the midst of adolescent angst and doesn't really communicate yet. grin

LeninGrad Wed 29-Sep-10 21:50:46

Oooh, good stuff, this will be a handy topic for others in the future. I know FFLAG are still going but not sure how interactive they are.

flossie64 Wed 29-Sep-10 22:05:04

It is difficult to deal with things like this,not in a phobic way ,but in a I've known you as this and now you're someone else .
I say this as a while ago we were informed 3rd hand my BIL was transgender and now lives fiully as a woman. On the waiting list for op and didn't understand it wooooould take us a while to adjust to him being her IYSWIM.
I have handled it more easily than MIL or DH ,but sat her down and just bluntly asked loads of things I didn't get .Now I see how much happier she is as a woman I accept it.
totally different I know but similar as well,in prejudices respect.

PosieParker Thu 30-Sep-10 08:16:24

Had to come back and say OP, you must be a fabulous mother for him to tell you at only 18. He must trust you and your DH with his feelings and really felt like he needed to share this with you. From my, very limited, experience of friends coming out to their parents they have all been at least 22/23....although I am 36 and so perhaps times have changed.

Thank you. I wish I could say I was fabulous, but I'm really not.

DS1 wasn't telling me - I asked him - although he had announced it to all his friends.

But better that it's now in the open.

PosieParker, I wish I was as mysterious and exciting as you think! I was at my book group and I was far too drunk it was far to late to post last night.

BIWI, I am the most liberal person I know. I've always worked in the voluntary sector - I've even delivered equality & diversity training - and I've been to three civil partnership ceremonies, yet I felt the same as you when my son came out last year.

I'd suspected all through primary school, then when he started secondary there were always loads of girls hanging around, and I completely forgot that I'd ever suspected, so it was a bolt from the blue when he told me.

He was 14, and he'd told everyone at school and had had no negative reaction. DH and I said all the right things "It makes no difference.." "We still love you..." blah blah blah, but inside I felt so sad. Not for the perceived loss of grandchildren, but just because I thought/think that his life will be harder than it otherwise would have been.

I feel sad when I see his peers holding hands with their girlfriends, knowing that even in this day and age, it's not safe for DS to do the same. I feel sad that I have to warn him about going into certain parts of the city in case nutters attack him. I feel sad that he's going to come across prejudice and discrimination in the future, and I feel sad that he's going to have to spend his life correcting people's assumptions (if he wants to).

However, since he has come out, he's never been happier. He was a wide circle of friends and is does a million activities. He's faced no negativity (at least to his face) from any other children or adults that he associates with. He is the most confident (but not precocious) child I know and he is completely at one with himself.

He has brought a boyfriend home, and I can't deny that it felt strange. But I may feel the same way when his younger brother brings home a girlfriend.

I told both sets of grandparents, and my dad said - predictably - "Maybe he'll change his mind". My mum was not surprised at all. I don't think it has changed how much my dad loves him, but I think my dad would be uncomfortable diiscussing boyfriends with him.

DH's parents are a bit more "Daily Mail", and it took DH ages to tell them. They have been completely accepting too.

The only people who have had an issue are some of his friends' parents who are particularly religious. There have been occasions when their sons have not been allowed to sleep over, where they would have done in the past. I do think less of the parents for being like this, but superficially we get on fine. I know they would never admit to DS that that's the reason, so it's fine.

I found it hard to tell people, too. It's not something that comes up in conversation - your child's sexuality. So by telling people, it seemed like a bigger deal than it should be. Almost like an announcement.

Most cities have a GLBT centre with a phoneline for gay people, their friends and family. I've given DS the number in case he needs any advice. And I also know that he's used a GLBT youth talkboard on the PC.

I just want him to be happy and meet a nice partner and settle down (in a few years, obviously!) I think it would be easier to do that if he wasn't gay, but I'd be happy to be proved wrong.

Hope this saga has helped you a bit. Take care.

Thank you for sharing that, AP. That sums up exactly how it felt for me and my DH.

LeninGrad Thu 30-Sep-10 12:50:06

My mum fr-eaked so you're both ahead of her. I'd like to think she thought all these things and cared for my welfare but the fact is that she was just completely freaked out and fearful of what others would think. All ok now though (twenty years later).

Life is great, DP, CP, kids, great community etc

Back with more later if any use.

chipmonkey Thu 30-Sep-10 13:56:59

But we all know you're just going through a phase, Lenin.wink

ElephantsAndMiasmas Thu 30-Sep-10 14:39:17

Actually I think BIWI's just going through a straight phrase. It won't last

FWIW I do think that teens now are far more accepting of it than I would have been at that age. My DS (16) has friends who are gay, and in a relationship, and he is totally "meh" about it. It's just not an issue to him, or the rest of their circle of friends. I don't have any problem with homosexuality, being an aging hippy liberal type, but I have to almost think about the concept and decide that I'm ok with it, whereas to him it just seems like a non-issue and it wouldn't occur to him that it was something to be fine or not fine about, any more than a friend being blond or brunette was anything for him to have an opinion on.

So, hopefully, the LBGT children/teens on here will have a supportive circle of friends which will give them a good "buffer" against what the rest of the world is still maybe going to throw at them, and we'll be able to move on till its only an old fossil like me who even remembers that sexuality could be considered an "issue".

You're right about that, AMIS - his peer group, and my younger DS are sort of 'so?' about the whole thing, which is (obviously) fantastic.

How do you think I should break the news to DH that I'm coming to the end of my straight phase, Elephants? grin

chipmonkey Thu 30-Sep-10 22:04:54

Just bring your girlfriend home BIWI. He'll have to just lump it!grin

ElephantsAndMiasmas Thu 30-Sep-10 22:41:52

AMIS - It's weird because people are a lot more accepting in many ways (and there are lots of famous gay men and women who are out). But at the same time the homophobic bullying and "eugh that's so gay" stuff is still pretty prevalent in schools IME.

I really hope it'll be the same as the way that e.g. religion has become a non-story (with notable exceptions e.g. NI). When my mum's generation were growing up, whether someone was Catholic, CofE, Jewish etc was a massive deal. Now who even knows?

Can't you just move all his stuff into the spare room? And hang a pink fluffy sign saying "Hers & Hers" on your bedroom door?


<scouts for victims>

MamaChris Fri 01-Oct-10 09:08:16

To BIWI and AP, well done for reacting so well to your dcs, that's fantastic. Coming out to my dad took me a lot of courage (his response was good too).

I completely understand you both need to grieve for a future you had imagined that now may not happen quite that way (though like lots of my gay friends, I do have the CP, house, kids etc, and ds's dad is gay so also possible for gay guys, if that's what they want). But I'd like to say don't just be sad about the prejudice you imagine your ds will have to face. Be happy about the new life they will have too. It's true it's sometimes no picnic, and I do still need to become more confident myself, especially now ds is approaching school age. But I am very happy with my life, and I honestly wouldn't choose to swap a minute of it since I came out at 18 for a parallel straight life. Good luck to you and your ds's

LeninGrad Fri 01-Oct-10 10:00:56

What MamaChris said, it is a good age to come out as you've missed potential crap at school, although I'm glad to see that hasn't happened for AP's DS.

Stonewall are doing some great work to counter homophobic bullying in schools and I know our local LGBT youth group does a lot of outreach work with schools to explain how it was for them realising they were gay and coming out whilst at school. I've heard great things about our local secondary on this score which is fantastic.

I know my DSes will get a lot of 'your dad's gay' and I hope they can just say 'well, yes he is actually'. Not sure what they might get about having two mums.

chipmonkey Fri 01-Oct-10 12:09:54

You can't have too many Mums, IMO.smile

albusmycat Sat 02-Oct-10 15:46:17

My son is 21 and came out 4 years ago, as soon as he hit sixth form at school. He told me when he was 13 that he thought he might be, but I already suspected. It was a non issue for me, and, whilst respecting the obviously genuine nature of the feelings, I struggle to understand those who react with disappointment or shock. It has - almost literally - broken my heart seeing my wonderful, amazing son coming to terms with the fact that what he is is not defined as 'normal' by much of society.

FellatioNelson Tue 30-Nov-10 11:59:14

Hello all - have no personal experience to impart, but I just wanted to say that I have two sons of 18 and 15 and they regularly announce that someone or other in their aquaintance has come out. These days, providing your children are lucky enough to mix with reasonably decent intilligent well-balanced kids, their generation seems to be super-cool and laid back about the whole business. It barely raises an eyebrow. I can't begin to imagine the uproar if someone had come out at school 30 years ago!

Our children have grown up in an era when homosexuality is widely accepted as if not exactly 'normal' to most of them, then just another facet of life's rich pattern. Thankfully there is much less of a 'gawp and point' culture now, as we have so many celebrity and sprting role models who are opnely gay and clearly great. lovely, successful people. I think that has really enabled kids to come out younger and younger.

I drive past a VERY high-achieving girl's grammar school each day and I regularly see girl couples holding hands and canoodling quite openly. I am amazed that they have such confidence in themselves and their sexuality at only 15 or 16 years old - but
it's a good thing ultimately.

The only danger is that coming out of the closet too early can result in going back in aagain six months later when you get a girlfriend -as happened to one of my sons friends! His poor mother must have felt like her head had been put through a fast spin cycle!

outwardhome Mon 06-Dec-10 09:18:18


I know this topic is long dead, but for the benefit of anyone who may view it in the future I though I'd put my pennys worth in. I'm a 20 year old gay son (I don't know what the etiquette is with males, but I wanted to comment). I was forced out to my mum in less than pleasant circumstances by my first boyfriend, he turned out to be a nasty pece of work, but thats another story.

What struck me was this sentence in the original post:

"Whilst rationally I can accept it, emotionally it is a very different matter."

It's interesting to hear that because that is exactly the thoughts that I was having whilst I was realising that I was gay. I knew it as a fact, but couldn't come to terms with it emotionally. It's almost like a parent also has to come out for their children, maybe ask them for advice, since they have been through it? wink

When I came to terms with it emotionally I knew I would have to tell my parents and that thought just scared me more than I can say. No particular reasons, My parents are lovely, accepting and liberal people. But something makes saying "I am gay" an incredibly difficult thing to do.

The only problem I ever had with my Mum was that she would use the word "homosexual" rather than gay, but she got out of that habit quickly. Homosexual is a way to clinical word!


snowbuddy Tue 14-Dec-10 13:05:27

Thanks for such first hand, honest and insightful comments, Outwardhome. Helps me a lot in understanding how my son has had to cope emotionally with the realisation that he is gay. I would love to ask him for advice and maybe now I will.

Celeste63 Wed 22-Dec-10 08:11:08

My daughter, who is 16, told me she thought she was gay about a year and a half ago. It wasn't what I wanted or expected, but i told myself that it's not about me, it's about her and whether she is OK with herself and happy. I have several gay male friends and I've never given it a thought - but I guess when it's your own child feelings you didn't know you had come out. Things at school seem to be OK. I think a couple of girls treated her meanly but her friends are very kind and supportive. Her dad - we are divorced - doesn't know. He is very liberal about most things but this is his blind spot. He thinks people "turn gay" because they have no luck with the opposite sex.

Anyway, all well and good. I accepted her being gay as long as I didn't have to deal with it directly. I could continue to tell myself she might still change her mind. She came back from summer camp last year and suddenly burst into tears on her first night home - she was missing a girl she had "liked so much" and now would never see again - but that all happened far away from home. Now she tells me she has met a girl she likes and who likes her, a friend of a friend who doesn't go to her school. they are going out with a group to celebrate the end of term and then she wants to spend the night at this girl's house. It is not a group sleepover, she's the only one. I said OK but I have to talk to one of the parents first, but this was before the situation became clear to me. I am not thrilled. In fact, I am very upset and uncomfortable. If she were straight and wanted to spend the night at a boy's house at this age the answer would be an unqualified no. but is this different? Maybe I am being terribly un-PC, maybe putting my own discomfort ahead of my daughter's happiness and normal desire to have a girlfriend, but I really wish this wasn't happening and don't know what to do.

I'm not proud of this reaction! Here I was looking forward to a lovely Christmas break with the two of us spending some time together, now I feel it's been blighted, she is no longer just my daughter but this different person who may be having a sex life and I feel everything has changed overnight.

Sorry for this long post, just needed to get this off my chest. thanks for reading

Lucifera Wed 22-Dec-10 14:17:12

hi Celeste, haven't really got advice but was moved by your post; as a lesbian myself I remember when I came out to my mother and how important it was to me that she still loved and supported me. But I was a few years older than your DD and had had my first sexual relationship with a woman far from home. 16 doesn't seem to me exceptionally young to be having sex whether with boys or girls, but if you feel very much against it I think you should talk to your DD more. It sounds as if you are struggling with feelings of shock and revulsion at the idea of her having sex with another girl, more than you would if it were a boy; but if she is a lesbian, well, that's what we do! Did you know that there are organisations that offer support to parents of L&G children, like PFLAG? Perhaps it would be helpful for you to contact them?
The fact that your DD felt able to tell you when she was only 15 shows how much she loves and trusts you, I reckon. I hope you do have lovely times with her over Christmas.

Lucifera Wed 22-Dec-10 14:28:55

Celeste, me again - I just had a look through PFLAG website and actually it doesn't look that helpful; then I looked again and found FFLAG.

snowbuddy Wed 29-Dec-10 22:28:17

Dear Celeste, I can really empathise with your dilemma but this reply is probably reaching you long after the event. I have always felt nervous about my offspring going for any sort of sleepover on their own at age 16 when I have not met either the friend or the parents so I have always encouraged them to bring the friend home on a casual visit first but not to sleepover. I think in your shoes I would have tried to show enthuasism to meet the other girl, therefore showing acceptance of the relationship, and then offered to pick the girls up after their night out and take the other girl home. This is how I would have handled a new heterosexual relationship at this stage.

I didn't know my DS was gay at this stage but looking back, when he went for a sleepover with someone I didn't know I delivered him to the address and collected him myself the next day. I also have a straight DS and in both cases they were told to call me if they ever felt unhappy, nervous or threatened & I would come and collect them, however inconvenient it might have been to me.

Take care. Being a parent is certainly not easy!

Celeste63 Wed 19-Jan-11 14:41:08

Lucifera, snowbuddy, thanks so much for your kind responses. i don't have anyone I can discuss this with so I do appreciate having been able to come here. I have calmed down a lot over the past month and realized our whole life is not going to change overnight. DD came home from the sleepover - I did in fact meet the dad briefly beforehand, and the parents turned out to good friends of people I know, which made me feel better - very tired and seemed to be upset, in fact I'm pretty sure she was crying in her room. I don't know what that was about, as she didn't seem to want to talk about it. Since then she's seen the girl in question a couple of times, alone or with other friends, and she came here for an afternoon, which they spent playing music, chatting, giggling - didn't seem like a date but just like hanging out with any other friend. So maybe any romantic feelings are all on DD's side? I guess I'm still in denial and just relieved I don't have to face DD having a "girlfriend" just yet. once again, not feelings I'm particularly proud of, but I don't think i'd feel that much differently if a boy were involved.

catseverywhere Sat 05-Mar-11 12:23:02

My daughter (17 next month) came out to me last night - it wasn't a complete surprise, and I hope I handled it ok, did the obvious, told her there's nothing she could tell me that would make me love her any less and that it really isn't a problem, because it isn't. All I want for any of my children is for them to be happy, and if being with a woman will make her happy, then great.

It's today I'm feeling a little wobbly about it all, and these threads have been brilliant to read. So much of what other people have written is how I'm feeling - anxious about the prejudice and homophobia that still exists and that she will likely face at some time. I'm not even sure what her (older) brothers will be like about it, I strongly suspect my mum will disapprove, I think her dad (we are divorced) will be fine, but his girlfriend has said in the past she 'doesn't mind gays as long as they keep it to themselves'. Anyway, I'm not telling anyone until DD feels ready for anyone else to know.

Rambling, I know, sorry blush just worried about her and for her. I suspect the hardest part, coming to terms with it herself, may be over though, I hope so.

LeninGrad Mon 21-Mar-11 22:20:31

Hi, just seen this cats. The only difficulty in my life was the reaction of the parents, nothing else has even come close in terms of difficulty and upset. Even all that is resolved now.

I have the whole mortgage, CP and kids thing going on and am part of a great community, all is good smile

Just to update this thread - we have finally told my dad and DH's parents - and all went very well, and they were very accepting. My dad was lovely about it.

I'm so glad that it's all now in the open as it was getting to be a bit of an issue for us - I was always worried that someone might put their foot in it and inadvertently spill the beans.

redwillow Sun 02-Oct-11 08:59:40

This is a really great thread I am gay and have a beautiful son and i just wanted to add there are some great resources I go to a church called MCC it stands for metropolitan community church and has a special ministry for GBLT persons

troubledmother Fri 21-Sep-12 22:40:48

Old post I know but AP managed to say exactly what I am feeling. Liberal or not it is still a grieving process.

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