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!
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.
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!"
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? .
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).
(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
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!!
Sign MN is coming of age really! The babies are all growing up!
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!
<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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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