DD "worried" she might be a lesbian and hates it!!(18 Posts)
My Dd (11) told me a few days ago that she has "feelings" for a new friend at school and thinks she fancies her, and wonders what it might be like to kiss her. She's been aware of these feelings for some time, but says she woke up one morning and thought "omg I'm a lesbian!!" She is extremely upset and frightened by all this, crying, worrying, scared cos she doesn't want to be a lesbian because of how it might change her life. I hugged her for ages, told her I loved her no matter what and we talked. BUT it seems she's totally confused, she says she THINKS she wonders what it would be like to kiss girls, but nothing more. It may be worth mentioning she isn't really interested in boys but that's no surprise as she's a fairly "young" 11, but my biggest worry is that she is now talking about self harm as she wants to be like the other girls, discussing who they fancy etc but won't be able to and can't bear it. Essentially, she wants to be able to tell if she is gay or its just puberty and a girl crush or hormones gone crazy!! Help, don't know what to do to help her. So sad.
Oh I feel for you.
It's hard seeing our children upset and in turmoil.
You sound like a great, warm mother. I think you've done everything just right. I can't really add anything but I hope she finds some peace in her head soon.
Thanks, Accidental, it's horrible. Been looking on line, it seems that "crushing" and experiencing attraction to a friend is common with pubescent girls, and doesn't necessarily mean they are lesbians, although for some it will lead to a same sex relationship. Trying to get better informed so I can talk to her some more.
I went to an all girls school. This sort of crush happened quite a lot with all those hormones swilling around, its quite easy to become confused between feeling strongly for a friend and sexual desire. If your DD is 11 then she is either YR 6 or Yr 7, which is quite unsettling, with the knowledge that you are at the end of something and entering into a whole new period of your life. Boys are either immature peers or intimidatingly older and 'experienced' so its hard to find a legitimate 'safe' object of desire (especially as most girls are much more knowledgeable about the drawbacks of sex) which I guess is why boy bands etc are such big business. I know I was frightened of boys a bit and I can remember wanting to kiss my friend at 11 /12 but I couldn't imagine going further and having sex. I also had a lot of posters of crushes but I didn't think about sex with them either, they were just the focus of romantic fantasies etc.
I've been reading a lot about this period in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and intense female friendships and feelings of love are mentioned quite often. Today incidentally I read a health manual from the thirties and under the "problems of adolescence" chapter it says 'the girl is (quite normally) interested in her own sex and tends to form intense and romantic friendships with individuals. It is quite normal for these friendships to be formed'.
Books from the 40's and 50's etc, especially boarding school books do deal a lot with crushes on other girls, they have 'pashes' on each other and on certain young teachers. She might enjoy reading those sort of books, perhaps you could put a thread out asking for recommendations.
It could be the first showings of lesbian desire, it could be hormonal confusion, she could be bisexual, but it doesn't have to be a bad thing, hopefully with your help she will be able to explore her feelings over the next few years, its marvellous that she is able to talk to you about this stuff. I would encourage her to think of sexuality as a sliding scale rather than set boxes of homosexual/heterosexual, I think you fall in love with a person often rather than a gender.
reading a lot about this period *i.e. puberty in young girls
Tell her nothing to worry about either way - my aunt who sadly died recently had a lovely life with children and grandchildren in her gay marriage and everyone who cares about your dd will be pleased for her if she finds love with someone nice of any gender.
But also tell her many girls have romantic feelings for another woman in their life without defining themselves as gay. They feel heterosexual but have the same experience as your dd. this DM reported study of interviews with heterosexual women say it is more than half of all women. Share with her that this is completely normal for heterosexual women as well as gay women:
I'd tell her that she might be, that it wouldn't be the end of the world if she were, but that she's 11 and doesn't need to worry or identify as anything for several years.
It sounds as if you have a great, open relationship.
Y y - is lovely she installing to you about this - you must have a great bond.
R2 and and Lost, thanks so much, all very helpful stuff. It seems that she has "mapped" out her whole life based on her feelings at 11 years old, and that there's a very strong probability that she's a lesbian. She says she looks at lots of girls, thinks they're pretty, and wonders what it would be like to go out with them. What she can't say is what she thinks "going out" means-but it certainly doesn't seem to entail doing anything remotely sexual! We have a great relationship, but I have to say I am so worried about her as she seems a little depressed/anxious about this. She told me tonight she'd do anything to stop feeling this way.
Hi. Maybe you need to look at the type of tv programmes/movies she is watching. They could be making her feel confused, as well as make her overthink this whole situation. Encourage her to enjoy her childhood. Do childish things and not to be worrying about such topics. She'll be all grown up soon enough.
Completely agree that at this age crushes are normal and not a sign of sexuality. My mum, who is definitely straight, tells me she had crushes on her female teachers, and I, now in a civil partnership, definitely had crushes on boys at that age!
I'd tell her that she is of an age when she doesn't have to decide and can 'test' out feelings to see if they fit. Perhaps also find out why she is so keen not to be gay? Has she been teased at school? Are there negative comments coming from anywhere that a)might be making her think she is and b)that this is bad?
Your support in whatever she chooses is vital and clearly what you are doing which is great . If she does conclude she is gay, then lots of examples of cool and good role models might help eg Sue Perkins and a stress that it doesn't reduce her happiness in life.
Sounds like you're doing a great job. Wish there were more like you!
I think R2PeePoo's advice is very good. I think lots of my friends at an all girl senior school had 'crushes', which we later understood to be feelings of admiration rather than attraction - I wanted to be that person, rather than wanting to be with them. Perhaps you can talk about that with her a little more... She sounds like she is very mature for her age and able to vocalise her feelings.
Speaking as someone who is married to a man but has always identified as 'bi-sexual' (I was 13 when I first really knew this believe it or not!) it's great that you, like my parents, are very supportive of her. You seem to be giving her all the right advice at the moment.
I don't think she can know 100% at the moment and it really doesn't matter either way - I know a girl who in 6th form thought she was a lesbian but is now living with a man!
Also fwiw - if she does really think she is gay and is worried about bullying: I've found (in the school I work at) that kids who are 'gay/lesbian' and are confident and open about it tend not to be bullied, nor do any of the girls (in fact in years 8 & 9 it seems quite 'cool' to be snogging your best mate if you are a girl!)- its the kids (mostly boys) who are actually straight but camp that do!! (Probably because they get so wound up.)
Hi NinaNetball, my hear goes out to your dd, you sound like a lovely mum who she can talk to openly. I wish I'd had that.
R2PeePoo: 'I would encourage her to think of sexuality as a sliding scale rather than set boxes of homosexual/heterosexual, I think you fall in love with a person often rather than a gender.' Spot on. I love this advice. I feel exactly like this and identify as bi, but think it's common for women tbh.
Does your dd know about bisexuality? The pressure to be either straight or gay might be a contributing factor to her distress/ confusion if she's neither. Bisexuality is often invisible. It might be worth pointing out to her that it exists. And of course, she doesn't have to decide how to identify yet. It is definitely too early to label her sexual orientation - hell, it took me until late 20s to work mine out!
I think with girls especially, romantic feelings come long before sexual ones. She's only 11. I would be concerned if she did think about 'going out' with someone, of either sex, in a sexual way. They just don't at that age. It is more social. My first 'bf' and I barely held hands and we were 12 or 13.
The talking about self-harming jumped out at me. You may want to take her to your GP or get her some counselling privately.
No real advice, but feeling bad for you! So horrible to watch them suffer. The only thing I wish somebody had told me at that age was that 'these things all end', that things that seem insurmountable now just, well, aren't later in life. It seems that being a lesbian isn't what scares her, so much as being 'different', so maybe share with her something that made you think you're life was 'over' at that age?
Hi Nina, was just about to post my own thread when saw this one, had almost exactly the sane conversation with my 12 year old DD yesterday, like your DD she is upset and confused, I've reassured her that 12 is very young to define her sexuality and also that I couldn't give a flying f** if she is lesbian, bi or fancies aardvarks! I feel for you and your DD but I think you should be proud as a mum that she came to talk to you, I'm really pleased my DD felt she could and ultimately I think openness and acceptance from us as mums will help them whatever path their future relationships take. Hugs xx
First thing is don't panic! She might not even be gay tbh.
Hormones, puberty... all that jazz. Like all teenagers she is going through the hormone mill at the moment.
Another aspect is that TV and Film constantly portray young women as bisexual. Young girls watch these things and think "oh that's cool" and it plays on their mind. The number of young "bisexual" girls around today is crazy! As a gay man who goes out to gay clubs a little bit I see young "bisexual / lesbian" women all the time. My gaydar tells me 90% of the time it's rubbish, they just want to seem cool.
Anyway, what i'm trying to say is give plenty of support, acknowledge your DD is just going through the hormone mill and whatever will be will be.
If she is a lesbian then she is. Given the current pressure on young girls to be "bisexual" because it's cool it's quite possible this is a phase.
I know that sounds homophobic but i'm a gay guy myself, I write alot of this from experience of young lesbian friends.
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