Struggling with my lesbian daughter losing her femininity

(42 Posts)
ferniegirl Sat 23-Mar-13 00:02:52

My 19 yr old daughter came out when she was 15 and it has taken me a while to fully come to terms with it. I always supported her and was welcoming to her girlfriends but I did struggle. One of the main reasons is that she is stunningly beautiful, a real head turner and that always made me proud, shallow I know but that is how I felt. She then announced that she was sick of guys hitting on her and was going to have her (long blonde) hair cut short. I felt a bit upset at this but she went ahead and although it was completely different it did suit her. Then the other day she had it cut again, even shorter and itlooks bloody awful, shaved up the back and totally brutal. I hate it and my husband hates it too. As he said "it seems she is doing her utmost to look as unnattractive as possible".

She also shops at Topman and even wears boxer shorts.She looks like a bloke.

My heart is broken. I love her so much but this masculine thingis killing me and I dont know how to get over it. I would love some support from other mums of gay girls. Thanks!

JennyPiccolo Sat 23-Mar-13 00:08:12

My dd is only 2 but I have a lot of gay friends, some dress more masculine than others. Some not at all.

Your daughter is 19. She won't always look the way she does or dress the way she does. When I was 19 I had bleach blonde dreadlocks. She's still a teenager and experimenting with how she wants the world to perceive her. I really wouldn't try to make a big issue of it. She needs to know you love her anyway. She will probably change her look again, but if she doesn't, it's her choice.

AllPurposeNortherner Sat 23-Mar-13 00:08:28

Is there any possibility that she might be having doubts about her gender? Obviously how she dresses and has her hair is her own business, but dressing in mens clothes and getting a mens haircut seem quite extreme.

Then again, I dress in mens clothes sometimes and I'm definitely female.

AnnieLobeseder Sat 23-Mar-13 00:11:21

How sad that you care so much about your daughter's appearance and "femininity" (which is nothing more than a social construct). She's 19, she's exploring her identity like any teen, gay or straight. Just be there for her, she'll find her true self eventually. And even if she does stay as "masculine" as she us now, surely as long as she's comfortable in her own skin, you should be happy for her?

LuisGarcia Sat 23-Mar-13 00:18:08

Her haircut choice is breaking your heart?


AnnieLobeseder Sat 23-Mar-13 00:23:49

I think you need to realise that this is all about you and nothing to do with her. Have you considered getting counselling to help you come to terms with your discomfort with her sexuality and appearance, and these unfair expectations you have of her?

AllPurposeNortherner Sat 23-Mar-13 00:24:45

I hope you aren't letting her know how you feel, btw...

SingingSands Sat 23-Mar-13 00:30:53

The OP doesn't have unfair expectations, it sounds more like a form of grief. It is hard watching a loved one change, and I'm sure the OP loves and supports her daughter, but feels conflicted by the person she 'used' to be or 'might' have been, compared to the person she is becoming now.

Jennypicolo gives good advice upthread - your daughter is young, changing, forging her identity. This is exiting for her, but scary for you.

alwayslateforwork Sat 23-Mar-13 00:37:14

When I was 19 I had long beautiful wavy hair.

I was also a cadet and spent most of my spare time wearing combats and boots with my hair scraped back in a tight bun. Even when not in uniform I wore doc martens. This isn't new.

In the intervening years I have oscillated between hair to my waist, and a pixie cut.

I am actually speechless that your heart is broken for such a shallow reason. You're okay with her sexuality, etc etc, but devastated because she got her hair cut and wears boxers?

Get a grip.

I am hugely in favour of flauting stupid gendered rules like 'girls have to wear panties' and 'only boys can have short hair'.

You can't seriously be heartbroken because she has the sense to see past such gendered bullshit?

I could understand if you were concerned that she would be drawing unnecessary cultural criticism, and making life harder for herself because she has chosen (at this moment) not to toe the farcical cultural line. But no, it's just that she is exploring what is culturally labeled the masculine.

Good for her, whatever she chooses to do in the future. More people need to understand that femininity and masculinity are entirely culturally constructed, and start blurring (and erasing) the lines.

I'm entirely straight, by the way. You don't have to be a lesbian to be pissed off that you are supposed to dress and look a certain way to garner male attention.

I'm also happily married, with three children, before any unnecessary stereotypes about bitter old hags get dragged out. I can gussy up. If I want to.

BestIsWest Sat 23-Mar-13 00:42:37

Actually OP, I sympathise with you. I'd be the same. Whilst we love our children and accept what they are, we still have to come to terms with their choices. It takes time and I think some of the other posters are being a bit harsh. All we can do is love them. We can't control them. That doesn't mean we aren't allowed feelings of our own.

Startail Sat 23-Mar-13 00:43:02

Shallow it maybe, but I'd hate DD quite a lot if she did that to her beautiful hair.

HotheadPaisan Sat 23-Mar-13 00:48:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LuisGarcia Sat 23-Mar-13 00:50:06

I'd hate DD quite a lot if she did that to her beautiful hair


BigSpork Sat 23-Mar-13 01:28:09

I had this when I was a teen - I had a very masculine time period and my parents hated it. Would not stop going on about it - especially about my hair. Even after I left home I would get remarks about how I would look so much better if my hair was like it was when I was little (blonde and styled rather than it's natural charcoal brown). Part of the reason for it was I felt safer in a lot of places if I passed as male, particularly when I started doing classes that let out after dark down town and harassed by quite a few men, and partially because my masculine side is part of who I am and I enjoy expressing it which I hadn't been able to do until then so glutted for a while. My parents didn't seem to understand this, both had very rigid ideas of who I should be and my mother particularly had very odd ideas about how I should be after I came out to her.

Since then, I've settled in a more feminine public style: no make-up or heels, but prefer skirts and about half my shirts are girly and quite feminine bright green glasses. But I still wear my hair it's natural dark colour and since then I've began covering it in cloth tie caps. I like how I look in them...and I like taking my hair out of the public picture where it was drama for so long.

And since then I've had no real relationship with my parents. Funny that. Haven't seen them in over 9 years, I can't take their drama and they can't make an effort.

differentnameforthis Sat 23-Mar-13 05:52:54

but I'd hate DD quite a lot if she did that to her beautiful hair


Branleuse Sat 23-Mar-13 06:10:56

Branleuse Sat 23-Mar-13 06:12:12

I hope you realise that its your attitude that needs to change. Not her appearance

bigredbook Sat 23-Mar-13 06:23:34

I do sympathise with you and I think that I might feel some of what you are feeling if my daughter did this. BUT as posters have already said this is something that you have to deal with as your issue, not hers.

Also, bear in mind there are thousands of parents of teenagers in the UK who don't like the way their children dress, cut/colour their hair/pierce things/tattoo. Try and look at it that way - she is young and trying to find her identity. I can promise you that at the age of 32 I don't wear the clothes I wore when I was 19 ;)

I do understand but really its just not worth getting worked up about.

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 23-Mar-13 06:26:36

It's a small, cosmetic and reversible change, should she choose to change her mind.
Are you really that shallow? is your love for your daughter based on her appearance?
That's horrifying.

kernowmissvyghen Sat 23-Mar-13 07:58:20

There's no need to give the OP such a kicking. She's said she lover her daughter. She's posting for help and support about something she's struggling with. She hasn't posted in AIBU.

OP, I think I understand where you're coming from. Your daughter seems to be rejecting a part of herself (her external appearance) that you treasure and have taken a lot of pleasure from over the years.

Are you worried about how her new appearance is going to affect how others treat her? At 19 she is unlikely to be settled in a long term job yet- are you worrying about the impression created at job interviews etc?

I am not wise enough to offer advice, but it might help to unpick exactly what is upsetting you, and maybe work through it in your mind or on here (maybe not in this thread given the unhelpful comments you've had so far...)

Also, remember that there are lots of far more dangerous and harmful ways for a teenager to rebel against the world! I think there are many mothers who would swap their teenager's drug problem, say, for short hair and unconventional pants smile

nkf Sat 23-Mar-13 08:07:00

It's not forever. I think you are mourning something you have lost, some idea of what your daughter would be like. I imagine there are resources that will offer you some very specific support. I think MN is a bit too much of a catch all for this sort of post. But I may be wrong.

ferniegirl Sat 23-Mar-13 09:57:24

Thank you all for your replies but I am shocked at the judgement I have received on here. Some of you are right, it feels like a loss and I am struggling to find out why. Yes I am in counselling, no I have not hurt her by telling her how I feel. I love her. I will not be posting here again and will delete my account. I am literally shaking. Thank you to the lovely people who have been supportive and tried to understand.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sat 23-Mar-13 10:59:42

My mother has spent the best part of my life trying to 'fix' me. In my late 30s, after a huge row over shoes she has either realised that either I am not broken or she has simply given up. I suspect the latter. I know that I don't conform to her idea of pretty and tbh it does hurt, but not nearly as much as denying my own sense of self would.

hazelnutcoffee Thu 04-Apr-13 16:55:24

Hey OP,

A lot of why she has done this is because she is exploring her identity, and what it means to fit in with being in the lesbian community. I did the same thing when I was her age - thinking that I needed to dress and act a certain way if I was to be accepted by the LGBT community (I needed to 'look' like a lesbian). As she gets older, hopefully she'll realise she can look however she likes, though that may mean she presents in a butch/masculine way or a femme/feminine way. This is part of the process of learning who she is and how she wants other people to perceive her. She probably wants to make a statement about her identity right now, and she may or may not feel the need to carry on doing that as she grows up.

Just wanted to point out in your message two things that I think link together:

She then announced that she was sick of guys hitting on her...
[her father] said "it seems she is doing her utmost to look as unattractive as possible".

If her male role-model is saying she seems to be making herself unattractive (to men), and she's tired of getting hit on by men, it makes sense that this is part of the reason for her wanting to do this. Again, I did the same thing at her age.... and boys certainly left me alone!

colditz Thu 04-Apr-13 17:00:46

She doesn't want to look attractive to heterosexual men, she wants to look attractive to lesbians, because she is a lesbian. What her father perceives as attractive to him will be exactly what she is trying to avoid, so as to be basically invisible to the men mithering her throughout out her teens.

It must feel very liberating to avoid the all consuming male gaze whilst still being attractive to the people she finds attractive, I actually envy her.

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