Help with relationship rules for my gay daughter

(50 Posts)
Cazlit Tue 16-Apr-13 22:46:14

Hi. My daughter told me she was gay 4 days after her 14th birthday then wouldn't speak about it at all until she texted me, in high spirits, from a Florence and the Machine gig last November to tell me again. Now she is 16 and a half and has her first girlfriend, another girl at school. All cool so far. However she has a really active social media social life and has lots of Twitter friends that she skypes regularly and is planning to meet up with some of them, during half term, at the Chime for Change concert at Twickenham. We want to let her go, even though it is in the middle of GCSE's, as an incentive to work during half term, but she has told us that the girls she is meeting up with at the gig are from her 'other internet life' and are all 19/20ish. We would never let her go out alone with unknown boys/ men this age so why are we tempted to relax the rules because they're girls? Our daughter is bright, articulate and great at interacting with my friends, but they are in their 40's and aren't going to encourage her to drink alcohol or attempt to seduce her, hopefullysmile. We understand how opposite sex relationships tended to work for us in the olden days, but have no one to tell us the way gay women tend to navigate relationships. My husband thinks we shouldn't worry, if teenage girls were inherently predatory he'd have had a far more interesting sex life in his late teens! Any advice gratefully sought.

Same issue with sleepovers. We wouldn't let her have a boyfriend sleepover, but she's been having girls sleepover since she was 5. Seems odd to stop it now, but if she might be having sex with them shouldn't we be using the same moral compass to navigate this issue as we would if she was asking boys to spend the night?

ripsishere Wed 17-Apr-13 02:49:38

IMO, you should treat it in the same way you would a heterosexual issue.
Will her GF be there with them?

ripsishere Wed 17-Apr-13 02:51:14

I wanted to add, not too sure about the sleepovers. I have a very close lesbian friend, I have slept at her house, and even in her bed without any sexual shenanigans happening. I have to say I was around 17 when that started, so older.
I honestly doubt your DD would be inviting random girls from her class over for purposes other than she normally would.

nooka Wed 17-Apr-13 04:06:46

Of course you can get predatory gay women, our friend's daughter was in an abusive relationship with an older girl at around about the same age as your dd. As to how common it is I've no idea.

I think that you need to put the lesbian thing to one side for a moment, as just because your dd is meeting up with a group of girls doesn't mean that they are all lesbian or indeed even if they were that they have any particular interest in your dd. So think if she hadn't told you she was gay would you be worried about the scenario? Would you let her go to the gig with a bunch of older girls you've not met? It's totally reasonable to be concerned about the age difference regardless, and I think your concerns about alcohol are probably more relevant really.

With the sleepovers the problem is that if you say she can't have girls over just in case she might be having sex with them then essentially you are segregating her and I doubt that she will react well at all. Plus it's not a very trusting attitude, when it doesn't sound as if your dd has given you any cause to suspect that her 'moral compass' is different from your own (although I'd say that many 16 year olds enjoy sexual relations).

flow4 Wed 17-Apr-13 07:27:12

I would be very uncomfortable about meeting internet/online 'friends' alone on strange territory at night, whether they were male or female, 16 or 60. And I mean I wouldn't want to do it, let alone want my DCs to...

If she's going with a 'real life' friend too, though, and you run through basic safety rules with her, I think that's ok.

The sleepover rules are very different. I have always felt I'd prefer my DCs to be safe in their own beds than elsewhere, so BFs or GFs would be welcome.

Cazlit Wed 17-Apr-13 07:58:16

Thanks for advice so far. I am new to mums net. DD? Daughter something? I trust my daughter most of the time, Nooka: We left her home alone for a week to go skiing with the boys because she didn't want to come and she did well. Loads of my friends say they'd never trust their children or their friends enough to do this. Her girlfriend comes over and we leave them home alone, because it would be really weird not to, but I just wonder if because they are both girls and there is no risk of unwanted pregnancy, and less risk of STD that we are being less vigilant than we would be if it were a boy that she was having over. Of course most of her friends are straight but she does hang around with a group who identify as gay and transgender, of course I don't think they are all trying to have sex with her, and I'm comfortable with the knowledge that 16 year olds have sex. But I am of the opinion that her Internet buddies are predominantly gay as it is such an easy way to be open and meet people of a similar ilk, which is such a good thing in so many ways, but the girls she will meet at the concert are, I think, predominantly gay and 3 or 4 years older than her and miles away from home, German, Australian etc, so in a completely different stage of their lives to my daughter. Her GF wont be there: I think I've answered my own question. But I do want her to go, I'm so ambivalent, she has such positive powerful relationships with these women and its a wonderful opportunity to meet several of them in one go, not so far from home.

In general, what I would like is advice from gay women about their experience of finding their feet in relationships but I guess there aren't many if them on mumsnet. I think I'm in the wrong place. Is all very well to say put her sexuality to one side, but it does change things, although many of her experiences will be the same as mine or my husbands, many will be different. Surely our own experience is what we use most to navigate us through parenting and we don't have that knowledge We want to be as well informed as we can be by people who have experience with this situation, either as a gay person themselves or as parents of gay girls.

ripsishere Wed 17-Apr-13 08:01:38

You sound like a lovely mum. I know there are several gay mums on these boards, there is in fact a separate area for them. Have a search.
I think there are support groups for parents of LGBT children.

Cazlit Wed 17-Apr-13 08:07:50

Hi Flow4. This whole Internet friend thing is so unfamiliar to my generation, but it isn't all Daily Mail horror stories. I've spoken to one of her friends on the phone and seen her when they've been Skyping, and read letters from her. In so many ways my daughters use of the Internet is thoroughly modern and empowering. I would say these people are her friends.

I have no advice, Cazlit, as I've never been in your situation but couldn't read your posts without thinking what an intelligent, reasoned, loving and supportive parent you sound. smile

Katz Wed 17-Apr-13 08:17:25

I think, regardless of sexuality, that I wouldn't be happy with my 16 year daughter meeting up with a group of 19/20 year old she'd met on the Internet. My girls aren't that old (10 and 7) yet but this would be a no-no for me.

Katz Wed 17-Apr-13 08:18:18

Should add that if either of my girls are gay that I can be as open and understanding as you come across.

colditz Wed 17-Apr-13 08:19:12

Lack of sleep overs in heterosexual relationships are more about prevention of pregnancy IMHO.

Once my kids are legal I don't mind who they are doing as long as it is safe, legal, and I don't have to hear it at 3 am

colditz Wed 17-Apr-13 08:20:52

Saying that, 19 and 20 year olds are not necessarily the streetwise adults you are predicting. My friends who are gay all seem a little more sexually innocent than their heterosexual peers, perhaps through lack of opportunity in a v small town!

colditz Wed 17-Apr-13 08:22:19

Op there is a topic for gltb parents, maybe ask there? They'd have experienced being a gay sixteen year old ... Also a gay twenty year old.

Laquila Wed 17-Apr-13 08:23:38

I don't really have any experience or advice on this, I'm afraid, and can only second the comments that you sound like a very patient and understanding mum!

All I can suggest is that you ask your daughter to keep in regular contact with you whilst she's at the concert, and make sure she knows to let you know if she feels uncomfortable or threatened at all (which frankly seems quite unlikely to me).

Cazlit Wed 17-Apr-13 08:26:27

Thanks folks. I think you're right Katz, I don't feel comfortable about it, but another part of me is asking, just because this way of having relationships is unfamiliar to me, should I stifle my daughter's opportunity to embrace it? As it turns out, she probably isn't going now as she has a GCSE on the following Monday, not Wednesday as originally assured. Genuine mistake, honest Mum, pleeeease...

Cazlit Wed 17-Apr-13 08:29:50

Sound advice. While we were away for a week she texted twice! Luckily we'd arranged for people to have her round for dinner a few times and they texted us.

Messandmayhem Wed 17-Apr-13 08:36:33

I think regardless of sexuality her experiences could be very different from yours, just due to generational differences, the culture of her friendship group etc. My sister is only 5 1/2 years younger than me but her experiences are VASTLY different from my own, and both of is had vastly different experiences from our parents.

I don't know about the meeting up with internet friends. Perhaps take some precautions like asking to drop her off / collect her, check in my phone at x time, strict no alcohol with dire consequences if she drinks, and (although it's very unlikely that anything untoward will happen) leave these women's contact details (including social media names/twitter handles) in a sealed envelope with you.

Has she spoke to these women on skype / the phone? So she can be sure they are women? Would she let you speak to them?

I wouldn't stop sleepovers, I would just talk to her about safe sex, her right to say no and general respect for your household.

BIWI Cote D'Ivoire Wed 17-Apr-13 08:49:46

As the mother of a gay son, I'm really rather puzzled by your posts. I can see that you will be concerned about your daughter, but I really don't understand why her being gay comes into it at all.

MooMooSkit Wed 17-Apr-13 08:58:10

I'm not sure I'd be letting her go out with people off the internet, especially round her Gcse's but now she's sixteen I don't see the issue with her having sex? Even if she was straight I wouldn't have a problem. I've always said once mine are 16 they can have partners over (so long as they are of legal age to) and as long as they are safe and not bonking at 1am keeping me awake it's fine.

TheFallenNinja Wed 17-Apr-13 09:01:38

Gay or straight. Rules are rules. If your not comfortable or concerned the put in whatever rules remove the concern, make the rules clear and hope for the best

Good luck

Cazlit Wed 17-Apr-13 15:19:43

Ok. This is all semantics now as the concert is off due to the ongoing stretching of the truth about all things GCSE, but it is still an interesting debate.

My post is puzzling, let's try and clear it up. There are lots of things going on here: homosexuality, social networking, boundaries, independence, GCSE's etc. All topics I feel able to address with my daughter, and have done, we have what I believe to be a close relationship. Why is her being gay relevant? These are my feelings.

1. If she were heterosexual and was going to a concert with some late teen guys she'd met on the Internet, she wouldn't be going.

2. If she were heterosexual and was going to a concert with a bunch of late teen girls she'd met on the Internet, she'd probably be going.

3. She is gay. Does situation 2 or 3 apply?

Lets get it clear, these are definitely girls she will be meeting, they have been seen and spoken to, in my opinion this isn't a chat room disaster waiting to happen, but simply a situation that I have no frame of reference for.

BIWI Cote D'Ivoire Wed 17-Apr-13 15:37:45

But surely the issue is about her safety in going to a concert with people she has never met on the internet. It's nothing to do with her being gay!

Floralnomad Wed 17-Apr-13 15:48:26

I am the mother of a gay son and I can see where you are coming from . If it were my son in the same circumstances he wouldn't be going . Likewise with the sleepover issue I do not have people sleeping over and as I pointed out to my son when he was about 17 and embarking on his first serious relationship it didnt matter whether it was male or female I would still not be having people sleeping over. They are welcome to be in his room until 11.30 and can do what they want but at 11.30 I expect everyone to be downstairs so that everyone else who lives here can go to bed . The same rules will apply to my younger child who as far as I am aware is heterosexual .

Cazlit Wed 17-Apr-13 16:06:30

Hi BIWI. I believe she would probably be safe with a group of girls she met on the Internet if they were straight, I believe she might not be safe with a group of boys she met on the Internet if they were all straight. I am struggling to form an opinion of the third scenario, which only arises because she is gay. I think this is relevant, can you explain why it isn't?

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