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?

Cazlit Fri 19-Apr-13 09:13:38

Thanks, Devora. sashh. You just want them to not get hurt, or out of their depth, don't you, but you want them to have fun... and my, isn't it easy to forget the merry dance you weaved around your own mum at that age?

sashh Fri 19-Apr-13 05:58:56

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.

Nail, head, hit on.

Lets face it most parents don't want a teenage pregnancy and that's why they impose rules about not having boys stay over.

You sound incredibly sensible and so does she and you also seem to have a good relationship.

Devora Thu 18-Apr-13 19:07:08

Hey, I live a stone's throw from Twickenham. Tell her if there's any funny stuff she's to ring me and I'll be down there in ten minutes to sort them out [scary older lesbian emoticon] grin

Cazlit Thu 18-Apr-13 10:29:55

Thank you so much for these most recent posts, they are really helpful. Devora, it's interesting what you say about older lesbians taking younger ones under their wing. I do get a sense that my DD is getting a lot of emotional support from these older lesbians that she has met on-line. I think is is fantastic that she is able to be so open and confident in her sexuality at her age. When I was in my late teens it was the height of the AIDS panic and section 28 was being dreamt up in parliament. What a difficult time that must have been to be a gay teenager.

I am generally very approving of her internet relationships, but I hear all the concerns about internet safety. I think my DD has approached this in a mature and safe way so far, I know all about it for a start, but if we change our minds and she does go I think there will be some discreet chaperoning going on , maybe a friend and I will get tickets too, so we can take her and collect her or go for a meal in Twickenham for the same reason.

orangefootedscrubfowl I think you're right, that a 19 year old might find a 16 year old interesting in a platonic way, but in my day social circles were so small you were less likely to meet people you clicked with even if they were the same age as you, it is the internet that has closed age gaps by bringing so many more people to the party.

Thanks also to those of you that covered the 'double standard' issue. I think this is one of the biggest things that has been bothering me. If she wanted to go out with a group of older boys I am sorry to say I would have different standards because of risk of pregnancy and std from unplanned sex. But there it is. I can't operate the same rules with same sex relationships because now that the girls are the boys, so to speak, and as all her relationships are with girls, this would mean far too much 'policing' of relationships that have no need of policing at all.

People are right, I will use my judgement, speak to my DD and I will get a feel as to whether her friends are goodens or badens regardless of their age, sex or sexuality.

Enjoy your day everyone.

Devora Wed 17-Apr-13 22:29:01

Another gay mother here, but that doesn't give me special insight and I'm not at all sure how to reply to this, OP. It depends: largely on your dd's maturity and your ability to trust her choices and judgements.

I could say that lesbians are, IME, generally less predatory than men. And that would be true. But also irrelevant because without doubt some lesbians are predatory and some are just horrible people.

I could say that some lesbians do take young lesbians under their wing, looking after/out for them in a non-sexual way. I remember befriending a 14 year old gay girl when I was 20. She slept in my bed a couple of times, when she got stuck out late and couldn't get home. I never touched her, of course: she was 14. But that doesn't give you any guarantees either.

I agree with others that you can't stop the kind of normal social contacts girls have with each other because there is a chance of sexual activity. But you can have the usual rules about meeting up with strangers, meeting with older people etc.

OrangeFootedScrubfowl Wed 17-Apr-13 22:12:25

Why shouldn't a 19 year old find a 16 year old interesting in a platonic way though? Not all 19 year olds will dismiss all 16 year olds as a waste of time. Especially on the internet where you usually get to know people before thinking about their appearance, age, their... 'status' I suppose.

rhetorician Wed 17-Apr-13 21:37:15

Wot gay40 said.

Gay40 Wed 17-Apr-13 21:29:29

There are predatory lesbians...there are predatory people in every strand of life, but it sounds like you've got everything covered in your conversations with her. I wouldn't worry too much. Same rules apply with safety, keeping in touch etc.
Also, lesbian girl A and lesbian girl B are not necessarily attracted to each other. I can't say the same for our male counterparts.

rhetorician Wed 17-Apr-13 21:28:53

I am gay, and old enough to be predatory...seriously though, I can't add much to being lesbian and 16 as I didn't really know I was at that age, or certainly had none of the supports/ confidence to be out at that age. So that's really positive. Of course lesbians can be predatory, exploitative, manipulative just as anyone else can. When I was younger, there were often older lesbians around at the very very few and rather secretive venues where you could meet other women, and whilst most of them were fine, there were a few leery ones. But they never did anything, and were mostly rather pathetic and sad, at least in my 23 year old view. I did think things have changed a lot, and I think my concerns would be about meeting up with people she only knows online. I don't think being gay comes into really. Your rules are about her safety and those rules stand. You can't assume that lesbians will be nicer to your daughter than boys, although the ways in which they might be nasty/unpleasant are less driven by testosterone, masculine self image etc...

spottyparrot Wed 17-Apr-13 21:23:50

I don't think you need the same rules as for heterosexual relationships for teenagers because there is no risk of pregnancy. So sleepovers with similarly aged girl fine IMO. However, meeting random strangers off the Internet is a whole different issue which has nothing to do with sexuality. I wouldn't be happy with that, unless someone can chaperone.

I wouldn't let dd meet up with older teenagers that she doesn't know in real life - that age gap is too big and a younger teenager may not know how to say no to drinking, drugs, sex.

With regards to sleepovers I would let her girlfriend stay over once I knew she was ready for a sexual relationship. I wouldn't if it was a boy - dont give a toss about double standards here, I would be more concerned about pregnancy with a boy. She already has girls as friends that I like that have slept over. Frankly I just don't want teenage boys in the house, teenage girls I know, fine.

caroldecker Wed 17-Apr-13 21:15:50

agree with flow, I would be worried about pregnancy or rape/abuse. This seems significantly less likely in this scenario, so would let her go - although I do know some predatory lesbians myself

flow4 Wed 17-Apr-13 21:07:57

Well then, if you and she have 'met' them, I think you can relax. smile

If one of these young women makes a pass at your DD, it works exactly the same way as it would if a boy made a pass. If your DD is interested, she responds; and if she isn't, she doesn't. It is exactly as easy to say "No thanks, I'm not interested" to a woman as to a man. Honestly. smile

FWIW, I am not a lesbian myself, but I have many lesbian friends, and have had since about your daughter's age. I'm finding the idea of a 'predatory lesbian' rather odd. 'Predatory' is a difficult word to define, but to my mind, it implies someone who might actually be dangerous, rather than someone who might flirt or make a pass. A man 5 years older than a 16 year old girl might be a genuine physical threat, but a woman 5 years older is unlikely to be, unless your DD is very small...

Cazlit Wed 17-Apr-13 20:50:07

Hi flow4. She hasn't met them but, as I have said , she has seen and spoken to them,they have Skyped, so identified as youngish and female. I've spoken to one of them and she was utterly charming. When she sent my DD a mix tape she wrote a letter to me too. She comes alive when she is 'with 'them. I am struggling with ambivalence, half of me says she should go the other half says no.

We are thinking on it tonight.

flow4 Wed 17-Apr-13 20:36:24

Cazlit, I am a bit confused about a crucial detail... Has your DD ('dear daughter'!) met these women before or not?

If so, I think it's fine. If you trust her instincts, she'll already have made her judgements about them, and wouldn't want to go if she felt uncomfortable.

If not, I don't think it's OK, and I think that has nothing to do with sexuality. The women may be exactly what they seem, but they may not be safe company for a 16 year old. Or worse, people who are apparently 19 yo friendly lesbians on the internet, may turn out to be 49yo distinctly creepy men in RL. I am not being a DM old fogey here - I have internet dated myself - and mostly it has been fine - but I have had a couple of dodgy experiences, and it has been enough to make me unwilling to want a 16yo to take the risk.

BIWI Wed 17-Apr-13 20:06:35

But they are only 3 or 4 years older than her! What's the issue with that?

Cazlit Wed 17-Apr-13 19:31:54

Yeah.maybe a couple of my girlfriends and I should go too, not hang out with her , she wouldn't want that, but enjoy the event and be there to take her home at the end. Good idea. Oh yeah, but I forgot, she isn't going cos she lied about her exam dates! May be I should just go without hersmile

BIWI, there is absolutely nothing homophobic in this thread. Floralnomad is right to say what she said. I do wonder why 19/20 year old women are talking to my daughter at 1am on a Saturday morning when they could be hanging out with friends there own age in their own country. When I was 19/20 I would have thought a 16 year old girl a ridiculous waste of my time. When I know these girls are gay and want to meet my daughter at gigs why shouldn't I wonder if they might exhibit predatory behaviour towards her just like some guys might?

Floralnomad Wed 17-Apr-13 19:23:41

I'm not saying they are I'm saying that's the concern ,and as the very happy mother of a gay man I'm definitely not homophobic ,infact I was extolling the virtues of having a gay son to a friend this afternoon! However had my son at 16 been meeting what is in effect men that he knew nothing about apart from chatting on the Internet I would reserve the right to be concerned . As I would if it was my 16 yr old daughter meeting up with 19/20 yr old men that she only knew from Internet chats . I think any parent of a 16 yr old would find that a normal concern . Indeed if someone posted on here that their 16 yr old daughter was going to a festival and meeting up with 19/20 yr old men that she had met on the Internet I don't think many people would be saying what are you worried about . However everyone to their own and we all bring our children up differently .

WishIdbeenatigermum Wed 17-Apr-13 18:41:05

Cazlit, 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.
I have dds the same age and I wouldn't let them meet up far from home at a concert with anyone they'd not met IRL...
I know the concert you're talking about and it sounds awesome- I'm trying to get the funding together to take a group (I work with disadvantaged young women) Could you go with her- do you have other dds, nieces friend's dds who would go?

BIWI Wed 17-Apr-13 18:28:40

But if that's the case, Floralnomad, that's hugely assumptive, and actually not far off being homophobic. Why, just because someone is a) older and b) lesbian or gay would they be predatory?

Messandmayhem Wed 17-Apr-13 18:10:31

There are loads of potential situations though. If she were straight, and she were meeting up with women, those women could still be lesbians. They could still be predatory. If she were meeting guys, they could be gay, the could be in relationships, they could be straight, single and perfect gentlemen.

The likelihood of anything untoward happening is small, in my opinion, even in a heterosexual scenario.

I'm actually a bit confused as to why you would prevent a 16 year old from meeting up with boys. Surely that's how dating works? At 16 I would have DREAMT of dating any of the idiots from school.

Floralnomad Wed 17-Apr-13 17:47:41

The OP is concerned about whether these older women may be predatory lesbians ( if I've understood correctly) and that to me seems a normal concern . When my son was 16 I would have been concerned about him going to a festival and meeting up with older gay men that he'd met on the Internet .

BIWI Wed 17-Apr-13 17:16:51

So you're basically saying that because she is gay you are worried about the situation.

Why do you have an issue with it?

If I have misunderstood, apologies, but I really am having trouble understanding what your problem is here!

Cazlit Wed 17-Apr-13 16:27:34

Shes already met up with people shes met on the internet, people do it every day, it's perfectly safe if done sensibly. And there isn't a problem with her starting a relationship with another person, she is in a relationship at the moment. What I am trying to do is explore how my judgement is altered by her situation. i am finding it hard to know what the answer should be to the third scenario when I find it a clearer call with the first two scenarios. I don't find that an odd premise, it's the situation I find us in.

BIWI Wed 17-Apr-13 16:11:36

I think it's an odd premise.

She is at risk meeting anyone from the internet - male or female.

She may end up romantically/sexually involved with someone else. But why shouldn't she? She is over 16. This is the bit I don't get. Why is there a problem with her starting a relationship with another person?

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