AIBU or is my son too young to come out as gay?(128 Posts)
Okay, so, my son is 11 (in Yr 7) and I have no issue with him being gay, none what so ever and it's the same with DH.
I also don't have a problem with him telling family (despite, my mother and sister will not be happy, but fuck what they think) they will have no choice but to support him.
However, is he too young to label himself as gay at school? I wouldn't be happy with my 11 year old son having a girlfriend, so it isn't that I'm not happy with him liking boys.
I'm just not sure how well he will survive in Secondary School, if he comes out as gay in Yr 7, IYSWIM?
What does DS say about it? Does he want to tell his friends? If he's confident enough to declare himself, then perhaps he's confident enough to deal with the reactions. I'd talk it through with him and make sure he knows what could happen, but ultimately it is his choice to tell or not tell. I'd like to think that a lot of kids would just shrug and accept it, and move on without making a big deal of it, but there would doubtless be a few who would try to make his life difficult. As a parent, I think I'd try to support my child in his choices and encourage him to stick up for himself and celebrate his 'difference', not hide a central part of his identity.
there was a boy who the whole school suspected was gay and he was given hell for it by the boys in the entire year and some older / younger ones.
he ended up moving schools in the middle of the year but it definatley put him in the spot light and we knew off him even though he was the year above.
sorry for not giving a positive image but this happened at least 12 years ago and am hoping alot has changed
If he announced he has a girlfriend, would you be concerned be was being rash in identifying as straight?
The thing is, boys of that age think you're 'cool' to have a girlfriend. I just worry that he doesn't understand how people can be and that it'll make his school life hell.
My gut is its too young to make as a statement of fact.
Its not too young to express an interest in experimentation which is a natural part of development and finding out who we are.
I think I'd be tempted to go down the line its not wrong to preffer boys or girls and you may well continue to hold the same views as you mature but why the need to state?
I wouldn't want to encourage too much sexual exploration at 11 either.
We have a lot of openly gay students at our school, but from year 10. I can think of one boy who told people in year 9, he had moved from another school where he had been bullied. The students at our school are pretty relaxed about it, however the girls who are openly gay have it easier I think.
This may sound terrible but with some students you can tell in yr 7, it is no surprise when they come out in year 10/11 and no one is shocked.
No, he is not too young.
The way you deal with this could affect the rest of his life, so tread very carefully.
You are looking at this in a prejudiced way. If he declared he was straight you wouldn't say he was too young to be certain or to commit to that statement.
There may be consequences at school but trust me, the consequences of your effectively telling him he has to hide and be ashamed of who he is will be worse. You can help him deal with bullying and discrimination. What he needs to know is that he has your support and that it doesn't matter a jot to you.
This isn't gender reassignment surgery, it isn't irreversible. If his feelings about his sexuality did change over time he is free to change his mind. But for heaven's sake don't tell him he can't tell anyone!
There will always be something a child can be bullied for. What we can do as parents is acceot them unconditionally and work on building their resilience. A major part of that is accepting them unconditionally. He has to be able to rely on his family even when he can't rely on his peers.
A lot has changed in the last 12 years: kids are generally pretty cool about the whole sexuality thing now....but not in year 7 when they aren't mature enough to see the whole picture. If he was mine I would not want it to be made into a big thing so early. 11 year olds still see 'gay' as a bad thing...by 13, 14, 15 most of them don't see any problem at all.
I teach a boy who came out in year 8 and two who came out in year 9.
The other pupils generally don't have an issue with it. They aren't even bothered by gay teachers whereas ten years ago they would have been. Pupil's views have changed.
It may well work in his favour if he comes out sooner, rather than later.
Younger children are not naturally prejudiced (IMO) and if they know now before homophobic bullying becomes a "thing" in secondary school then there's a chance they might just accept it at face value without any nonsense.
Just tread lightly about the subject, take it as no big deal and that he can talk to you about anything he needs to.
My daughter came out at 16 but we'd really known for years. Kids these days are much more relaxed thas in "our day."
mrtwits is spot on. Tread carefully here because this could have a huge impact on your future relationship with him. I'd really follow his lead on this. If you give him any inkling that you're ashamed of who he is or want him to hide it he may never really forgive you.
If he changes his mind about His sexuality later I can't see what it would matter.
"Am I being unreasonable to think my son is too young to identity as straight?" - now if that would seem like a bizarre thread title, but this doesn't, you need to address homophonic tendencies, even if you don't think you do.
She already said she would feel unhappy with him having a gf...
I think you're being a bit picky there, the OP is obviously very supportive of her son.
It's up to him, not you, as to when he makes his sexuality public knowledge. Dds y7 too, and amongst her friends (m & f) there seems to be an immature age related version of flirting going on. So certainly heterosexual kids are expressing an interest in the opposite gender at that age, no reason a homosexual kid can't be interested at that age either.
Does he need to tell people? If this is really meaningful to him to identify publicly, then don't stand in his way. But make sure he doesn't feel he ought to tell people. It is really no one else's business in my opinion. But it seems young people have a strong need to identify one way or another, and if that is the case with your DS, then I guess you just have to go with the flow.
I was in your position a few years ago. I advised my DS to leave it a couple of years before the big reveal (while making it absolutely clear that I had no problem whatsoever). I think DakotaFanny is spot on - at 11, it's still a term of abuse and a big deal. At 13/14, they don't bat an eyelid. When my DS did do the big reveal, it wasn't an issue with any of his friends - they had the maturity to just accept it/him in a way I just don't think most 11 year olds would.
But if you do as I did, you have to make it clear that this isn't about hiding who he is or being ashamed - this is about other people not being mature enough yet. I spun it very much in a "it's not you, it's them" sort of way.
YABU. Plenty of people know what sexuality they are at that age.
DS was 11 when he came out to us. We discussed what he felt and he didn't think it was anyone else's business. He told DD (younger) about a year later and has slowly talked to friends.
We were concerned about school but it has caused not even the slightest ripple. My cousin spoke to him (cousin is gay) and as assured he WAS ready, and knew. I didn't ask how but assume the beginning of puberty is when sexual feelings become common. DS would not want to chat to me about who he fancies but my cousin was great for him to chat to.
i'm always of the mind that you avoid being bullied for something about you by not trying to hide it in any way. Any hint of him trying to hide something about himself, and the vultures will descend. So it really depends what he thinks will change or how he wants his life to be different by announcing it
The gay/bi people I know, including my own child have known before secondary that either they weren't attracted to the opposite sex/attracted to both genders.
It's how he identifies himself. Why should he be ashamed of who is in and pretend to be something he isn't?
Regardless of his choices, there will always be someone that has an issue with him - the colour of his hair, his sense of style, the trainers, eye colour, looks etc. It's one of your jobs as a parent to help him realise that this is their problem and give him the tools to deal with whatever life throws at him.
He could be straight, doesn't mean that he would never get bullied. He should never be ashamed of who he is.
I really don't know. I have friends who when they finally came out, my only reaction was to smile and tell them I had known all along, but I hAve also met people who experimented with the same sex when they were teenagers but who define themselves as heterosexuals and live happily in the same way. So it may be that his real orientation is not totally fixed as yet, so it may make sense to wait a bit.
Three of my friends came out when I was at uni, they were very ecstatic about being able to release themselves from keeping their orientation secret, so they told a lot of people, but two of them told me, some time later that they regretted being so open and tell so many people about it as it everyone was as open as they thought they would be. So I would say that he may like to come out first to the people who care about him, but there is no need to come out to the world and his dog, simply put, it is none of their business.
What does he want to do?
I can understand you are concerned about bullying. It's the desire of a parent to protect their child from everything. I would focus on how you can support him in his choice.
My concern would be that if you express doubt about him telling schoolmates then he could infer you feel his sexuality is a kind of shameful secret (which obviously it isn't and you clearly don't feel that way.)
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