To be a bit fearful and sad for my son?(20 Posts)
My DS, aged 12, has recently told me he's pretty sure he's gay. This isn't something I have a problem with, and he knows this, which is why he told me and we talked about it at length. But, there are a number of family members (grandparents) who definitely will have a problem with it and he's worried about this and what they will think of him. I have said that at this stage, he's still young enough that he doesn't need to tell anyone unless he really wants to and that at the end of the day, it's no one's business but his and any partner he might eventually have. He's said he feels really glad and lucky that the most important members of his family will support him no matter what - I told him that all we want for him is to find someone who'll love him for the person he is and be happy.
I can't help but feel a bit guilty though, as we've recently moved halfway round the world and he'd be an outsider anyway even if he was straight. I worry that it's going to be more difficult for him to settle in and make friends - he hasn't started school yet but will in a few weeks. AIBU to be afraid that we've potentially made life more challenging for him, or am I just being ridiculous and in all likelihood everything will be fine? Any constructive advice would be really welcomed.
No advice but the fact he has your love and support will makes things a lot easier for him. Is there a pastoral service or something at his school? Might be worth getting in touch with them.
He won't be the only one and I would be hopeful that kids these days are much more well informed and respectful of any differences.
If I were you I would continue to do what you are doing.
Ensure he knows he is loved and supported and that he is a wonderful young man who need not feel worried about anyone else's misguided or ill informed opinions.
You're doing everything right and have saved your ds a world of pain by addressing it at such a young age. I had the same conversation with my ds when he was 12 and he's 15 now. I still don't know if he's gay and I don't care, he's got a lovely supportive friendship group of mixed gender and sexuality. Young people seem to be a lot more fluid and tolerant about stuff like this. I'm in no doubt he'll find his way
I don't know about constructive advice, but I can perhaps give you some reassurance.
In my experience as a teacher, the majority of teenagers nowadays just don't care about a person's sexuality. In fact, several pupils I know have been openly gay in school before they would dare tell their parents. Like Magzmarsh has said, nowadays labels aren't set in stone. Everything is definitely more fluid, sexuality included.
I know of 3 gay men whose families were utterly horrified when they came out. They were ashamed and couldn't accept that their son/grandson was gay. Fast forward several years and they have not only accepted that they have a gay grandson, but have also accepted their partners as members of the family too.
It really depends where half-way round the world you've moved to. I think it's less of a big deal in Western Europe and South America, but the US can be phenomenally homophobic in certain regions. Thailand is great, but cross the border into Malaysia and you're looking at widespread persecution.
Dealing with families: it's unfortunate that some of his relatives may not be so welcoming. He can stay in the closet, come out and risk family harmony, or just not say anything and employ little white lies where necessary - just refer to 'his friend' or 'housemate' when older. You're right that it's his decision though.
He'll be fine because he's got an understanding Mum. He really will OP. I've worked a lot within youth services and the amount of support and love withing the LGBT community and without is huge these days.
Dd told me the other day she has two gay friends at school, one a boy and one a girl but neiher of them have told their parents, it's really sad because they are living their preferred life quite happily and openly amongst their friends but having to hide it away when they get home. Glad he has a lovely mum like you.
And YY to ^ hoping you don't live somewhere that may be intolerant to the point of abusive, hopefully you are in Australia or somewhere more tolerant.
You say you've only recently moved? Then I suspect what will happen is that your son will make friends and only after that will he decide, once his friendship group is established and solid, if he wants to tell them he's gay or not.
By that time, he won't be 'an outsider' any more as he'll no longer be the new kid from another country but just another one of their friends. I don't think that will add to any difficulty he faces with his friends if and when he decides to come out - unless of course you've moved to somewhere much less accepting of homosexuality.
Regarding his grandparents, again, he can come out to them when he feels he's ready, and frankly if they don't accept him that should be their problem, not his or yours. They, not he, would be the ones losing out.
If they love him, they will put aside their prejudices and continue to treat him just as they did before, regardless of their personal views on homosexuality. If they really can't love him because he's gay, he's better off without them.
You sound like a wonderful supportive parent. I think the most important thing whether gay or straight is whether he feels valued and supported by those close to him and accepts himself as a person. With this in place he will have the resilience to handle people in his wider circle who might not readily accept this aspect of his personality.
*sorry I realise being gay isn't his personality I meant this aspect of him in general
I agree as a teacher that sexuality is a surprisingly small deal to a lot of young people. For many it's not what defines them and they aren't that fussed about other people's preferences.
With your love and support, he'll be fine.
Again, no practical support but I can confirm that the vast majority of teenagers I know (as well as most adults) couldn't care less about sexuality. I think we are reaching a real tipping point in society where not being prejudiced about such matters is the norm rather than the exception. I think even the older generation are starting to get it (those who didn't before, not tarring everyone with the same brush). I hope all goes well with the new school etc.
Honestly i'd let this sit for a couple of years, try to get under why he feels this way. He's only 12, only discovering sexuality, and the opposite sex can feel very awkward. Plus there appears to be certain glamour in the popular LGBT culture.
Echoing the view that teenagers are generally very open minded about sexuality. Plus he has your support and love, which will count for tons more than his grandparents. You can deal with them when necessary.
I'd also echo what others are saying. I volunteered in a large, very rough comprehensive school and there was a girl in my class who openly identified as gay and no one cared in the slightest.
I think he'll be fine. My DS came out to his friends before us (everyone was absolutely fine about it BTW) and without exception nobody gave a hoot. He'd suspected he was gay for years. I think these days (depending where you've moved to of course) children/young people are really accepting of other people's sexuality. If the older generation have a problem - just remember it's their problem.
What matters is that his immediate family is tremendously supportive, and I think you'll find that he was naturally gravitate towards friends who share his values and will naturally be supportive and understanding.
I would also be inclined to let it sit for a couple of years. Give him time to find his feet in a new environment and settle in with a group of new friends.
My DS told me he was gay when he was about 14. He'd always been very camp and used to love dancing away to Grease etc, used to 'joke' about his sexy Travolta was etc so it was hardly a surprise. It was also very trendy to be gay at the time so I remained open minded about whether it was just a phase or not.
Now, at 18 he has a steady girlfriend and no longer identifies as being gay (although he could be bi, like 90% of his friends seem to be).
Honestly, in DS's social circle you stand out if you're straight. I really wouldn't worry.
Thanks for your kind comments and support everyone. I do feel reassured now that everything will be all right. Peach, I will see what's on offer in terms of a pastoral service (although not sure how likely it will be that they have experience of this at an intermediate school level!)
Dolly, your comments really struck a chord, so sensible and yes of course, if they can't accept him for what he is they can get lost!
Magz - thanks for the
We have moved to NZ by the way, so it's pretty tolerant, thank goodness. Only been here 2 months so still finding our feet.
Thanks again to all, I really appreciate your time and the nice things you've said.
He'all be fine. You obviously want him to be happy and so are supportive of him. That counts for so much.
To echo the posts up thread, as a secondary school teacher being gay is now very normal - and this is echoed by the fact that several teachers as well as many students are openly gay.
Best wishes and it's great that you and he are communicating openly and honestly. I never really felt I could talk with my parents and never had 'that' conversation with my dad.
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