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When to tell younger sibling his brother is gay?

(21 Posts)
fish54 Mon 02-Sep-13 07:06:30

I am hoping that someone can advise me/share their experience of this. My DSS came out in April after a broken relationship he is 17 now and says he knew from Year 8 that he was gay. He is in a new relationship and has told my son that he doesn't want to bring his boyfriend round to the house, we would be happy for him to bring him round, but we haven't yet told his 10 year old brother that he is gay.

Background is that both my DSS's have been raised as Catholics and the younger one attends a Catholic school where normal sexuality hasn't even been dealt with yet, younger brother is about to go into Year 6 and they don't teach about homosexuality at all.

Should we tell him? It might make it easier for his brother to feel he can bring his friend to meet us, but it might also make him think less of him given the teaching at his school and also what has no doubt been said in the playground sad

Any thoughts welcome

SoupDragon Mon 02-Sep-13 07:11:27

I have no experience but could you start laying the foundations by talking about how there are all sorts of relationships? If your DS2 has no knowledge at all, you can't (IMO) just tell him without doing some preparation.

tribpot Mon 02-Sep-13 07:26:41

Hopefully over time phrases like 'normal sexuality' will move out of your vocabulary - I know you didn't mean to describe homosexuality as abnormal, but both of your sons need to hear you reinforce the message that being gay is perfectly normal.

Even without any formal teaching, your younger ds will be aware of heterosexuality and it's never too early to introduce the idea that some girls like girls and some boys like boys.

Is the older boy your step-son? (DSS)? If he is, presumably he's also had to learn that divorce is bad even though his parents are divorced. The parallel might help.

I think it's likely your younger boy will initially find it weird but the sooner he knows the sooner he will come to accept it. You will have to find some words to reconcile the church's teachings on homosexuality with the reality of your life but lots of Catholic parents will have been through the same.

Optimist1 Mon 02-Sep-13 07:39:25

YY - he has a life outside of his Catholic bubble, and will undoubtedly be aware of same-sex relationships. Like tribpot I think that no "announcement" will need to be made, he'll put 2 and 2 together (if he hasn't already done so). Your acceptance of the situation as entirely normal will guide him.

FourGates Mon 02-Sep-13 08:07:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dackyduddles Mon 02-Sep-13 08:47:57

You really aren't alone in this. Many people are catholic and gay. I know several. There's likely support groups if you look.

I would recommend normalising everything sooner than later so be truthful now and let ds know. I doubt he will be much interested. Either way he's still his brother. Nothing really changes.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Mon 02-Sep-13 09:35:39

He will be aware that people are gay. It's practically all that has been talked about at church for a couple of years. There are plenty of LGBT Catholics around and we have been forced to become increasingly vocal over the last few years with all the upheaval that there has been.

What do you think has been said in the playground? If he is in a school full of bullying homophobes then that needs to be dealt with regardless. The Catholic laity are no more likely to be homophobic than the rest of the population in the younger (under 60) age group and it is not acceptable to use faith/religion as an excuse for homophobia. Even the new pope says that, even if the old one did protest to much. What is the 'teaching' of the school? If they are teaching homophobia then why aren't you challenging this?

You need to drop language such as 'normal sexuality' and calling dss's boyfriend his 'friend'. It's not helpful. You also need to drop the idea that Catholics are intrinsically bigoted. The catechism states that no man can be compelled to believe something which he does not hold to be true. You can't just be homophobic and blame your faith without bothering to put some thought into it. You need to hold homophobia to be true, you yourself, not your priest or your bishop or the Pope. They are not a shield for you to hide your prejudice behind. If you are not homophobic then say so, loudly and often. Call it when you see it, don't stand there saying your child is being taught homophobia at school but that's OK because it's a Catholic tradition. It's not OK and teaching heterosexual children to rejoice in their heterosexual privilege is hardly in line with Catholic values. Even ++Benedict XVI said that "Over the pope as expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there stands one's own conscience which must be obeyed before all else, even if necessary against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority. This emphasis on the individual, whose conscience confronts him with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which in the last resort is beyond the claim of external social groups, even the official church, also establishes a principle in opposition to increasing totalitarianism"

If you want to read around the issues faced by LGBTQ Catholics then these are some groups/organisations/blogs

Queering the church
New Ways Ministry
Leadership conference of women religious LCWR
Sister Simone Campbell (nuns on a bus)
Free to Be
Good Catholic Dykes
Believe out loud
Inside out faith

And tell him. Hiding it will make him think that there is something to hide. If you think it's wrong then make sure you have a damn good explanation as to why because 'I'm Catholic' just doesn't cut it anymore and you owe him more than soundbites.

OctopusPete8 Mon 02-Sep-13 09:39:02

I wouldn't tell him , if he was straight I very much doubt you would 'sit down and have a talk' about it, I think personally doing it now because he's gay makes it 'a thing' something you have to sit down and talk about.

I think if he starts asking questions then by all means address them but until then I would carry on as normal.

JohnnyUtah Mon 02-Sep-13 09:39:03

Immediately, just use age appropriate language. Don't do a sit them down and announce type scenario, just work it into a conversation (if necessary one you start!) ASAP

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Mon 02-Sep-13 09:53:36

It already is a 'thing' and until we live in a society that isn't heteronormative then it will continue to be a 'thing'.

Not talking about it is the equivalent of not talking about race except for to say 'we're all the same, everybody is equal' with a staggeringly crass disregard for the experiences of ethnic minority groups in a white dominated society.

If it wasn't a 'thing' then the older boy would have brought his 'friend' over the way he would have been allowed to do if his 'friend' was a girl.

Floralnomad Mon 02-Sep-13 09:59:14

Even going to a catholic school your 10 yr old surely knows there are gay people in the world . I have the same age gap and my son also came out officially at 17 and we just said to his sister that he was bringing his boyfriend round and that was that . I'm pretty sure she knew already that he was gay ,like we did .

NulliusInBlurba Mon 02-Sep-13 10:08:11

"Hopefully over time phrases like 'normal sexuality' will move out of your vocabulary - I know you didn't mean to describe homosexuality as abnormal, but both of your sons need to hear you reinforce the message that being gay is perfectly normal." yup, this is immensely important.

DD1 (now 15) came out to us last year, but is not out generally at school yet - her decision. When I asked her what she'd like us to do with DD2 (10 at the time) she looked at me in surprise and said 'oh, I've told her already'. DD2 is totally cool with it all, of course.

fish54 Mon 02-Sep-13 19:34:17

DP and I are not Catholics, and I certainly hope I haven't offended anyone. I do know the church they attend has taken a strong line on same sex marriage and that has caused my elder stepson to stop going to church. His younger brother (also my stepson) doesn't know why he doesn't go anymore so maybe that might be an opening for a conversation.

My father is gay and I certainly didn't mean to give offence by the term "normal" (in my head it was definitely in inverted commas!), I was just trying to convey the school's attitude. I have 3 children of my own but this is all a bit new to me as you can imagine, my father came out when I was in my 20's and it was very traumatic and I am just a bit worried how to handle it with DSS2 Thanks for all the replies.

Dackyduddles Mon 02-Sep-13 21:07:12

Fish it's fine. It's hard phrasing an op. especially one that is sensitive, bad enough general ones for rules on here. Wishing you all well

MrsMongoose Sat 14-Sep-13 01:29:05

I wouldn't even tell him. Just bring the lad round, and introduce the same way you would a girlfriend.

It's a classic case of the Streisand Effect. By drawing attention to something you make the negative reactions worse.

Ignoring the ' issue' in this case just presents homosexuality as normal. Brother's boyfriend, no big deal. Never known it any other way.

mummy1973 Sat 28-Dec-13 20:53:05

Just bring the friend over. If the 10 yr old has no idea about sex then there is no need for any sort of explanation. As and when you have a conversation about sex you can explain all views and just answer any questions as they arise. My 2 children 6 and 9 have always known about women loving women and men loving has never come into it.

rainbowmum101 Sat 05-Apr-14 18:22:28

If I were you, I would simply tell the other children soon, with the start message of "its okay to be gay". You need to do this before they learn other messages from other people, because you do not want them to object to it

Charlotteamanda1 Mon 23-Jun-14 06:39:39

Just tell him. He won't think twice about it. Kids are brilliant they just accept stuff. Don't leave relationship education to a school. You need to do it to give him a clear understanding of different relationships. He will already have an insight as he's part of a step family. I started talking to my kids from the word go and their questions and the info given developed as they did.

AuntieStella Mon 23-Jun-14 06:49:02

It's 9 months since fish54 asked this question.

It's likely that, whatever she chose to do, she's done it by now.

If she's still here, updates with outcomes are always interesting, but completly up to her oorovide o not.

BellaVita Mon 23-Jun-14 06:59:46

I really don't think it should be "announced".

Nothing need be said.

Let him have his friend round and if questions are asked then answer them truthfully.

BellaVita Mon 23-Jun-14 07:00:32

Oh blimey I didn't realise it was a zombie thread.

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