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Help with coming out/other gay parents on MN

(48 Posts)
PinotGirl Tue 05-Jul-05 20:06:22

Ok, has taken a glass of wine and a name change to post this so here goes. I'm recently out of a relationship with a man and believe I'm gay. Have had encounters with women when I was younger, but nothing in last 8 years. Physically, I'm attracted to women, not men. The problem is that I have a young daughter and I'm worried about how my coming out will effect her.

I've met this woman, she's great, also gay and though things haven't progressed we're having a night out this weekend and she's staying over so I'm thinking things could progress. DD is at her dad's.

Are there any other gay mums out here in the land of MN? I don't want to get into a debate about being gay etc, it's who I am and I think I'm about ready to accept it. But how do I tell my friends?? How out do I have to be? What about dd??

lucy5 Tue 05-Jul-05 20:11:43

I'm not gay but i would think it's whatever you feel comfortable with. My friend is gay and has lived with her partner for 10 years and has only just come out to her family, duh they already knew. Her partner has a 21 year old son and has never known any different. Do what you feel comfortable with and tell who you feel comfortable telling. As for dd I wouldnt do anything just yet, when you feel confident you will do a much better job of telling her.

beansontoast Tue 05-Jul-05 20:16:44

no debate or challenges from me.bravo

i suppose if you take everything really slowly then youll be in a position to keep assessing the situation...and then take it from there iykwim
be sure to do things how you want to do them and not in a giddy 'new love' will conquer all way.hope that is not patronising.feels like it might be especially as i have no experience in ever doing the right thing myself

Fran1 Tue 05-Jul-05 20:17:15

Well done you! I hope you feel some relief after all those years!

I am not Gay, so cannot advise from personal experience, but i my work involves supporting Gay men and lesbian women.

In answer to your question how out do i have to be. As much as you want to be! take it at your own pace and tell those who you feel comfortable with. Some people live their lives with only a few people knowing, for others they 'need' everyone to know otherwise they feel as though they are leading a double life. I think the latter is probably the healthiest option, but this can be done gradually to make things easier for you.

How old is your dd? You say shes young, it will probably be the case that you won't have to 'come out' to her. If you build a relationship with this woman then it will become natural for your dd and you will only have to answer some questions when she realises that her family is different from many of her friends.
This doesn't have to have a negative effect on your dd. Honesty and trust is important, if she feels she can ask you anything she will feel confident in what is happening and your support will empower her to deal with reaction from peers etc when the time comes.
Get yourself a network of support, your local health service maybe have support workers specifically to support your situation, you'll find lots of places offering support on the net and there are local Gay papers etc
If the woman you have met has already come out to her friends and family she'll be a great source of support for you also.

I wish you well xx

weesaidie Tue 05-Jul-05 20:18:20

Just got to be honest I think!

My mums friend got divorced (2 dds about 10/12 at the time) and didn't tell them for a while. In fact her new partner lived with them as 'a friend' for a while before they knew!!

They are fine and both have a great relationship with their mum (12 years on) but probably not a great way to go about it!

Are you worried about the reaction of friends and family?

weesaidie Tue 05-Jul-05 20:19:15

Good post from Fran1!

PinotGirl Tue 05-Jul-05 20:23:24

Wow ... you've all been so great. Thank you. I suppose doing in steps is the most sensible option. I worry about dd's dad and how he'll take the news - a big worry. Plus I work in a very traditional environment and not sure I could come out at work without suffering career wise.

Fran1, I agree, I would rather be totally out as it is healthier but not sure I can do that just yet.

My dd is nearly 6 and I want to make sure she doesn't suffer because of this. I don't see it as a choice I'm making to be gay, I think it's who I've always been but have been too afraid to accept it.

I don't think any of my friends will judge me though they may initially be shocked. But I suppose you don't know until you out yourself. Sigh. I just know I need to do this now whether my relationship with this woman progresses or not - I need to acknowledge who I am so hopefully I can stop being so hard on myself.

weesaidie Tue 05-Jul-05 20:27:08

My mums friend is very happy now and so are her daughters. It was the best thing for her when she came out.

I think her friends were surprised but as far as I know very supportive.

She and her Ex don't have the best relationship but get along ok, plus he is an a$$ehole IMHO so I don't think it even has anything to do with her being gay! For example, he asked her for help planning his wedding but wasn't going to invite her!!

This must be very hard for you but I am sure with help and support it will all work out fine...

Tortington Tue 05-Jul-05 20:47:00

its not like your going to announce it to the world - at work its no ones business.
if you have a relationship you will obviously mention this to your family and friends like you would any other relationship.

however like any other relationship you will wait until your sure about a relationship before introducing that relationship to the child < i presume!> and until the time where this relationship is going to impact on your kid its none of your ex partners business.

PinotGirl Tue 05-Jul-05 22:06:44

I keep anyone away from my dd for a long time to start with. That's just being sensible. However, I wonder how she'll be when she realises I'm with a woman like I was with my ex. I just don't want to hurt her at all.

She's my biggest concern in all of this. Maybe I would be better off forgetting it for now until she's older. I can do single - have done it before.

QueenEagle Tue 05-Jul-05 22:16:53

My dd has a friend who's mum lives with her girlfriend. Not sure how long they've been together but her dd is 13 and seems perfectly happy about it.

With anyone new it's best to take time whether they be male or female - but you know that already.

With your dd being so young it's probably to your advantage as she will grow up with the idea of mummy being with another woman as normal.

dot1 Tue 05-Jul-05 22:26:51

Hi! there are a couple of us resident gay mums on Mumsnet - who have had children in a gay relationship, so I thought I'd just say hello!! Me and dp have 2 ds's (we've each had one, if you see what I mean) and they're 3 + 1. We're being open with them from the start - we tell them the story of how dp and I met, fell in love and wanted to have babies, so asked our friend (their Daddy) if he'd help etc.etc... They're growing up knowing they've got 2 Mummies and 1 Daddy and so far so good.

Ds1 is obviously becoming aware that most of his friends have a Mummy and a Daddy, and it's really interesting that in his stories that he makes up, there's always a mummy and a daddy - never 2 Mummies!! I think this is a good sign - that he's able to adapt to the 'norm' whilst being happy in his own home environment. We're hopefully teaching them both to be proud of who they are and their families - but watch this space in terms of how things go for them when they're growing up...

All in all I'm glad we're so open - everyone in our world - friends, family, work colleagues, neighbours etc. knows we're a couple with children and I'd say that the best approach in terms of your DD feeling confident about herself and her family make up would be to try to be as open and 'out' as you possibly can be - maybe start with a few good friends and progress from there!

We've started looking at primary schools for ds1 and we've asked the headteachers at schools we've been to what their approach/policy would be towards teaching about different kinds of families etc. We'd want to make sure ds's felt included and their families just as valued. We'd never want our family make up to be hidden away and not discussed. Their nursery knows and they're lovely - we get a Mothers Day card to "my mummies" for example!

Phew! Good luck and if you ever want to chat I'm usually around!

edam Tue 05-Jul-05 22:27:29

Pinotgirl, I'm not gay either but, it it's at all helpful, as a child I eventually realised that two of my mother's best friends were a lesbian couple and it didn't trouble me at all. They were just Ruth and Fiona and while it was a surprise suddenly 'discovering' they were more than just best friends to each other, they were still the same people IYKWIM. Not that relevant to you as you are talking about your own dd, but maybe a tiny bit reassuring that kids don't necessarily see these things quite as dramatically as you might expect?

Fran1 Tue 05-Jul-05 23:26:58

I agree with Queeneagle, at such a young age your dd will take it all in her stride. Try and tell a teenager that mummy now has a girlfriend would be quite a different situation!

I think you should treat this as any other relationship you may have had in the past with men. Introduce your dp to dd when you feel the relationship is stable.
Definitely don't decide to put your life on hold to spare your feelings.

I used to work with a girl who had two mums, she never spoke of any traumatic childhood iykwim. Just seemed like anyother happy wellbalanced family upbringing.

hester Tue 05-Jul-05 23:42:02

Hi PinotGirl, I'm also gay. Some good advice on this thread, and I think people are right to caution taking any relationship slowly, and asking about the age of your dd. Above all, remember that you don't 'come out' once - it's a lifelong process of managing the level of disclosure you feel comfortable with and other people's reactions to it. This applies most of all to your dd - how you tell her will depend on what is appropriate at her age, but this is something you will be helping her to manage in her dealings with the world over many years. There is an organisation for gay parents in Manchester called the D'Arcy Lainey Foundation (think I've got the spelling right) that may give you useful advice; they have a website. Also, the national organisation PinkParents has recently folded but I believe its website is still up and carries some useful information. There are lesbian parents groups in many parts of the country and there is also a lesbian parents chat forum on Yahoo.

I'm happy to help you source any of these - and any books etc if that would be helpful. Just ask!

Oh, and very best of luck

PinotGirl Wed 06-Jul-05 21:14:46

Thanks to everyone for the great advice. I suppose I hadn't seen coming out as a lifelong process but I suppose it will be. I will admit to being really worried about telling dd's dad. Just tonight I suggested that dd's surname be changed from just his to a joint one with his and mine. He flew off the handle and said to get rid of his and she could just have mine blah blah. Can't see him dealing with the news of me being gay very well at all. If I'm perfectly honest, I do wonder if he'll make threats to take her away etc.

I think I'll see how my relationship with my friend develops and what comes of that then decide to tell my best friend. I think she'll be shocked but I think she'll still be accepting of me.

Hester and Dot1, thanks for your encouragement. I'll be looking into the organisations you suggested for some guidance. This isn't going to be easy.

hester Wed 06-Jul-05 21:32:32

PinotGirl, be reassured that the days of mothers losing custody of their children just because of their sexuality are long gone. He cannot take your daughter away from you.

Don't feel overwhelmed - take it one step at a time and look after yourself.

PinotGirl Wed 06-Jul-05 21:35:51

I know you're right but it doesn't mean he won't make life hell for me because of this. I wouldn't mind but before we met his lodger was a lesbian and they got on really well. But I just know me being a lesbian won't be taken lightly.

I feel like this is something I need to do so I can stop worrying about iyswim!

hester Wed 06-Jul-05 21:57:07

Poor you, this must be really stressful. If you want to CAT me please do so. Hugs to you.

dot1 Wed 06-Jul-05 22:13:54

Thinking of you, Pinotgirl. Good idea to tell your best friend - it feels so much better when a few people know and you know they're on your side and being supportive! Just take it slowly and please don't worry your dd would be taken away from you - you're her Mum and it just wouldn't happen. If dp and I and other same sex couples can be taken on as approved foster carers/adopters, there's no way as a loving Mum you'd get your child taken off you.

And good luck with the start of your possible new relationship!

hester Wed 06-Jul-05 22:16:57

Yes, let us know how it goes this weekend!

anteater Wed 06-Jul-05 23:20:38

Hi Pinotgirl,
just to say that I have a gay mum who works for me whos one of the best mums ive ever met! Hope all goes well for you!
Hi Hester, hope your well too!

hester Fri 08-Jul-05 14:33:22

Hi anteater

PinotGirl Fri 08-Jul-05 14:54:31

I've just taken DD to her dad's for the weekend. Am planning on calling my best friend tonight and tell her the news.

In the meantime, I've got my date tomorrow night with my friend ... so it's time to shave my legs and see what fits!

tamum Fri 08-Jul-05 15:00:52

FWIW, one of dd's best friends has mothers who are gay, and not only does no-one bat an eyelid, the girl herself is completely comfortable about it. I actually hadn't realised, and was looking for her mother to speak to but couldn't find her, so dd's friend pointed her out. I said "I thought your mum had blonde hair?" and dd's friend just looked at me pityingly and said witheringly "I've got two mums". You could almost hear the "dur, stoopid" that was in her thoughts....

Good luck tonight

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