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16yr old daughter possibly gay, but so unhappy

(9 Posts)
Liz1968 Tue 28-Jan-14 10:21:38

Our 16yr old daughter has been more and more withdrawn over the last few months. The bubbly, chatty, happy girl we knew and loved has gone. She shuts herself in her room and is constantly on her laptop. When she does appear she is moody, snappy and grumpy.
I wanted to know what she was looking at and looked in a notebook thinking I'd find a password for her laptop......I was shocked to find a few scribbled pages where she talked about how she thinks she may be gay, about girls she fancies, and some websites she has been on. I googled the sites and again was shocked at what I saw. Basically it is an american blogger who writes graphically about lesbian sex. I think my daughter has become a bit obsessed with this woman.
I sat with her and said I was worried as she didn't seem happy, and that whatever she was going through/thinking she could tell me. That I wouldn't judge or react, that I love her whatever she is going through. I didn't say I had read her notes. She said everything was okay, just she was bored with college. She smiled and told me to stop worrying!
We have managed to block the sites via our main pc, telling her we have updated all the parental safety etc on all of our pcs. She has been in a foul mood since as she obviously cannot access the sites she was looking at.

Do I tell her I know? Do I let her work it out for herself? If she is gay I can handle that, as long as she is happy that's all that matters. Is it normal for teenage girls to question their sexuality? I certainly never did! She has always been a bit of a tomboy, but I never thought she may be gay.

I am so worried that she will spiral into a depression (it runs in the family) and that she will do something silly. My hubby says let it pass, that she will be okay. But I cannot help but worry about her so much. I cannot talk to family or friends as hubby wants it to stay private.
Any advice, help would really be appreciated. Thank you.

MrsSquirrel Tue 28-Jan-14 12:07:08

The first thing that occured to me when I read your thread title was that it's possible her being unhappy is not related to her being gay. You have just found out she might be gay, but she has probably known this about herself for a while.

I am gay, so was a gay teenager once (a long time ago wink). I don't know about teens do 'questioning their sexuality', but from what you have written I think it is most likely that she is gay. At 16 she has probably been aware of her attraction to girls for some time. I was about 13 when I understood this about myself.

I don't think you should make a big deal about knowing she is gay. I would have been mortified at that age if my mum had come to me and made a big announcement about it. It might be better to slip it into a conversation some time, if the subject of boyfriends/girlfriends happens to come up or if there is a gay character in a TV show.

You might like to get in touch with FFLAG Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays support group. They have a helpline 0845 652 0311.

deadlift Tue 28-Jan-14 19:13:36

I was a gay teenager not all that long ago and think that it sounds like your daughter probably is gay. I think it's important you don't tell her what you found and that you know. I know that I would have absolutely hated that and it's important that she's able to process it all in her own time. Being forced to face the coming out conversation before you're ready is just horrible.

In the mean time to help her you just need to keep letting her know that you care and just want her to be happy. Like MrsSquirrel says, just dropping casual comments that are supportive of gay people, in response to the news or whatever, is a good idea so she knows she has nothing to fear if she does want to come out.

With regards to the internet thing, a lot of gay teenagers use the internet both to explore their sexuality (like reading the things you found) and also to connect with other gay teenagers, since they can be difficult to meet in real life. I wouldn't worry too much about that, assuming there wasn't any evidence of her planning to meet up with strangers or anything like that. If she does come out there may be groups for gay teenagers in your area, if she did want to meet others.

NoArmaniNoPunani Tue 28-Jan-14 19:18:23

I'm not sure why you've blocked the site that she was looking on, that seems a bit harsh. At 16 she can legally have sex, so why would you stop her reading blogs about it?

My DD1 is gay and was unhappy for a long time before she came to terms with herself. SHe didn't WANT to be.. as she told us eventually; she wanted 'the norm' (her words) and it caused a lot of issues, inc anorexia.

When she came out..she was just turned 20 , although she had known for sure from about 15, it was like a weight had lifted off her shoulders. She recovered from her anorexia, joined the LGBT soc at Uni and is a happy thriving student in her 4th year (5 yr course) She simply became happy.

We had always said we didn't care at all about our childrens' sexuality and she knew that but still found it hard to tell us.. the family reaction of casual 'oh ok.. daft thing you should have said years ago..now go get a girlfriend' from everyone from her brothers to her Grandma, meant she felt free.

I agree with dropping hints and letting her know that you would be delighted with a gay daughter (even if it is a bit of a whoooah moment for you..it was for me because I had no idea!) The first time DD1 came home with a girlfriend I was thrilled to see her just happy.

(her brother on the hand grumbled.. 'how come she gets all the hot women grin)

I would be inclined NOT to block the internet because ti may be what is keeping her from feeling isolated at the mo.

Liz1968 Wed 29-Jan-14 10:11:28

Well its been a few days since we first thought she may be gay, so we've had time to let it sink in.
I am getting used to the idea, as long as she is happy that is the main thing. Suppose in a selfish way I'm grieving as I always imagined her married to a lovely man and with a load of kids......not that she cant have kids I suppose......but thats something I need to get over.
We watch Coronation Street so the topic of Sophie and relationships came up, I did my best to act casual saying I thought how lovely she was etc. Then I pointed out on fb how a g'friend of mine is married to a woman and they have 2 gorgeous children, Hubby joined in with positive comments.
She seems happier, is more chatty and is sleeping better smile
As for the internet, I suppose Ive always been a bit naive with all the stuff on there and am shocked at what she has looked at - it is so graphic!. But we always kept over 18 stuff not allowed with her older brothers, so I think we are being fair. I will talk to hubby about loosening up on what she can see. Mind you, rather than shutting herself in her room all day and night she joined us in the lounge for most of yesterday evening as she cannot access certain sites.
Thank you all for your comments, it is nice to be able to say what Im thinking, still unable to talk to family and friends as hubby not keen on that.

I totally understand what you mean about grieving. It felt to me like I had been following signposts thinking I knew where we and DD1, were heading..and then someone switched the maps and none of the future made sense any more..a whole new path.

But it honestly took only a few days for my brain to catch up to the realisation that NONE of us know what is in the future for our children smile and actually.. as long as she is happy the rest will follow.

Incidentally, my DD1 , who will be a doctor in 18m time, is quite sure she wants children and will have them..there are IVF style routes to go, or (more likely for DD1) best gay male friend with turkey baster...

I was extra surprised I admit because DD1 so doesn't fit MY imagined stereotype..I'm embarrassed now to admit I imagined most lesbians as somewhat masculine, cropped hair and docs. DD1 is very feminine.. the Portia de Rossi willowy blonde and her g'friends have been equally girly.The gay community is FAB.. I have now met so many wonderful young gays and lesbians . DD1's sister went to Brighton Gay Pride with her last year and said it was best holiday ever grin

Oh and the older members of the family (grans etc) barely raised an eyebrow...

elastamum Thu 30-Jan-14 20:53:48

I would recommend you take a look at emptyclosets.com. Lots of good advice and perspectives on there.

Please dont be tempted to talk to family and friends about your DD, she may feel her privacy is being violated. Just be supportive, accepting, loving and make her see you are all of the above. Coming out is hard, she will talk to you when she feels safe and secure smile

Liz1968 Wed 05-Feb-14 17:42:06

Thank you elastamum I have looked at emptyclosets - its a great site.
As time has gone on and I've had chance for it to sink in I would be okay if she told me she was gay - being happy in herself is the main thing. I'm not going to ask her, just wait to see if she says anything.
She seems a little happier generally and we have relaxed the internet access (coincidence??)
I spoke to my brother about it and he wasn't surprised - maybe its more obvious to those not so close to her?
Anyway, thanks to all the comments on my original post.
We will sit back and wait and see what happens over the next few months.

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