For Parents of Gay Teens

So, what do you say when your child announces to you that she or he is “gay?” If you’re looking for the ultimate quintessential answer here out of desperation, you can quit reading now. There is no set “one line” or “approved script” of how to handle delicate interpersonal communications with loved ones – especially the “coming out” issue.

Suggestion: DON’T GO CRAZY. If you feel yourself launching into a judgement, take a moment to ask yourself, “Who’s that talking?”  Is what you may be about to spew all over your own flesh and blood something that you really subscribe to? Or might you be about to premanently render your relationship to your daughter or son altered irrevocably as the result of somebody else’s programs???????

What I mean here is that we all tend to act and react through “filters” – attitudes, opinions and automatic behaviors we have acquired throughout our lives, by observation, upbringing and conditioning (family, community, social-cultural influences, etc.) In other words, we as humans tend to interact with our world and each other as the sum total of the parts that we have taken on from other people in our lives  – almost like “valences” that may not necessarily be the real me or the real you.

But given a particular stimulus, BAM – before we can even think through the situation in front of us – up comes one of those “ghosts” – from somebody else’s past – (i.e. parents, clergy, teachers, authority figures) – like one of those annoying pop-ups that invade your computer screen and you really don’t want it, and don’t quite know how to get rid of it.

This is not to make any of those influence wrong. All those people that are part of our personal make-up are not “bad” – they just are not really us. They are “impressions” we hold onto because we don’t know how to release them without judgement and therefore guilt.

Letting go of Aunt Mary’s homophobia doesn’t make Aunt Mary a bad person – it just means she was expressing through her filters and influences in her life that she acquired…AND THE BEAT GOES ON! Making a choice to get free of that cycle and start a new one is choosing personal freedom and greater sanity.

In the case of being confronted with your teen’s “Coming out” – it can mean the difference between tragedy or triumph.

I found this article recently and wanted to share it with you:  Understanding Your Gay Teen,  A Primer for Parents by Katy Abel (see link below).

If you are a parent of a teen or any age daughter or son who has gone through the painful and fearful exercise of “coming out” to you, I implore you to treat this as a HUGE trust. Your child is looking for acceptance, not necessarily approval. You don’t have to understand the “gay experience” to love your child. Your child wants to know that no matter what, you still love them.

Think about it. They’re risking everything to be honest and open with you. They know from other people’s experiences that “honesty is the best policy” hasn’t always led to a “happy ending.”

Here’s some food for thought, and maybe insight into some of my “filters:” My father came from an Orthodox Jewish family. He fell in love with a woman 16 years his senior who was Lutheran. His family rejected her – and him. In fact, when it became clear that he was going to stand by his wife and not leave her as they had tried to convince him to do, they did the traditional week-long mourning period that follows burial of the dead.

For years there was no communication. When I was about 10 years old, a call came saying that his mother was dying of cancer and wanted to see my father and his family. So we went. It was very awkward, and very painful for my father. In the ensuing years, after his mother’s death, when he went to see his father there was a point in the visit where a silence would set in like a deep chasm that could not be bridged.

When my father died, he asked me not to inform his family until after he was buried. He carried hatred of his sister to his grave. And his pain. All I can say is, it is such a waste. There is nothing that should be more important than blood family – no religion, no philosophy, no politics, NOTHING.

Okay, end of soapbox. But you get the point. Looking back on the American Civil War we can all say “what a waste. Families torn apart, fathers and sons killing each other,  siblings against siblings…” So why would it make sense for any other issue? Let’s step away from the question at hand just far enough to realize that “from a distance” – as the song goes – we all are the same, and we all share far more in common than is justifiable in preserving the illusion of separation and “difference.”

See: Understanding Your Gay Teen, A Primer for Parents by Katy Abel

Additional resources are available through:

 PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) at: www.pflag.org

 Resources for Parents when talking to teens about homosexuality and gay teens, including:

3 Simple Things Parents of Straight Teens Can Do About Homosexuality
Parents of straight teens can do a lot to teach tolerance of gay teens.

My Teen Came Out to Me and I Blew It
Article for parents of gay teens who don’t feel that they have handled it well.

What should I say if my teen tells me he/she is gay, lesbian or bisexual?
Simple FAQ for parents of teens, what to say if your teen tells you he/she is gay lesbian or bisexual.

How Do I Accept My Gay Teen?
Don’t let yourself get confused between ‘accepting your teen’ and ‘accepting that your teen has a different sexual orientation’. This article will help.

Gayteens Resources
Support, information, features and chat rooms for young people, their families and those unsure of their sexuality.

http://parentingteens.about.com/od/gayteens/

Additional topics and authoritative compassionate articles are at this webpage for your assistance.

ADDENDUM: “For Parents of Gay/Lesbian Teens” gives an insightful view of what it feels like to be a parent dealing with discovering their teen’s gay identity.

See: http://www.teenhealthcentre.com/?q=node/53

better-gay-than-grumpy1

May your Christmas, Hannakah, Kwanza and other Holiday Celebrations

be filled with Love and Joy this year!

And may we all be able to celebrate each other as we are:

One with the All That IS.

🙂 MsQueer

©2008 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

Bookmark and Share

Advertisements

6 Responses

  1. great post!

    I wish i can show it to my mom but she is extremely homophobic. Im working my way towards opening her mind, though.

    maybe in the future 😉

  2. Hello, I can’t understand how to add your blog ( msqueer.wordpress.com ) in my rss reader

    • I’m working on it! I had the site set up for rss feed subscriptions, butit appears that other wordpress bloggers are experiening the same problem. Thanks for the “heads up” – I definitely want readers to be able to subscribe. Please check back. I hope to have this rectified ASAP!

    • OKAY I think I have this figured out! 🙂 WordPress, in its infinite wisdom (and competativeness) appears to not allow certain features when a url masks the “wordpress” part of the address that is not hosted by WordPress.

      So, what you have to so in order to get the feed button to work is go to my blog through this address: https://msqueer.wordpress.com

      Then the feed should be active. Please let me know if that doesn’t do it. I’m still researching independent feeders that I can use to overcome this beaurocratic obstacle.
      *)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: