When it comes to sexuality, we know from a young age that we aren’t like the other kids. It’s a common statement for many LGBTQ+ individuals to state they’ve known they were gay from a young age.
But at that point in our lives, we are under our parents’ control. Our parents make all the decisions for us & to a degree, we have no control of our own lives. So what happens when we let our parents decide if our sexuality is valid, or not?
Can we trust our parents to make the right decisions for us? How they react can change our lives, if they deny us or push our sexuality aside it can have detrimental effects. So, I think it’s time to see if we can really rely on our parents to guide us and support us no matter what.
My child is gay, what do I do?
Majority of parents want the best for their children, they will go to the end of the world to provide and support them through life. But, recently we are seeing parents coping with their children coming out as gay. Being LGBTQ+ is something that is still not taught in schools, so understanding how to react is somewhat difficult.
However, in 2018 we expect views on homosexuality to be relaxed. But what happens when your child happens to be gay, are you as relaxed then? Well, we’ve found out what parents of 2018 think. We’ve researched, looked high & low for the answers to help you help your child coming out gay.
As you can see from google, parents are frantically looking to see if their child is too young to understand their sexuality.
Google search results
Understanding sexuality starts with understanding that we are all different. Sexuality is something personal to that individual, so there isn’t an age that all homosexuals realise they’re gay. What are you expecting to find?
“At the age of 10, your child will know they’re gay. Around this age, the signs of homosexuality will show & you can confirm that your child is a homosexual.”
-Said no one ever
If this was the case, everything would be so much simpler. But sadly, we can’t pin-point an age that we know. The signs of “teenage homosexuality” don’t exist and there is no test we can take to determine if we’re confused or not.
If you truly want to support your child coming out as gay, I suggest starting off with accepting that your child is gay. No matter their age, if they’re stating their gay, there is something that is making them feel that way, by telling them anything different, you will push your child away & they will feel worthless.
Are parents in 2018 accepting of LGBTQ+ children?
As you can see with the google searches, it’s still questionable if parents are accepting of LGBTQ+ children. So, I dug a little further. Below is a survey of 133 individuals who filled out some questions regarding what they would do if their child came out as gay.
The results shocked me & changed my views on how parents react to their child being gay.
Your child is aged from 5-12 and they state they think they’re gay, what is your response?
- A. You’re too young to know, don’t be silly 2%
- B. Let’s leave it a few years & see what you feel then 34%
- C. That’s okay, there’s nothing to be ashamed of 50%
- Other 14%
- I would be totally accepting, but I’d ask them why, and explore what has made them think that, and if they feel ready to tell people, as there is a lot of prejudice out there.
- Let’s talk and find out what makes you think that.
- Ok, I love you whatever.
- You may be right or you could end up bi or straight. Puberty hormones can have a large effect on your brain and will start to make it clearer on matters of sexuality and as those hormones even out you will start to know for sure. However there is no reason to pretend to be straight if you don’t feel straight. You can be open about your current feelings and talk about them. This may even help you in your journey to be sure about your sexuality.
- That’s ok – let’s see what information we can find together to help you to understand as much as you can.
- Nothing to be ashamed of but let’s wait till your a little older and see.
- That’s okay, your still my child. but how do you know?
- That’s how you feel now, and that’s okay. If you change your mind in a few years, that’s also okay. I will accept you no matter what.
- Ask first if they understand what that means, have a chat to reassure them we are all different and there is nothing to be ashamed of.
- You’re probably right but don’t rule anything out yet.
- It would be ok but i wouldn’t even suggest that they should be ashamed. I would just remind them that they are still the same person they were yesterday and that I love them.
- Ok! If you ever need advice or you’re worried about anything at all, you only need to ask!
- Thats ok and other response would depend on their age and if we had talked about the birds and the bees yet. Have to be open and let your children know that they can talk to you at any time. Everyone is different and we don’t all have to be the same.
- Talk about it why they know they feel that way and perhaps speak to an expert in the first instance ie counsellor in case the child is confused.
- Answer C but also explain that it’s also okay if in a few years you change your feelings. Sexuality is complicated and doesn’t need labels.
- “That’s ok, do you want to talk about it?” (Why would I suggest there would be anything to be ashamed of?!)
- Ensure they know the definition and say okay if they still think they identify as that.
Your child is now a teenager (13-19). Would they still be too young to understand their sexuality?
- A. Yes, they’re going through puberty and hormones can alter their judgement 5%
- B. Maybe, but I will support them whatever they decide 36%
- C. No, they’re old enough to understand how they feel 58%
So, what do these findings show? Well, let me break it down for you. I thought parents would think their children are too young to understand the emotions they feel. In reality, this isn’t the case.
The truth is that parents of 2018 are more accepting than ever. Although they may not truly understand, they’re willing to support their child mentally & physically.
What touched me the most was the other responses.
What these other responses show, is that in 2018 parents are our biggest supporters. Yes, we will find some individuals who believe their child is the devil for being gay. But out of 133 individuals, an average of 3% could be classed as these parents.
So, what advice can we give for parents going through their child coming out within the LGBTQ+ community?
1. Let’s start with accepting them, no matter their age. Don’t make them feel ashamed of being who they are, it’s been proven that identifying with the LGBTQ+ community isn’t a choice. This is who they are. If you push that away, you’re pushing your own child away.
2. Educate them & their siblings. If your child is stating they think they’re gay, it’s more than likely they are. But with so many sexuality labels, there could be a chance they don’t know how they actually identify. So, educating them on what that sexuality label actually means will help them understand the emotions they are feeling.
3. Don’t let them face this alone. Being lesbian, gay, bisexual & so on can be a confusing process. If you’re not there to support your child, they will most certainly feel alone in this big crazy world. You may not totally understand what they’re going through, but they need guidance.
Published by Charlotte Summers
Owner of Unite UK