Author Topic: My daughter is gay  (Read 11234 times)

Infosaturated

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My daughter is gay
« on: March 25, 2011, 04:30:53 PM »
My darling daughter is 21, almost 22, and just told me that she is gay. Thank goodness I have always been accepting of the glbt community, and yet here I am with tears running down my cheeks. I'm not even entirely sure why I am crying. I have had such negative experiences with men that I think single parenthood for a woman is better so no man can interfere. I think maybe part of why I'm crying is that she didn't tell me much sooner.

Last night, after we had visited for a few days, she phoned me on the way to her bus (she lives in a different city).  She started by saying she should have told me sooner and in person but didn't want to delay it any longer, then said something to the effect that she thinks she gay.  I didn't know quite what to say but I feel like an idiot because at one point I said something to the effect of "are you sure" and "do you think you could be bi"?  In hindsight the underlying message to those questions is that on some level she should want to be with a man.

I love her so much, truely all I want for her is happiness so why am I crying? I do feel like a failure as a mother in that she didn't tell me sooner. I suspect it might be because I struggle with serious depression, but I have always been fully supportive of divergent lifestyles. I moved from the suburbs to the city because I wanted her to be more exposed to diverse lifestyles, I took her to the gay pride parade when she was around 14, had no problem with her having (male) gay friends. I did wonder a bit that she only had two boyfriends at around 15, but just thought she hadn't met anyone she wanted to be with. I asked her if she was in a relationship and she said no, but that she had had some experiences, just not a relationship. I am afraid for her because she will face prejudice.

I don't know what to say to her. I want the rest of my family to know because I don't want her to feel like she has to hide this aspect of herself but she hasn't even told her cousins. It's so unfair that it even has to be "announced" which I can see would be embarassing in the same sense that I would have been embarassed if I had to "announce" I'm straight. Even in todays world the actual act of sex is still private when it comes to individuals.

What do I say to her? How can I help her? Should I encourage her to come out to close family or not say anything? Are there questions it's okay for me to ask? Should I just ignore it and "take it in stride" as though it's no big deal? But if she "stays in the closet" so to speak won't that make it more awkward to come out later when she is (hopefully) in a relationship that is significant to her?

How bad is the prejudice against lesbians right now?

I'm upset that she belongs to the Baptist church because her father became a Baptist and took her to church prior to his death when she was 10 years old.  After a short break she continued going and whenever she has a chance she still sees the people there.  Her uncles on her father's side go there. That is part of the reason I moved to the city, to counteract any prejudices she might be learning there. I am pretty sure that church takes the approach of "love the sinner hate the sin".  It breaks my heart that she may have internalized that message but she isn't very religious, she is just attached to the people there because she knew them when her father was alive and they were very supportive of her. I believe she still belongs to a Christian group in the city she lives in now. I've never been happy about her involvement with Christian groups but never felt comfortable condemning it either because what parent in their right mind would complain about a daughter being involved with Christian groups as opposed to say, drugs or promiscuity or excessive partying? 

I try to remind myself that she is an adult now, a week away from being 22, but she is still my baby, I still want to hold her tight and protect her from the world. What pains my heart the most is not that she is gay, but that the world won't accept and celebrate her love the way that heterosexual love is celebrated.


Antonia

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Re: My daughter is gay
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2011, 05:30:42 PM »
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What do I say to her? How can I help her?

Tell her you love her. Tell her you will support her.

Meantime, think about it.  Remember when she was little? Did she do all the expected stereotypical girly things? Dolls? Princesses? Pink? Scream for the Backstreet Boys?

My guess is, this was a long time coming and you never recognized it -- or really wanted to see it.

http://www.borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/

My (technically ex-) stepson is gay. I knew it when he was 7 or 8.
It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity. It is when we all play safe that fatality will lead us to our doom. It is in the "dark shade of courage" alone that the spell can be broken.
-- Dag Hammarskjöld

lagatta

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Re: My daughter is gay
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2011, 06:04:55 PM »
Does your daughter have a sweetie? Perhaps that is why she told you, she'd like you to be able to meet.

I usually have pretty good gaydar too, but Antonia, as you know lesbian doesn't necessarily equal tomboy, and gay male doesn't necessarily equal a guy with a strong "feminine" side. I'm not gay, but I am attracted to such men, not to "manly" men. Fortunately some of those are het, and fortunately there are he-man gays and lipstick lesbians, to appeal to all tastes and orientations!

I don't think asking your daughter if she was sure is homophobic - many young people are searching, exploring their sexuality and sexual orientation - I just wish people would also ask youth if they are sure they are ... straight.

If your daughter has a spiritual side, rest assured there are Christian and other faith groups that are welcoming to LGBTQ people. And nowadays, there are many other lesbian, gay and gay-friendly groups where people can meet and have fun without having to get into the bar scene.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

Antonia

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Re: My daughter is gay
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2011, 06:52:18 PM »

True.

But the signals are almost always there, even if they are very very nuanced.

Not that there's anything wrong with them.
It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity. It is when we all play safe that fatality will lead us to our doom. It is in the "dark shade of courage" alone that the spell can be broken.
-- Dag Hammarskjöld

Infosaturated

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Re: My daughter is gay
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2011, 07:26:18 PM »
No, there were never any overt or covert signs and there still aren't. She's a very well-balanced person. She adores children and is an excellent caregiver to them. She's a natural with them and has enjoyed being a nanny in the past. She played with dolls but was not super into them. Her first musical idols were the Backstreet Boys and another boy band I can't remember the name of. She went through a pink hair punky stage. 

In high-school she was a semi-loner, but she did have a couple of close friends at all times. They just didn't attend the same school. She began to have gay friends because she was a Black Watch Cadet and her piping teacher was a cross-dresser, but I had gay friends in high-school so that didn't make an impact on me.

Even though I sew she wasn't into learning how, nor has she picked up my skills in assembling furniture and putting up shelves etc. On the other hand, she had learned a bit of wood-working. She likes dressing up, wears make-up and dresses, but most of the time she is more dressed down. She loves high-heels but doesn't wear them because they're uncomfortable. She isn't generally sporty but she likes long-distance cycling. She's very into music, especially local indie bands. She's smart and funny and very social. She has lots of friends and aquaintances.

Her lack of relationships did concern me a bit but I didn't want to make a big deal of it. She had had a couple of boyfriends. Her cousins didn't date much either, and neither did a couple of her friends. Contrary to what the media portrays not all teens are in serial relationships and going to parties every weekend.  Then she went to Katimavik for a year (12 kids live together and travel together for a year, no opportunity for dating), then worked full-time while going to college.  Also, I haven't dated in 12 years and while her older cousins are in relationships now they didn't date much either.  My younger sister hasn't ever married and her last relationship ended at least 15 years ago or more. My niece is with her first boyfriend and has been for about 7 years. My nephew is with his second girlfriend and has been with her for about 5 years. So, really, that my daughter only had a couple of boyfriends at 14 and 15 and hadn't mentioned any more recent boyfriends isn't that weird to me. Given that she is in Toronto and I am in Montreal I thought she may even had had some short relationships that just didn't make it to the "mom I have a boyfriend" stage.

I think that while some gay children may show a preference for things which are usually associated with the gender assigned to the opposite sex, it is not a determining factor. Tomboys grow up to be heterosexual females, boys that like things our society has deemed feminine grow up to be heterosexual males.  Some kids just accept whatever society has deemed gender appropriate for their sex.  I don't believe that women innately love to cook, sew and wear pink and men naturally like mechanical things and hunting therefore if a boy likes dressing up and dolls it must be a sign that he is gay or has gay "tendencies" whatever that would be. Tomboys seem to be able to get away with enjoying boy assigned interests without being "suspected" of lesbianism.

The thought may have crossed my mind in the past year or two but I dismissed it because I was positive that if she were gay she would tell me.  My strongest suspicion was that my very negative past with men coupled with lack of exposure to any good marriages might have left her just unenthusiastic about getting into a relationship. Couple with my niece and nephew not dating much, nor myself or my younger sister.

I'm kind of thinking out loud here, trying to sort out my feelings. I just realized that on one level I am relieved.  I try not to be prejudiced, I did love my husband, but most men I have known have been shits on a relationship level. With the exception of my nephew I don't have much respect for men in general though I do for individual men. Now I won't have to deal with my daughter bringing home boyfriends that I will be suspicious of and feel uncomfortable with. No, there were never any overt or covert signs and there still aren't. She's a very well-balanced person. She adores children and is an excellent caregiver to them. She's a natural with them and has enjoyed being a nanny in the past. She played with dolls but was not super into them. Her first musical idols were the Backstreet Boys and another boy band I can't remember the name of. She went through a pink hair punky stage. 

In high-school she was a semi-loner, but she did have a couple of close friends at all times. They just didn't attend the same school. She began to have gay friends because she was a Black Watch Cadet and her piping teacher was a cross-dresser, but I had gay friends in high-school so that didn't make an impact on me.

Even though I sew she wasn't into learning how, nor has she picked up my skills in assembling furniture and putting up shelves etc. On the other hand, she had learned a bit of wood-working. She likes dressing up, wears make-up and dresses, but most of the time she is more dressed down. She loves high-heels but doesn't wear them because they're uncomfortable. She isn't generally sporty but she likes long-distance cycling. She's very into music, especially local indie bands. She's smart and funny and very social. She has lots of friends and aquaintances.

Her lack of relationships did concern me a bit but I didn't want to make a big deal of it. She had had a couple of boyfriends. Her cousins didn't date much either, and neither did a couple of her friends. Contrary to what the media portrays not all teens are in serial relationships and going to parties every weekend.  Then she went to Katimavik for a year (12 kids live together and travel together for a year, no opportunity for dating), then worked full-time while going to college.  Also, I haven't dated in 12 years and while her older cousins are in relationships now they didn't date much either.  My younger sister hasn't ever married and her last relationship ended at least 15 years ago or more. My niece is with her first boyfriend and has been for about 7 years. My nephew is with his second girlfriend and has been with her for about 5 years. So, really, that my daughter only had a couple of boyfriends at 14 and 15 and hadn't mentioned any more recent boyfriends isn't that weird to me. Given that she is in Toronto and I am in Montreal I thought she may even had had some short relationships that just didn't make it to the "mom I have a boyfriend" stage.

I think that while some gay children may show a preference for things which are usually associated with the gender assigned to the opposite sex, it is not a determining factor. Tomboys grow up to be heterosexual females, boys that like things our society has deemed feminine grow up to be heterosexual males.  Some kids just accept whatever society has deemed gender appropriate for their sex.  I don't believe that women innately love to cook, sew and wear pink and men naturally like mechanical things and hunting therefore if a boy likes dressing up and dolls it must be a sign that he is gay or has gay "tendencies" whatever that would be. Tomboys seem to be able to get away with enjoying boy assigned interests without being "suspected" of lesbianism.

The thought may have crossed my mind in the past year or two but I dismissed it because I was positive that if she were gay she would tell me.  My strongest suspicion was that my very negative past with men coupled with lack of exposure to any good marriages might have left her just unenthusiastic about getting into a relationship. Couple with my niece and nephew not dating much, nor myself or my younger sister.

I'm kind of thinking out loud here, trying to sort out my feelings. I just realized that on one level I am relieved.  I try not to be prejudiced, I did love my husband, but most men I have known have been shits on a relationship level. With the exception of my nephew I don't have much respect for men in general though I do for individual men. Now I won't have to deal with my daughter bringing home boyfriends that I will be suspicious of and feel uncomfortable with.

She knows I'm not homophobic. She knows I was tickled-pink by the mountie wedding and that I thought it was great for Canada's reputation. She knows that I thought it was stupid when the government withdrew funding from the gay pride parade in Toronto.  She must know 100% that I am not homophobic, so why didn't she tell me sooner?

lagatta

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Re: My daughter is gay
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2011, 07:38:04 PM »
Je ne sais pas, c'est son affaire à elle. Elle n'est pas obligée de tout divulguer aux parents.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

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Re: My daughter is gay
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2011, 08:00:11 PM »
That's a good point Lagatta. As I think about it there are probably different reasons at different times that she didn't tell me. I'm glad that she told me now.

Antonia

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Re: My daughter is gay
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2011, 09:24:27 PM »
Please don't take me literally on the girly stereotypes but from you reveal here, it seems to me that she was struggling for a long time. She may not want to have accepted it. Or may not have even recognized it. Or whatever.

So now she told you.

Maybe it took living in a different city, and finding people who she could relate to, brought her out so to speak. Who knows?

All she needs and wants from you is your love, acceptance and unwavering support.
It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity. It is when we all play safe that fatality will lead us to our doom. It is in the "dark shade of courage" alone that the spell can be broken.
-- Dag Hammarskjöld

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Re: My daughter is gay
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2011, 10:24:39 PM »
Thanks Antonia. She definitely has my love and acceptance. I will support her 100% and accept whomever she cares about or falls in love with the same way. All I care about is her happiness and security. 

I didn't really know what to say when she told me because she already knew that it wouldn't affect my feelings for her. I don't want to say it was a shock because it wasn't. More of a surprise so I just didn't know how to react.  I'll be talking with her again tonight so I wanted to get my thoughts in order and figure out how I feel about it so I don't say anything stupid. that could unintentionally hurt her feelings.

I feel my questions last night might already have inadvertently sent her the wrong message, made her feel like I think straight is better even though I accept gay.

I liken it to being left-handed. Everyone assumes others are right-handed unless otherwise indicated. Fortunately people no longer think it's a sign of evilness. Left-handers are in a minority but it doesn't mean it's not normal even if it isn't the norm. It can be awkward because the world is built for right-handed people but there isn't anything wrong with it. I see sexual-orientation the same way.  Not the norm, but still normal.

Gays often have to emphasize that they aren't making a lifestyle choice, that they are what they are.  I do support that thinking, yet at the same time I also feel that even if it were a lifestyle choice it still wouldn't be wrong or anyone else's business.

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Re: My daughter is gay
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2011, 12:49:05 AM »
Hi, I wrote my daughter an email and she responded.  She told me that she only began to realize or suspect it about two years ago, while she was in Toronto, and she is "out" there but it was a process.  She isn't ready to come out to the rest of the family because she is still getting comfortable with it all and she hasn't had a serious relationship yet, but she doesn't mind if I tell my sister.  She too has wondered if she is bi so wasn't offended that I had asked that and asked if she was sure.  She said she knew I would be completely accepting when she was ready to tell me.  I feel much much much better now that I know this isn't something she's been hiding from me from a young age.

I know that on babble I read in a post that asking someone when they knew they were gay was insulting because gay people know they are gay just like heterosexuals know they are straight.  I never really believed it but I'm not gay so I wasn't going to argue the point.  But, now that I think about it, I didn't know I was straight until adolescence.  I assumed I was straight because that's the default but I didn't "know".  I suppose some people know from a much younger age.  I'm relieved because I was most upset at thinking she went through her teen years without telling me which meant we weren't nearly as close as I thought.

Antonia

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Re: My daughter is gay
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2011, 04:36:51 PM »
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She told me that she only began to realize or suspect it about two years ago, while she was in Toronto, and she is "out" there but it was a process.  She isn't ready to come out to the rest of the family because she is still getting comfortable with it all

very common. They go away to school or whatever, are exposed to different people and places, and discover themselves.
It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity. It is when we all play safe that fatality will lead us to our doom. It is in the "dark shade of courage" alone that the spell can be broken.
-- Dag Hammarskjöld

 

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