Parenting Gay Children

33 Comments

I believe that every mom has dreams for what and who their children become. Having gotten my children to adulthood, now I know we can only do the best we can and give them our strength and values and they will take it from there…

My first child came out in her 3rd or 4th month of being away in college. My husband and I were “empty nesters” and having a pretty good time getting used to being by ourselves for the first time in over 20 years. I remember the day like it was today, we were getting ready to go to an afternoon movie. I was in our bedroom putting on my shoes when he said he was going out to get the mail. He came in the house and I was jabbering along about where we could go for dinner afterwards when I looked up and saw him standing in our doorway with a piece of paper in his hands. He said “we have a letter from Kari and she is gay” I thought he was joking and got up and walked by. He came after me and said “no really, see she is” and handed me this piece of lined white notebook paper with her handwriting in pencil and in the middle of the page it simply said “Mom, Dad: I am gay. Call PFLAG.”

Surely, someone was playing a cruel joke on me. When you think of the dreams that you have for your children and for your daughters, they involve meeting a nice man, getting married, having your grandchildren. Well, they did for me.

My response, which after lots of reading, a very strong husband and a wonderful therapist is now amusing  was “go to church and join a club!” Looking back now I cannot believe I said that but I did. “Go to church, join a club!” Like that would fix it.

I went through mourning and I mean mourning. I sobbed in my husbands arms many times for the next few months. What did I do wrong? Where did I fail her? What a terrible mom I was. I always reinforced that I loved her no matter what, but I, myself, felt like a failure. About five years or so later, my other daughter came out of the closet as well. Two totally different daughters, both loving, caring, strong and beautiful. And, gay.

I remember thinking that drugs could be explained, pregnancy can be explained, dropping out of college could be explained, depression and so on but how to you explain being gay? Sure, it’s in the genes, but how is it in our genes? I like answers, and I just don’t have one for this. When I die and before I go through the pearly gates I plan on asking St. Peter how I got chosen to have two gay daughters! But, it doesn’t really matter— it’s been a long journey, but I love and accept who they are. I have three of my own children and three beautiful daughter in laws. Life is good.

Hopefully grandchildren are in the journey ahead!

Comments

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  1. 1

    Life with Kaishon says

    Very insightful.
    Thank you for sharing part of your journey.
    I am glad you have beautiful children who are great people. Wishing your family a happy Holiday season. Love, Becky

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  2. 2

    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes says

    Kuddos to you for accepting them the way they are. My in-laws could take a leaf out of your book. My husband’s sister is gay and they have never accepted that. Which is very sad.

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  3. 3

    Susan says

    This gives me hope. I know, in the pit of my stomach, that my 12 year old is gay and I just don’t know how to deal with it. Do I bring it up? Let him come to me? I love him and will support him, but, if I’m honest with myself, this is not the way it was supposed to be. But, what is, I guess. I do know that I will do everything in my power to make him feel loved and understood. At this hard age, I hope that is enough.

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    • 4

      ddt says

      Hi. I wanted to respond to you. I have a 17 year old son who is bisexual. He told me probably a little older than your son is now. Did I think he was? It was in my mind that it was a possibility. I have always been very accepting with gay people. It doesn’t bother me, as long as a person isn’t hurting someone they can like what they want. I think my attitude helped him tell me, and he knew I wasn’t going to fly off the deep end. I think how your attitude and acceptance of other people will determine when he tells you. I would just keep telling him about unconditional love, and show him exactly what that is when he does tell you he is or isn’t.

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  4. 5

    Roxane says

    You are a strong loving parent!. My son came out when he was 16. I knew long before that. He’s 20 now and going thru a tough time just trying to find his place. All I can do is love and be supportive.

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  5. 6

    Honoure Stark says

    I am raising a beautiful, intelligent and kind daughter who is gay. It is very difficult at times because she is accepted and loved without predjudice in our home, however, she is not treated the same by her peer’s or their parents. I find it very difficult to not be afraid for her and what negative experiences may come her way. I am very proud that we have a loving bond and we share this journey together!

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  6. 7

    Beckie Lou says

    Susan, I say let him come to you. It’s likely that at this age he’s not quite comfortable with the term and will just shutdown. That’s one thing you don’t want. Otherwise, remember to be loving and supportive and he will be eternally grateful that he still has his mom when he needs her the most. :-)

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  7. 8

    Honoure Stark says

    For the parents that have a younger gay child (my daughter is 13) make efforts to be inclusive in family conversations about supporting gay/lesbian relationships. My daughter has grown up understanding that she is normal, equal and to have dignity. She never had to decide when to ‘come out’ because she knew she was gay at a young age and she knew she was safe to share her thoughts and fears at home. It has made all the difference to us because she can better navigate the negative and cruel behaviour with the honest love and support at home.

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    • 9

      Beckie Lou says

      Excellent point! I don’t have any children that are gay…that I know of (ages 2 and 8), but I am fully supportive of gay/lesbian lifestyles. I have a few friends that are and they are probably the best friends I could ever ask for. When I was a teenager I “experimented” and though I chose a straight lifestyle, I am still caught in between, but my mother was never supportive in any of my choices/decisions and it made it hard.

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  8. 10

    Arnebya says

    This is one of the best things about parenting, to me. We have these children, we teach them our values, our morals, our life learned skills and then we let them live their lives. They will need us forever. That unconditional love we give them as children does not change if they come out. If nothing else, that love is needed even more, that acceptance and understanding and “you are still my child.” Even amid your questions and “disappointment” you accepted them. Your children are lucky to have you.

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  9. 11

    Carrie says

    Thank you for such a great read. Just beautiful.

    I thank the good Lord every day for one of my dearest friends who is gay. I am a better woman because of him.

    I have more love/joy/peace/laughter/acceptance/tolerance in my life because of him. And for that I am so grateful.

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  10. 12

    CJ says

    I am a later in life lesbian who’s parents refuse to have anything to do with her. My partner and I welcomed my third (her first) child together just over a year ago. There are many ways to build a family! I’m sure your grandchildren will find a way to you!

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  11. 14

    Michelle says

    My best friend’s youngest brother is gay & he’s a good friend of mine. I took my daughter to his wedding – she was 1 at the time & she’s known “uncle Jude” and “uncle Joey” her entire life as has her younger brother. They don’t think anything about it. They are just a couple, like any other. I hope if either of my children are gay they would know that we would love them just the same but I, too would grieve the dreams I have for them and the difficulties that being gay brings on a person. The world is cruel enough without being persecuted for your lifestyle – especially as a young adult.

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  12. 15

    Aimee says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I don’t know yet whether either of my sons is gay, but there’s a distinct possibility. They’re still so young, all we can do is love them and talk openly about all sexualities and types of families. Hopefully, if it ever does come to pass that they discover they’re not heterosexual, the foundation for an easy conversation will be laid.

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  13. 16

    Jeanine says

    I am glad you wrote this post, especially so close to election season. Everyone has their beliefs, and they are shaped by our experiences. Personally, I do not understand how anyone can be hateful toward others who may appear different. The fact is that we are all really more the same than different. We all breathe the same air, drink the water, need food and shelter, and love. We all strive for happiness and stability. I have been married to my husband for nearly 20 years. We have two daughters (10 and 13). We teach them to respect all people. There is too much hate in this world.

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  14. 19

    Evin Cooper says

    Good for you, Mom, for both being so accepting and for admitting that it was tough for you. So many of us struggle with either being the perfectly accepting parent, or just shutting down. It’s good to see that you can be freaked out by it, and still love your kids and come around. Gives both parents and kids hope!

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  15. 20

    Helen Russo says

    I haven’t read all these posts, but the ones I did read, I find it refreshing that so many are so accepting.
    For my part, I don’t really care what someone does in the privacy of their bedrooms, it’s none of my business. As for public, I just generally don’t like strong PDAs, doesn’t matter who it is or with whom.
    There was a child in my daughter’s daycare of lesbian parents, who really kept their relationship low key, at least until they knew how one felt about it. My response was to shrug my shoulders and ask “Do you love your son?” and “Do you love each other?” When the answer was yes, my response what do I care? There isn’t enough love in this world as it is for me to judge what is right for someone else.
    Good luck and lots of love to those of you who are unsure of how to handle it.

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  16. 21

    Rachael says

    I wanted to thank you for your story. I am a lesbian woman and I am so grateful to know that there are other parents that have gone through what my parents went through. I came out when I was one year into college. My father spent six years disowning me and when we finally did get to reconnect, it was awkward. I want to commend you for honesty and your journey. I am now 7 months pregnant with our first child. My partner and I have been together for 8 years and it is finally happened. I want you keep the faith in that your daughters will still give you what you hoped for. Grandchildren can be in the cards. I never ever thought it would happen, in fact, I was devastated when I realized how hard it was to have a child in a lesbian relationship. Just remember that everything will fall into place. I just wanted to comment and tell you that you are doing what any mother could do, accept your child for who they are and I really appreciate how courageous you are in sharing your story with the masses. <3

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    • 22

      A says

      THIS!
      Just because your kids are LGB, doesn’t mean there isn’t marriage or kids in their future. And lets face it, just because they’re straight, doesn’t mean there is. Marriage amongst men and women is fading as an institution and so many couples are either choosing to forgo children or have fertility issues. So, your chances of weddings and grandkids has more to do with blind luck than with who your child falls in love with! I’ll just be happy if they find love – period.

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  17. 23

    Nicolle says

    Beautiful story! It just means you have more wonderful women in your life to enjoy!

    My mom is the youngest of five. The three middle siblings are gay. They each got married first, had a child, then got divorced and came out of the closet. The odds of 3 out of 5 children in ONE family being gay are astronomical. It is something I am proud of, my family is so unique!

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