When Your Child Is Gay
For parents, having your child reveal that he/she is gay can be a jolt. While some may have an easier time accepting the revelation that their child is gay, all parents can take certain steps to ensure they handle the news that convey they love their child, unconditionally.
Make sure your child knows he or she is loved.
• First, try to separate your immediate reaction from your love for your child.
• Remember that your kid may be nervous about what he has told you and may be afraid that he will be abandoned.
• Do not be judgmental. This is a supreme compliment that your child has revealed his sexual orientation to you.
• You are the parent. Put your child first.
Just Listen without interrupting.
What to Say
• Say “I love you no matter what, and I am still your parent”
• It’s o.k. to say you’re worried, but also say you can adjust. Ask for his/her patience. Remind your child that you will learn to accept his/her sexuality. Tell him that it isn’t your feelings for him/her that you are questioning, it is understanding about his/her sexuality.
• Remember that this is a process. Don’t expect that one conversation will resolve everything. Keep the dialogue going.
• Ask your child to help you learn more about homosexuality. This is one area where he knows more than you. Educate yourself on what it means to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
• Excellent Resource is PFLAG (Parents for Lesbians and Gays), a national umbrella of parent organizations. These are seasoned parents who are helping other parents who are going through it all.
• American Psychological Association can provide recommendations for books and therapists for consultation.
• Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State has support materials for parents that are downloadable.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.