When your teen comes out, let your child take the lead. Don’t try to talk him out of being gay, calling it a “phase” and don’t attempt to change his sexual orientation by referring him to conversion (gay-to-straight ) facilities. Who knows better?
So, what should you do? For once, let your child educate you about what it’s like to be gay, bi, lesbian, transgender. Find out how he feels about being non cis-gender and how he envisions his future.
This is not to say that you should “throw your hands up in the air.” You don’t want to shirk your parental responsibilities. Your child needs you more than ever now. Show love and support.
You can model responsibility by:
· Making sure they not only know about safe sex (as you would your heterosexual child), but know where testing sites are for sexual diseases. Advocate for sexual education that includes information directed at the LGBT community. (Most sex education courses in schools are not inclusive).
· Take your child’s pulse frequently. Is he happy at school? Is he being bullied? If so, know the proper channels to get satisfaction for the problem.
· Make sure the physician/therapist your child sees is LGBT-friendly. Your child will feel comfortable bring up health disparities.
· Show interest in your LGBT child’s love life as you would with your heterosexual child.
· Don’t let the relatives in on your child’s sexual orientation unless he needs help to come out to them. It’s his story,
· Don’t expose your child to negative comments about homosexuals from uneducated relatives.
Even though this experience is new for you, don’t shut own. You have a responsibility to continue in your role as a parent. Employ the 3 L’s: listen, learn, and love.
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.
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