It’s Not About You!
In an OP-ED New York Times column entitled “It’s Not a Teenage Fad. It’s Life,” 1/09/19, author Jennifer Finney Boylan remarks that when her daughter came out, she felt as if “this person was now going to be different. It made Jennifer think, at first, that something precious was being taken away.”
Boylan’s daughter was coming out as trans to her mother, a trans activist, who transitioned twenty years ago. Jennifer had a tougher time with her sexual identity back then.
But even if Jennifer were straight, she might have felt the same way because many parents report grief when they are told their child is LGBT. However, in effect, parents are not losing a child. Kids are not here to live out our version of how we want them to live their lives.
To the contrary, being LGBT has advantages:
· Children are happier. They are themselves and don’t have to hide their identities.
· With a better understanding of your child and honesty in your relationship, you can have a closer relationship.
· It’s a compliment that your child has shared this important information with you. It shows that he is comfortable enough to reveal this facet of his self even though he may feel that he may be disappointing you. He feels secure enough with you to come out.
However, if you, at first, regard being LGBT as a disadvantage:
· You may want to attend a Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, now with Transgender groups) or PFLAG http://www.htttp://pflag.org. meeting at which you discuss why you think being LGBT is “lesser than” being straight even though your child is still the same person with the same attributes?
· If you’re not comfortable with groups, see a gay-friendly therapist. You can find a psychotherapist at the Psychotherapist Association for Gender Diversity through Gaylesta https://www.gaylesta.org.
· Don’t think it’s a phase or choice. It’s not going away.
· To integrate this new information with the concept of the child, don’t reject the child altogether. Writes Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D., co-author of When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know ( Sterling, 2016), “it is very difficult to retract words such as “if you’re gay, you are no longer my child. Or you can make a choice, continue to be part of this family or be gay on your own. Even if you disapprove, you should display to your child in both words and actions that you will always love and support your daughter or son.”
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.