What to do when your child comes out as an LGBTQ


Your child just came out an LGBTQ - what do you do? How do react to your child's different sexual orientation? What do you say to your child? What are the most important things to keep in mind as a parent of an LGBTQ?

India recently joined the ranks of countries that give the gay community equal rights. In a recent, very historic verdict, the Supreme Court of India, decriminalised gay sex. While this may be a historic judgement for the LGBTQ community, but the journey towards acceptance has just begun.

The new order decriminalising homosexuality is definitely good news, for the community; but is society willing to accept homosexuals into their fold? Given the social and cultural taboos, will parents accept their homosexual child? Will this ruling wipe away deep-rooted beliefs, sentiments and prejudices?



Agreed, that acceptance in the eyes of the law is one major leap. But, acceptance across all stratum of society will be the real victory. Will homosexuality be decriminalised within homes? Will parents accept their child's sexuality and strike down 377?

Many years go Vikram Seth's mother made a bold statement by supporting and accepting her son's 'different' sexuality - her acceptance was unconditional. How about you? What will you do if your child comes out about their sexuality?

Your child comes out of the closet?

We don't openly talk about our sexuality; not in our culture. And it's unthinkable to talk about it with the parents. It must take a lot of courage for your son or daughter to overcome their fears and awkwardness and come to you, with their most intimate secret. Given our upbringing and how the world looks at homosexuals, speaking about their sexuality cannot be easy.

Your child comes to you because they are afraid and they seek your approval. They know they are different and this could torment them. They come to you because you are the one stable source of love and support that they have known all their life. They come to you because they love you and want to let you know who they are and in return seek unreserved acceptance and support. Being different, cannot be easy, not in a world where social biases rule, where the majority decides that only one type of sexuality is normal and not the others. Also know that this is not a disease of the mind and not something that medicine, meditation or the spiritual path can cure.



Source: University of Richmond

Your child's confession may jolt you, especially, if you had no inkling. Cannot blame you though, because we've been conditioned to believe that heterosexuality is the only normal. But, this is your child, and you should be accepting of who they are, instead of judging or shaming them, because of their different sexual orientation.

Let's imagine how things can unfold and learn ways to tackle those scenarios. Here are a few tips to handle your child's coming out to you, as LGBTQ. Here is how a good, loving parent must behave.

You are in shock and it's fine

It is alright to need some time to let the announcement sink in. You weren't expecting it, and it's acceptable if you are taken aback by the suddenness. It is also fine to lament because you cannot suppress those emotions. You have a right to be disheartened over the death of your dreams that you had lovingly envisioned - the big-fat traditional wedding, of a daughter-in-law or a son-in-law and of course the grandkids.

But don't be vocal about your pain. Your child is more important than your visions. Also, don't ever make your child feel that their sexuality is wrong, or their fault. Don't make the child go on a guilt trip. You'll do more damage than good. Your child needs you more than ever before. Give them your love and support and always be available - keep the lines of communication open, don't shun them out of your life.

Remember, nothing has changed, they are still your child. And they still need you, especially when they come out.



Source: LGBTQ Affirmative Therapy

Don't call it a phase

Learn to accept, and don't hope for it to be 'just a phase'. And don't make the mistake of laughing it off and telling your child the same. You indirectly question their self-worth when you tell them what they are going through could be a phase. You indirectly tell them that there is something wrong with them and that their sexuality is unnatural; why else would you refer to it as a phase!

Imagine how damaging the effects of your words could be. It could lead your child to the brink – they could become depressed or suicidal or just zip up, and never talk to you about what's going on with them. You need to stand by them as a trusting ally.

It is not about you

Don't force your views on sexuality on your child. Their coming out is not about you, it is about them. Surely, you want the best for your child, but know that this is how your child is. They did not choose to be this way, their sexuality is genetically coded into their DNA, just the way yours is.

Don't accuse them of having kept their sexuality a secret, all this while. The journey to realizing their sexuality is theirs, and they choose when to tell you. It could be really difficult for you to come to terms with having an LGBTQ child, but know that coming out of the closet is a much more difficult choice. Don't make it any harder with your sage advice. You'd only burden them with guilt, for something that nature proposed. Don't make it about yourself, and your pain. It is their life and that is more important.



What if you already know

Parents sometimes have a clue about their child's sexual orientation, but they shouldn't bring it up for discussion until the child comes out on his/her own. Our social milieu creates unseen moulds that we must fit in and unwritten rules that we must conform too. We are not bothered by these norms because they're normal to us, but the LGBTQ have to come to terms with themselves because they do not conform. And they take time before they come out.

Your LGBTQ son or daughter has a war raging inside them. They struggle, to accept who they are, and fight the restrictions that the world unknowingly thrusts on them. Let them tell you in their own time. Don't dig out answers.



Source: Querta

Do be sensitive

Your initial reaction to their coming out can stay with them for a long time. You can crush them with your insensitivity. If you don't know what to say, just hold their hands. There'll be enough time to talk over things.

Coming out to the parents is perhaps the toughest challenges that they face. It is their biggest hurdle, don't trip them. If you don't stand with them, how will they find the strength to step out and be their own person. You get just that one chance to forge that special parent and child bond. How you react will set the pace for your relationship to grow. No hysterics, please.

Make your home a haven

Don't ever stop loving your child over their sexual preference. They need a home where they feel safe. The world outside is nasty, and your child can see that they don't fit into the frame. So, create a healthy environment at home where your child can feel free. They need a safe haven where they can be themselves without being judged, taunted and humiliated.

Don't destroy that bond you share, just because your child is queer. Don't become that person whom your child dreads meeting, in the outside world – the person who makes them feel inadequate and worthless. You are the anchor and refuge your child seeks. Don't let them down.

Don't try to 'protect' them

You might think you protect them, by asking your gay son to not be effeminate or your daughter to be more feminine. You think it's fine for you to do so – for then the world can't tell that they are gay. But, your well-meaning advice ends up shaming them.

Normal in your parlance is a relative term. For them, their personality is their normal. You cannot make your child change the way they are – they cannot change their mannerisms, the way they talk, the way they walk or the way they dress. Don't ask them to wear a mask, so their identity is hidden from the world. Are you ashamed of your child?

Note that your child is who he or she is. It is their identity, which the law of the land recognises. You do not have to ask them to mask who they are, because then you send a message that their identity is blemished and that they have to stifle and conceal who they are, in order to fit into society. You tell them they aren't perfect if they don't blend with the rest and that can be so humiliating.

Don't be afraid of what society says. You are your child's biggest strength and you must shun bigoted views. Society is no one to judge your child. Let your child decide if they want to keep their sexual orientation under wraps or go public.



Source: Lacocedelquartiere

Don't matchmake

Don't assume that your child will change their sexual orientation if you set them up with someone of the opposite sex. They cannot become sexually or emotionally involved with someone of the opposite sex, because you find them a suitable match. Don't force them into marriage with the hope that the 'scared' bond will magically turn them into heterosexuals. It doesn't work that way, so don't even think of it.

Acceptance is the key

Your child's sexual identity is just one part of them, there is a whole lot more to who they are. Don't define them based on their sexuality. They are normal, being LGBTQ, is normal. Don't suddenly begin treating them differently and tip-toe around issues. Let things around the house be as natural as they were, the day before they came out.



Final words

Don't stop loving your child. Don't be disappointed in them. They go through tremendous mortification at the hands of the world. There are constant ridicules and taunts. Hostile glances and ugly comments from strangers that can pierce through their soul. They lead a difficult life.

What they need is your unquestioning love; remember they are scared, hurt and may be confused. Just support them the best you can, no questions asked.

The law has decriminalised homosexuality, welcome the judgement, better still welcome your LGBTQ child into the comfort of your arms. Your acceptance will help diminish the anti-LGBTQ preconceptions that plague society. Embrace their sexuality and let love prevail.

I hope this article helps you understand your LGBTQ child better. Like and share the article and do leave your comments in the comment section below.


Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Comments

Author: Reena Upadhya21 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 10

This article is a must read for everyone. It is high time that we stop discriminating people belonging to the LGBTQ community. We need to start treating them in a similar fashion as we treat any other human and stop thinking that they are going through a phase or there is some chemical imbalance in their minds. They are what they are and acceptance is the requirement and need of the hour. Acceptance should first come from the parents and it is what the article is entirely about. The author deserves lots of appreciation as she has written an in-depth article about the most controversial issue that is going on right now.

Every person has their own experiences and perspectives. Thus, their stories are different. I know that it can be difficult for the child as well as parents to deal with the coming out scenario. Most of the parents will not accept, some may not understand and those who understand may reluctantly accept. I feel that the first response should be a hug which itself should mean everything. Parents, in order to accept their kids dearly, need to learn to listen. When they listen and learn more, they will make a way for acceptance. When they accept they are in a way making their kids believe that they are okay with the sexuality aspect and thus creating a safe home in which they can get empowered. Though the court has given its verdict in favor of LGBTQ community, society is going to take its own time. Denial or rejection is the first step and acceptance is at the top. Of course, it is a long way ahead. Even if parents accept, society is not going to do so very easily. Thus, there is a chance that the child may get mistreated or bullied. When the child approaches parents with the issues he/she is facing in the outside world, parents cannot let their emotions overpower the situation. If they do so, it is very likely that next time child is never going to approach them for anything. Thus, keep it under control. Check your emotions and completely focus on the issue.

Author: Sanjeev Gupta24 Sep 2018 Member Level: Silver   Points : 3

It would be very difficult for me to accept it if my kid tells me that he or she is homosexual. Any parent would find it difficult to accept it but nothing can be done as we can't change the mindset of the kid.

I have seen guys who are like females but can't accept it openly as they are scared about what people will say. In order to hide the same, their parents treat them as a boy and then the actual problem occurs as they are forcefully asked to get married. After marriage, life becomes hell for a couple. So as a parent one should understand their kids and let them live their life.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha24 Sep 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 3

The author has dealt with a burning question of the society giving insights into how an LGBTQ child should be treated.
The parents would be shocked to learn that their own upbringings are on a different path from where there is no visible sight of returning back to lead their normal lives. The revelation could be shocking but there is no escape from the ongoing situation. Such children need the parental support at every stage. The due support and guidance of the parents would offer them strength in fighting with the odd circumstances and they can lead normal lives despite being an LGBTQ.
The author has presented the article in a lucid manner giving several valuable tips to strengthen the minds of such children who are LGBTQ.

Author: umesh24 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5

A nice and exhaustive article dealing with LGBTQ children.

There was a time when these type of children were thought to be devilish and society did not accept them and parents were either abandoning them or living with them in humiliation and shame. It is really fortunate for these people that now the initial stones of the foundation of their houses are laid down. It will take time but eventually, society will fully accept them in due course.

The parents have a larger responsibility in the sense that these children should not feel any differentiation or separate treatment being forced on them. They should be treated at par with other family members and their sexual orientation should not be made a laughing stock. They should be encouraged to read about this category of people so that they get a first-hand information about their difference from others and take it in the positive stride.

Society has to understand that some people are born like this due to whatever biological or biochemical reasons and they should not be treated as underprivileged children. They have equal rights for job or career as all of us have. I believe that the whole world is slowly moving in that direction and India will also be considering the LGBTQ children an equally eligible citizen as others.

Author: Aditya Mohan02 Oct 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 6

A really relevant and needed article. Good job Juana. But the psychological view of parents takes time to change because it's a consequence for a lifetime. Now though most communities and countries have accepted LGBTQ, the public hasn't. Discriminations will follow in near future. As a parent, this kind of predicament is tortuous because there isn't much you can do.
And also as of now, we have no efficient way to be concretely confirmed about sexuality because sexuality is just as psychological as its physiological. What if it was a phase indeed?
In a whim, in a particular instance, one might develop a crush on a same-sex person. But this doesn't mean he/she is genuinely orienting themselves under "pride". In future, their orientation might change. This is not ridiculous to think about nor is it uncommon.
The individual needs to be extremely confident before announcing the individual's sexuality.

Author: Juana02 Oct 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

Reena,

Yes, it is important that we become more sensitive as individuals, only then slowly but surely will society change.

Our society and I speak of Indian society, is bound by several delusions about what is normal human sexual behaviour. This coupled with traditions, both cultural and religious, further choke our thoughts. We are more concerned with society and the opinion it forms of us and our family, our spouse or our children. In truth, we are scared of being ostracised by society and we try to gel, in response to that fear.

Parents are no different. They rather protect their ‘false’ image than allow their child to express their sexuality. The parents’ reaction could be damaging to the child, especially if it questions or rebukes.

Freedom of expression is every individual’s right. And how they express their sexuality is a right that must be respected. Parents have too many expectations of their children and they become selfish. And in their selfishness fail to understand their children.

We keep reading about honour killings because parents believe their honour lies in their child’s choices. This attitude has to change. Hopefully, with the Supreme Court decriminalising homosexuality, people, especially parents will become more accepting of their LGBTQ kids.



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