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Old 11th Jan 2017, 09:27 PM   #1
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Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

My wife and I really don't have any problem with this at all. All we want is for him to be successful and happy but I am freaked out. He has never been on a date before so how would he know? He had mad sexting with a female a year ago where his Mom and I thought we maybe had to step in but it didn't happen. Is he really gay or is he discovering what he really is? He is VERY cerebral and wants to be a Network Administrator.

BTW, he was nervous, but very comfortable telling us he thinks he is gay. I was blown by his confidence, honored by his trust in his parents, and supportive.

Please tell me what I should do. I feel I should just drop it and let it take its course.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 09:50 PM   #2
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Re: Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

Hi there!

First of all, thanks for being supportive; trust me, even if it comes naturally to you, I'm sure it means everything to your son. It means the world, really.

As far as being confused with past experiences with girls, I did the same thing. I tried dating girls for a long time (even into college), so my parents only knew about those experiences when I came out. But basically, once I was honest with myself about being gay, within a week or two, I could tell it was right, even before I started dating men. To put it briefly: based on how I had felt my whole life since puberty, it made sense, and it also felt right.

So yeah, I think you're right! Whether he's gay or just figuring out what he is, either way, you should let him have the space to discover what he really is. All of us in the LGBT+ community come to understanding in our own ways, and that sometimes takes time. But like I said before, truly, family support is so incredibly helpful, so being there for him is perhaps the best thing you can do.

Hope this helps! Much love!
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 09:54 PM   #3
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Re: Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

If your son says he's gay, trust him on that. I'd bet anything that this is something he's wrestled with for a long time and it probably took him a huge amount of effort to convince himself to tell you, as evidenced by how nervous you said he was.

I don't think you have to do much, just make sure he knows beyond all doubt that it doesn't bother you and that you still love him just the same as always. I don't think you need to push him to talk about it further, but let it be known that he doesn't have to be uncomfortable about it and that your door is always open if he wants to discuss.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 11:06 PM   #4
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Re: Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

Do you ask someone out because they're attractive or ask someone out and then become attracted to them?
If he says he's gay, he knows

Other than that, thumbs up for being a supportive parent even if you feel like you don't know what to do about it, you're doing the right thing for your son, trust me.
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Old 12th Jan 2017, 01:47 AM   #5
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Re: Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

Hey motleyorc,

Iíd like to reiterate what renard and RavenTheRat said: thank you for being such loving and supportive parents. And thank you for coming to EC to seek out information and advice.

We each come to an understanding and acceptance of our sexuality on our own timeline and in our own way. Often, it is hard for us to even imagine that we are not just heterosexual. Most of us go through the stages of loss (denial-anger-bargaining-depression-acceptance) on our journey to understand and accept our sexuality. Naturally, as parents, you will most likely experience some or all of those stages of loss now that your son has Come Out to you.

If he took the extraordinary step of Coming Out to you, trust that he KNOWS his own sexuality. Talking to parents about anything to do with sex is always hard, as Iím sure you know. You can only imagine how hard it is to tell your parents that you are not heterosexual. In that moment that we Come Out to anyone, we are telling them very personal and private information about ourselves and we are completely vulnerable. While waiting for a reaction from that person (or those people), we feel like we are being judged. And we can never know in advance exactly how someone will react to our Coming Out. Even if we are 99% certain that they will be accepting, the slight chance of rejection, especially from someone on whom we rely for love, support and/or friendship (our parents, our best friend(s), etc), can be overwhelming nerve-wracking because rejection would be devastating to our lives. With parents, we often feel that we are letting them down because we arenít straight and wonít necessarily live up to their expectations of having our own Ďnormalí family. Itís not true, of course, that we are letting anyone down Ė we just are who we are Ė but that is often one of the biggest burdens we create in our own minds.

As you mentioned, he clearly demonstrated how deeply he trusts you by Coming Out to you like that. Please honor that trust by respecting his confidence and privacy. His sexuality is his own personal information and you should not tell anyone else that information unless he specifically tells you that it is o.k.

Also, please remember that his sexuality is just a small part of who he is as a person. He is still the same son that you loved unconditionally before he Came Out to you. You just now know something much more personal and private about him that you didnít know before.

You and your wife are undoubtedly going to have questions. I would recommend that you educate yourselves about what it means to have a gay son. You can, of course, ask him, but, of course, since talking to parents about anything to do with sex is often hard, he may be reluctant to answer. You can also continue to interact with us here on EC. We are always thrilled to talk to parents who want to understand and support their LGBTQ children. Additionally, you can check out the Parents Families Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG)Parents Families Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG) website. You can find information there, such as the pamphlet "Our Children", which I highly recommend that you download and read. You might also want to find a local PFLAG chapter. They can help answer questions and usually organize support groups for parents of LGBTQ children.

I hope some of that helps.

Keep doing what you are doing. I wish you, your son and the rest of your family all the best!
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Old 12th Jan 2017, 01:48 AM   #6
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Re: Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

Hi and welcome!

First, it's really awesome that you responded as you did, and that you are reaching out here for help understanding the situation. So many people at EC would *love* to have parents as understanding and supportive as you are, and our job at EC would be a whole lot easier if all parents were as accepting as you are.

Second, one of the things I hear in your post is shock. And that's totally normal. If you're familiar with Kubler-Ross' stages of loss (in this case, loss of perception your son is straight), they apply here: denial-anger-bargaining-grief-acceptance. It can take minutes or months to go through them, but we all go through those stages in some way as we're processing any form of loss.

In this case, the wondering if he knows for sure without having dated is likely "bargaining", as in "OK, so I know he thinks he's gay, but maybe he isn't." As other posters have already said... this is something you can have a high degree of confidence in that if he's made the decision to tell you... he's certain. You (likely) didn't have to date a girl to know you were attracted to girls, and it's no different for gay people.

Also remember that he's doubtless been thinking about and dealing with this for months, perhaps longer. And he's been through the same 5 stages you are now going through. So give yourself (and your wife) permission to be freaked out, to take time to process the stages of loss, in particular to feel the anger and grief. That's a normal and healthy part of processing this.

As far as what to do next, that depends a lot on what the relationship with your son looks like. If your normal relationship is very open and communicative... then it can stay that way. If it's normally more reserved and he's not terribly communicative... then that, too, should probably stay. What you can do is ask him if there's anything that works to make him more comfortable.

The delicate line is how open he wants to be. It's hard for most teens to think about and talk about anything having to do with sex with their parents. Mortifying might be a better word. So most would sooner have as little conversation as possible, but at the same time, want to be able to be open about who they're attracted to, who they're considering dating or taking to the dance or whatever. So, really, it's sort of a matter of cultivating the same level of communication you would if your son was heterosexual.

One consideration, which is also delicate, and depends in part on how worldly and self-aware he is, is whether to discuss cyber safety. By this I mean not network security safety, but practical things like Skyping with other guys. Many teens engage in Skype or other video chats, which can get pretty sexual (masturbating with one another over webcam, to be precise.) This can be problematic in that there are a lot of creepers out there who prey on teens and secretly record video... or entice a kid to come over to their house. But it's again really difficult for most parents to have these sorts of conversations with their kids (for obvious reasons... sometimes it's hard to know who is more mortified with discussing the topic.) And that's where EC can come in... if your son wants to join here, then he can ask whatever questions he may have, read about the experiences of others his age, and hopefully gain good input. This is a heavily monitored and moderated community, with extraordinary safety precautions in place, so while not perfect, probably one of the safest places for a teen to hang out.

And... I hope you'll stick around as well. There are a good number of parents here and there's both lots of info to exchange with each other, and info to share with others and learn about.

Please feel free to share any other questions or concerns you may have.
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Old 12th Jan 2017, 08:26 AM   #7
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Re: Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

Thanks guys for all the support and advice. Your suggestions are very helpful. We will just let things play out on their own volition.

He is a Junior in HS and did mention one of the reasons he was telling us was to avoid us harping on him about who he was taking to the prom next year. He also mentioned that he was wrestling with this for the better part of a year.

I think his 14 year old sister is more freaked out than we are. Again, I was amazed at how matter of fact he was about the situation. His generation is much more accepting (of race and sexual orientation) than mine (I'll be 50 next month) or my parent's generations.
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Old 12th Jan 2017, 10:54 AM   #8
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Re: Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

You can know you are gay even if you never date or sleep with the same sex. It's just an internal feeling. I mean, how do you know that you only like girls if you haven't even tried dating or sleeping with guys? It's kind of like that logic.

The sexting with girls could have been an indicator that he wasn't into it.

Other than that, you're doing fine.
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Old 12th Jan 2017, 11:40 AM   #9
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Re: Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

You have received fantastic advice already in this thread, and I don't really have much to add here. Thank you for being supportive and loving to your son. This was incredibly difficult for him to do, despite how comfortable he seemed to be.

I knew I was gay by the time I was around 11 years old. I had a difficult time accepting it, and so it took me decades of time to accept my sexuality. So, please trust us when we suggest to you that he knows his sexuality.

Take care, and thanks again for being an awesome parent of a LGBT kid!
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Old 12th Jan 2017, 12:19 PM   #10
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Re: Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

Well the first important question motleyorc, is whom do you serve? The Red Eye or the White Hand? Haha you better "come out" on that one.

OK, enough fun, but really I think I speak for all the above posters when I say it makes our day to hear a good story. I can think of all the postings we've all read about just that topic: getting harassed about the Prom or some such. Good on your kid for fending that off.. and saying so directly.

I had to laugh (in a positive way) about the mad sexting episode. Good thing nobody freaked out about underage porn or anything. But maybe that story is a bit of evidence that sexting is a safer way to explore some things. Except for the opportunity for public humiliation...

Yeah his own calmness is a reflection of how much our society has come along. Thanks for brightening our day, but much more thanks for making his life a good one. Network Admins are in pretty high demand. I'm a programmer.. I used to understand that stuff but not any more. Hehe. The kids are taking over.
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Old 13th Jan 2017, 08:40 AM   #11
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Re: Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

Everyone has told you more than I can tell you (my son is Transgender so I don't have that experience).

I just want to say that it's so cool for your boy to have parents who are so cool! He's going to have a happy and successful life because of the two of you!!

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Old 13th Jan 2017, 11:42 AM   #12
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Re: Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

Originally Posted by RavenTheRat View Post
Do you ask someone out because they're attractive or ask someone out and then become attracted to them?
If he says he's gay, he knows

Other than that, thumbs up for being a supportive parent even if you feel like you don't know what to do about it, you're doing the right thing for your son, trust me.
This is true. I get all the time from people who don't know I'm trans that go "how can you know you're attracted to women if you haven't had sex with them?" And I respond "how can you be attracted to your opposite sex before you have sex with them?" Does that make sense? Sometimes I ramble. He knows he's gay. But kudos for being supportive.
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Old Yesterday, 08:15 AM   #13
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Re: Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

I will reiterate what everyone said and thank you for being such supportive, loving parents. Unfortunately, even in today's society, some parents really struggle with finding out their son or daughter is part of the LGBTQ+ community and some are even not supportive at all.

It actually seems like you are experiencing a very similar situation to my parents when I came out. At the time, when I did come out (at 20), I kissed one girl and never had a sexual experience with men. My parents were hesitant, but I guess we can say "supportive."

Their biggest question and a source of much confusion for them was: How do you know if you've never done anything with a guy?

This question always bothered me and I am not saying that as an attack on you. I would just advise you to not ask your son this question often (or maybe even at all) - my parents constantly asked me about it when being gay came up and I would get very upset and somewhat frustrated.

As RavenTheRat said, even if he never had a sexual experience with a guy, he can tell who he is attracted to. I spent all of middle school and high school gawking over guys while paying very little attention to girls. I hope this is not TMI, but growing up, I was watching gay porn and not straight porn. All I'm trying to say is, if your son had the courage to come to you about being gay (which you seem to understand takes a lot of courage), he knows.

I completely understand wondering if it is just a phase, I would just advise not questioning the validity of his feelings. And more so, I would say don't hold on to the hope "maybe he is bisexual."

Again, that probably sounds really weird and he could certainly turn out to be bisexual. However, when I did come out, my parents constantly asked, "And you're not bi?" I truly feel like that question is basically asking: "You're sure you won't end up with a girl?" as if that's what they are still "hoping" for.

I'm lucky my parents have been more supportive than others, but I still deal with jokes from my parents such as, "We were hoping ____________ (female friend) would seduce you." That may sound funny to them, but to me it is hurtful because it makes me feel like they still basically have not accepted me as gay.

You're going to make mistakes along the way - I mean all parents do. You may say some things that are perceived hurtful by your son even though that was your last intention. All I'm saying is your son certainly knows who he is and isn't attracted to. You seem to have a good relationship with him and I'm sure you want him to be open with you... just be careful with the way you phrase your questions.

Once again, thank you for being such supportive parents and even reaching out to the community on here. You simply coming on this website and asking for advice shows that you truly want whats best for your son and you want to be a support system for him. Best of luck with everything
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Old Yesterday, 03:42 PM   #14
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Re: Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

Hi Motleyorc

Just want to say that our son - who is also very cerebral - came out to us last year at age 14. I have posted an answer to another poster whose 14 year old has just come out, with advice - if you were seeking any - that I as a parent would give. You might find it helpful to look at that, if you wish.

Other than that, I'd just like to say, it can be a bit of a shock to learn your son is gay, particularly when you are blindsided and had no idea. There's nothing wrong with that. You will very quickly get used to the idea and then you will possibly start worrying about certain things (hence, look at that bit of advice I thought of for the other poster) and then it will all seem completely normal to you!

Siblings can have a hard time of it as they may worry about how it impacts on them. It may well impact on them. This is going to be a bit of a learning curve for your daughter and it's something to think about.

My other son who is 11 year old and isn't gay (so he says) has found it a little problematic - though he completely accepts and is proud of his older brother - because he already has had the 'that's so gay' at school (the general homophobic comment that a lot of children of that age say whilst not quite understanding why they're saying it) and got very upset about it knowing his brother was gay.

So it does affect siblings. Therefore, do include your daughter in some of your discussions about your son coming out and what it means to her.

All in all, though, everything is going to be good and fine, I promise. And hats off to your son for coming out to you so young and for you accepting him with so much love.

Do keep in touch.

Minny xx
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Old Today, 10:38 AM   #15
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Re: Son 16 Told Me Tonight He is gay

Your son sounds quite sure if he was thinking about this for a year. Try not to analyze past behaviors like the sexting with a girl. I assumed I was straight until all of a sudden I started having attractions to boys in middle school. There are plenty of stories of LGBT people who appear heterosexual/cisgender either by active choice or responding to their environment. Some even get married and have kids before they realize their actual sexuality, so it's great your son has come out so young. Also, people come out first to those who they trust, so you must have demonstrated tolerance and openness beforehand.

Keep his sister in the conversation because she may face some indirect homophobic pressure. It can be hard at first, but try to get around to treating your son's sexuality as a given, so that you raise him just like your daughter in terms of being safe and having self-confidence when getting into relationships. Maybe you could start harping on him asking a boy out for prom!
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