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A relative outed my son and I’m pissed!

Discussion in 'For Parents and Family Members of LGBT People' started by Johanna, Jul 1, 2018.

  1. Johanna

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    I don’t know what to do. My 14 year old son is my world. He is crazy smart, kind and the best person I know. Ever since he was little I’ve always felt that he might be gay, but I decided to let him find his way and tell me when he felt like he wanted to. The other night his cousin (who he hasn’t seen in years) came to town and while they were talking she decided to ask him if he was gay. She’s 20 and extremely immature and seeks attention from everyone around her. He told her he thought he was gay and shared several other private details with her about his experiences so far and how he is feeling about everything. The reason I know all of this is she came and told me everything he said right after he told her. I’m pretty sure she pressured him into telling her, and I know he had asked her to keep it to herself. I’m so pissed that she did this and then shared his deepest secrets with me. This was such a big deal to me and I wanted him to come out to me when he was ready. I don’t think he knows that I know his secret and it’s making me feel so uncomfortable knowing this and not being able to talk with him about it. We are extremely close, so I know if he was ready to tell me he would have. What should I do?
     
  2. BMC77

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    I'm thinking that the best thing you can do is pretend you never heard anything from that cousin. As you said, I think he would have told you if he was ready for you to know. Although I realize this isn't easy for you. (Then, by all accounts, being a mother isn't an easy job at times!)

    You indicated you suspected he might be gay. So this is probably no huge surprise. You might consider this conversation with the cousin to be just another piece of evidence to suggest he's gay. (And, from what I read above, it sounds like he might not be certain, yet. At least, that's the feeling I get from "he thought he was gay".)

    Try to stop the cousin from telling anyone else. Try to make it clear that it's his personal business.

    I'm assuming you are OK with your son being gay. If so, you might make that clear to him, without revealing the fact that you know anything (or even strongly suspect). He'd probably feel a lot more comfortable coming out to you if he knows you are OK with gay people, and wouldn't care if he turned out to be gay.
     
  3. Johanna

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    Thank you.
     
  4. quebec

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    Johanna.....I agree totally with everything that @BMC77 said. I would like to emphasize that you talk to the cousin and make sure that she understands how bad it is to out someone...especially a young person. I hope that you can impress on her that she absolutely must not tell anyone else. You are being such a great mother to care for your son in a difficult time for him...and for you. I truly wish you had been my mother.
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
  5. Naters2000

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    Hey Johanna, I'm from Colorado too!!! But let me introduce myself, I'm Nate, I'm 14, and I'm gay!

    First of all, thanks for being such a caring mother. I really wish mine was as accepting as you.

    As for the advice, I think you should confront the selfish cousin and let her know that what she did was incredibly insensitive and irresponsible. Like the others have said, I think you should also demand of her not to tell anyone else. For your son, I think you should keep this whole episode to yourself until he's ready to come out. When he comes out to you, give it some time, then you could tell him about this event, but add in something like "I will always be there for you" or "You can always count on me to support you".

    Chiefly, not many moms are as accepting as you are. Thanks for coming to empty closets too!

    -Nate
     
  6. PotatoPotato

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    It might be very contradictory to what some others have said here, I agree with Naters that it could be an idea to confront the cousin, but I think it could, given what you say about your son, be better if he confronts the cousin, which means you'd have to tell him. Learning to be able to confront situations like this is a pretty vital thing in life, it might just be a good oppertunity to get first hand experience with that as well, but if you do that, do be carefull with how you handle telling and talking to your son about it. - and to after that happened talk to the cousin yourself. There's another reason why this could be a better idea, given the type of person the cousin seems to be from your story and my experiences with such people, if you confront her first, it might backfire and she'll start bugging your son about the fact she told her mom, causing him to discover that way as well and start a huge fight. (Which has happened to me twice now in similar situations.)
     
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  7. Biguyjosh

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    I'd definitely tell his cousin to keep her mouth shut. Let her know that he trusted her with very personal and private information and she needs to not ruin his trust. Hopefully she will not tell others.
    Whether you should tell him or not is a hard decisions. I can see positive and negative aspects to telling or not.
    I think it might be best not to say anything to him yet as he might've told her things that he wouldn't tell you, especially about his experiences.
     
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  8. Calf

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    I don't think it's been asked already here so, have you considered that your son may have orchestrated this situation in a way to make sure you find out without him telling you?
    Coming out is hard and for many people they need the other person to instigate the conversation. That's usually the basis for "coming out tips and tricks" given here and in other sources. Although it may feel like a strange thing to do, it does make sense to persuade the cousin to encourage you to ask him yourself.

    I assume that you're an open and accepting parent but none of us should assume that your son knows that. Teenage brains and social skills are not 100% compatible with the parent equivalent (there's plenty of science/studies to support this) so even if you have done everything you can to make him feel comfortable with his sexuality, it may just be that he hasn't really understood the message.

    Whether you decide to approach it with him or not has to be your own decision based on what feels right for the two of you but I will offer a little advice for when and however it does come up.
    Choose your words carefully - especially as you are now less likely to be caught by surprise. For example, if you ask him and he denies it, you may want to say something to show support. In this case try say something like "whatever makes you happy, is what is important" rather than "if you are gay, I'm OK with that". The point is to make it about him, not you, and a focus on happiness and love. Try to avoid phrases that offer your permission or refer to sexuality as a choice or lifestyle.
    It isn't always as easy as that in the moment and it's not a conversation you can rehearse but by nobody has to be perfect. If afterwords you realise you could have phrased something better, just explain to him and say it again. Trust me, a few poorly chosen and overlooked words can stick with a person for a very long time.

    In the meantime, keep popping back here for opinions throughout your journey and it will likely all work out fine.
     
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  9. redghost

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    Everyone else has already said good stuff, but I have a few points.

    The Cousin: definitely don the Mama Bear cape and shame her into silence.

    The Son: sending him clear messages that if he came out, he'd be accepted and loved, is SO important. It could be as simple as sharing beautiful same-sex wedding photos with him and saying "Isn't this such a neat idea???" or cheering if two lgbtq characters interact in a tv show or a movie.

    Update us! Hope everything went well.