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Daughter (9) Outed Herself and Her Friend at School

Discussion in 'For Parents and Family Members of LGBT People' started by MidwestDad, Sep 13, 2018 at 12:09 PM.

  1. MidwestDad

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    Yesterday in picking up my daughter from an after school program, I noticed she was embarrassed and upset with another child. He had apologized to her on our way out, but she was kind of fleeing toward the car ASAP, almost slamming the door closed on her brother's hand in the process. I normally give her space when she doesn't want to talk, but in the past year she's had some other social hurdles she has stonewalled us on that she made more difficult for herself. I was concerned this might be one of those things, and she was clearly upset enough to nearly hurt her little brother, so I got her to talk when we got home.

    She has become very close to another girl in her class over the past year. This is strictly in school and in their after school programs, so unfortunately, I don't know her or her family as well as I would like. The two of them were talking privately and another kid (a boy roughly their age) kept coming over to snoop and refused to leave them to their conversation. Eventually she blurted out that she and her friend were gay and in love and trying to have a private conversation. Teasing ensued. The other girl seems to feel the same way. There was no animosity between the two of them and they went back to their conversation after a few minutes. It took me by surprise because we had no idea she might be feeling this way. At a younger age (4-5) she had a crush on a little boy. Her friends are almost all girls.

    She has conversations re: sex with both my wife (her mother) and I. Her school is also fairly liberal with respect to sex ed and her school has kids who are openly homosexual and one TG student. I told her that I'll love her all the same no matter who she loves or if she's homosexual, heterosexual or something else. We can talk about any of this whenever she wants to talk about it, and if she has questions or problems, she can always come to us to talk. That's the easy part for my wife and I because that's how we've always felt about this.

    The hard part: trying to convey to her that she needs to consider her long term comfort/needs and those of her friend vs. maybe being a bit impulsive in disclosing something she now regrets in a moment of frustration. My daughter can be a bit of an "oversharer" in a wide range of subjects. This other girl didn't get a say in this matter and she needs to respect those feelings. A source of this concern is the religious affiliation of the girl's family. It is a small, extremely conservative affiliation most people wouldn't recognize. I practice, I have no idea of their attitudes on these things. Some FB sleuthing and our brief interactions suggests they aren't, but I'm fearful a can of worms could be opened that the other girl may not be comfortable opening.

    I have no idea how to handle that, but for now, I'm hanging back...asking my daughter how she and her friend are doing and trying to pick up any clues if there is tension from yesterday's incident. I'm open to suggestions here.

    The other thing I mentioned (and please tell me if this is wrong/not helpful), is not to be so quick to label yourself. You say you're gay and I believe you. The only one who knows is you. And many adults who are gay have known they were gay even younger than you are. But for some people, it can be confusing. Especially since you are just now entering puberty. Girls can like boys and girls can like girls and girls can like both and girls can feel on the inside that they are boys who like girls, boys or both....or no one at all. And sometimes this changes over time or even depending upon the person for whom you have these feelings. You have time to figure out how you feel about things and you have time to figure out how to share how you feel about different things. Maybe you've already figured it out, but either way, just go have fun and "do life". Come to us with your feelings any time. Take time to learn how to figure out how to express your feelings to others. That takes practice no matter who you have feelings for. But please respect the person you have these feelings for too. Give some thought as to how you want to share who you are with other people. How you feel is no source of shame or embarrassment. Don't ever betray who you are. But remember: sometimes how you share things with people...and this applies to all things...can make the difference between feeling good or bad about it after the fact.

    Any advice would be gladly received. Thanks all.
     
  2. DecentOne

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    I get what you are trying to say, but these undermine the "I believe you" and other positive statements. It isn't like choosing a career option. Even if she later decides to change her label, it doesn't help in this moment to undermine the "I believe you" statement she needs to hear from you.
     
  3. AudryLeigh

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    Hey MidwestDad,

    All in all, you sound like a very good parent to me (I have two children and two grandchildren). I agree with @DecentOne, but think he is being a little hard on you. What you said to your daughter is correct, but shouldn't come in the context of "I believe you," "I support you," etc. There's support, which kids desperately need, but then there's education (which is the category the things DecentOne mentioned are in). She does need to hear all this, but love and support need to come first, and be pure and uncluttered by other things. I wish all kid's parents were as open minded and supportive as you (and I assume your wife) are.

    Hugs,
    Audry Leigh
     
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  4. DirectionNorth

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    First, I want to say it's great she has accepting parents, thank you for that.

    Second, I agree with both of the above. Although, I think the changing later in life or not really knowing this young should be left out. Everything else, especially the oversharing and taking other people's feelings into consideration is very important for a myriad of reasons. That should definitely be addressed because, even if she was older, there are people who might not be out and sometimes have legitimate fears and reasons for not coming out/not being ready, etc, which needs to be respected. Although, I don't have advice on how exactly would be best to talk about that, you are right it should be addressed. And, of course in a way she could understand and doesn't scare her, or maybe later sometime, there is prejudice out there and some people who can get dangerous once they hear someone's gay. That would be a really difficult thing to address, especially at this age, and without scaring her, but is another reason she shouldn't overshare just yet until she can get a better feel of people and learn social tricks to feel out if a person would likely be an ally or not, which comes with age and maturity. Kind of like, at a certain age, it's important to teach kids just don't talk to strangers. Then later on when they're older, they can learn it's okay to talk about the weather with someone on the bus or elevator and can get a more refined feel for if that's someone they can talk to or that person doesn't feel safe and keep their distance, etc. Learning about who is safe to come out to or not is kind of similar in that regard, and sounds incredibly tricky to teach someone that young.

    I'm sorry I don't have more solid advice, but I hope others can step in with better ways of wording what I said.

    Best wishes!