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My teenage son just came out and I'm in complete shock.

Discussion in 'For Parents and Family Members of LGBT People' started by WayConfusedMom, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. WayConfusedMom

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    I did not expect this at all. He's 16 has had girlfriends, even told me he was straight at age 8 or 9. I've raised him UU, so he's been to OWL - very sex positive, gay & trans positive sex ed. There's nothing stereotypically gay about him at all. He doesn't care about clothes, his room is a mess, he's seriously into sports, always did "boy" things as a young child etc. I would have been fine if he wasn't a "typical" boy, but it's why I never once suspected. And now I feel like a terrible mother for not knowing my child as well as I thought I did.

    He doesn't want me to talk to anyone. That includes my husband, and probably this forum but I really need to process. My husband will have a hard time with this, but he loves his son and will accept it. He probably will blame me because our son is an only child and he and I are very close and I breastfed him for 2.5 years which he had problems with. (Yes, I know that has nothing to do with it) He will be angry with me when he finds out I've known this for a long time if our son doesn't tell him. Since he's not in a relationship I'm fine about not saying anything to my husband. This came about because he spends a lot of time with his best friend who is a girl and we were concerned that they were having sex and wanted to be sure nobody got pregnant. Guess that's no longer a concern, lol. (Although one of the first things I said was that I still want grandchildren.)
    Sorry this is so rambling. Thanks for reading.
     
  2. Creativemind

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    Hello! Welcome.

    I can understand that this must be a complete shock for you, so take as much time as you need to process.

    A lot of gay people don't know they are gay until later and can go through a "straight phase". Even I went through a phase like that, so it came as a shock to my parents.

    Some gay men are masculine and can pass as straight, which can also be surprising when you realize the truth.

    Sounds like you're doing everything right so far. It's good you haven't planned on telling your husband without your son's knowledge yet, but he'll have to know the truth eventually. I hope your son can eventually go to him and he will be backed up :slight_smile:
     
  3. Gunsmoke

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    I think you're acting well under the circumstances! I doubt your son would mind you coming here too much, after all, it's not as if any of us know you or him personally.

    Seeing as he hasn't told his Dad, I think that one of the most useful things you can do is to offer him as much emotional support as you can. (Although if your son is anything like my brother, who is also a teenage boy, he might feel a bit awkward talking to you about it: but as long as he knows you're there, that's the main thing.)

    Good luck!

    ---------- Post added 2nd Jan 2017 at 04:57 PM ----------

    Also - you needn't feel bad about not realising he is gay. Some people hide it very well, and some LGBTQ+ people fit so few stereotypes that they automatically pass as straight to everyone. My mother knows me pretty well, and I trust her above anyone else, but she still sounded pretty surprised when I came out to her.
     
  4. WayConfusedMom

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    Thanks.

    Yes he is most definitely straight acting. I thought I was doing such a great job raising a cis straight white man to smash the patriarchy, lol. He is a wonderful kid - I've always called him my "lake woebegone kid" because that's where all the children are above average. He's reasonably well adjusted, gets good grades, doesn't do drugs. We are very lucky, and if this is the biggest issue we have to deal with, I know my husband will see that eventually.

    I'm rationalizing that right now there really isn't anything to tell, since there's no dating on the horizon. I doubt my husband will see it that way when the time comes, at least at first. And I still have the same attitude about him being sexually active right now - I don't think he's ready, but when he does I want him to be with someone he cares about and respects. I
     
  5. Lynz

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    Hi!

    Welcome to our forum!

    Thank you for coming here, to learn for you and for your son. We are here for you!

    I would agree with Creativemind in that the gay stereotypes do not work in telling if someone is gay. I am very girly. Love hair, make-up, nails, clothes, girl-talk.... but I have always been attracted to women. But I didn't admit it / come out until I had accepted myself and believed I was safe to do so. I would consider 16 to be early in the processing stage for a teen. I am so happy he has you to support him. With this support and with time, he will accept himself and bit by bit tell people when HE feels ready. It is vital, very very important that you respect this.

    But, you are absolutely right that you need to talk about it and process it too. Please feel free to ask us any questioms and share any worries. We will do our best to help you understand what your son is going through. We also have (lovely and awesome) experienced parents here too!

    Please (for your husband and for you) try to understand that a child being gay is NOONE'S fault. We are born gay. And there is nothing wrong about it.

    Keep talking!

    Hugs!
     
  6. Quantumreality

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    Hey WayConfusedMom,

    I know you are very confused right now and still trying to process what your son told you. First, take it as a great sign of trust that he Came Out to you.

    A couple of things, though. Respect what he told you. It took a LOT of courage to open up and be so vulnerable when he told you that very personal and private information. DO NOT violate his trust. RESPECT his privacy and don’t tell your husband or anyone else until/unless he tells you that it is o.k. to do so. (You can certainly encourage him to Come Out to his Dad or anyone else that you think really should know, but you can’t violate that trust nor forcibly Out him, unless you want to risk seriously poisoning your relationship with him.)

    This is obviously new to you and it’s going to take time for you to process what this means. You have to remember that this is about him, not about you. If you start phrasing things in terms of your worries, such as how your other family might react, the fact that he won’t have a conventional family, etc, those are YOUR worries, not necessarily his. You can express your concerns for his welfare and well-being, of course.
    I strongly recommend that you check out the Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) website:

    PLAG

    You can find a local PFLAG chapter through this website. They host support groups for parents of LGBTQ children. You might want to look into that. If not, you can call their local chapter to ask questions or address concerns related to your son’s sexuality.

    Also, there is a wonderful pamphlet on the PFLAG website called “Our Children” which I recommend that you download and read. It can answer many of your initial questions and help you order your thoughts.

    Our Children

    And, of course, you can continue to talk to us here on EC. We are more than happy to talk to and help educate caring parents of LGBTQ kids!:slight_smile:

    ---------- Post added 2nd Jan 2017 at 08:19 PM ----------

    Uhhh... In that respect, I'd like to say two things. First, are you SURE there is no dating on the horizon? Now that he's Out to you ... Just saying.

    Second, in terms of sexual activity, you can't really control that. You can only do your best to make sure he is knowledgeable about being safe and well prepared.

    (I'm going to be very explicit now. I hope you aren't too shocked.)

    To that end, you can make sure that he has condoms and, if he wants to experiment anally, you should help him buy a dildo or two so that he can safely do so. (I know of one guy who experimented anally with household items and his mom caught him. She made him go to the doctor for a checkup and bought him a dildo and condoms to make sure he was safe. He was physically o.k. from the checkup, but totally embarrassed that his mom was that involved in his sexual exploration. Regardless, in the longrun, he was grateful to her.)

    ---------- Post added 2nd Jan 2017 at 08:23 PM ----------

    In terms of health and safe sex, there are multiple resources available, including many right here on EC such as:

    Health Information

    and

    Sexually Transmitted Diseases
     
  7. WayConfusedMom

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    I'm as sure as I can be that there isn't someone - he spends most of his time either with his quiz bowl team or his female best friend. He's had the safe sex class and his dad has offered to buy condoms, thinking he is having sex with this girl. The dildo thing would cross way too many boundaries. I will encourage him to talk to his doctor about sexual health concerns at his next visit, though.
     
  8. Creativemind

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    Yeah, I'd agree with you in all honesty. It's very important that he knows that he shouldn't use household items as they are dangerous and that you talk to him about safe sex (although from what you said, he seems to already know about it). If he wants a dildo he could find a way to buy it discreetly if he had the money, though I'm sure it would help to know his parents aren't against it. I would be horrified if my parents tried to buy me a dildo though, especially if they didn't ask me. I would have been upset with them, especially since I don't like using toys. He may or may not be the same (he could be an exclusive top, although It's rare), but even if he wants to use one, he should get it himself.
     
  9. Quantumreality

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    Cool.

    But I would point out that most conventional sex classes focus almost exclusively on reproduction, prevention of unwanted pregnancy and, usually, to some degree on STDs. They DON'T talk about safe gay sex.

    Understandably you are reluctant to talk to him about that and he almost certainly doesn't want to discuss it with you, but you can point him to resources. At a minimum, you could print a hard copy from the resources that I linked for you and hand them to him to read.

    I also understand your reluctance to buy him a dildo or even discuss that with him. It's a very uncomfortable subject for both of you. All I am saying is that it may be an important one for his own health. A lot of guys experiment with household items that can lead to injuries and other health problems - I can be much more explicit about this, if you like.

    And, to be clear, I wasn't suggesting that you buy him a dildo, I was suggesting that you should assist him to make it possible to buy one if he wants to explore anally - in consideration of his own health and safety.

    Just saying....
     
    #9 Quantumreality, Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
  10. WayConfusedMom

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    This is the Unitarian Universalist Our Whole Lives program. It's not school sex ed which is abysmal. OWL is very sex positive, gay and trans positive. They talk about healthy and unhealthy behaviors vs what's "good" and what's "bad." I had to go sit in a room with my middle aged friends and look at detailed line drawings of genitalia and very unsexy drawings of all manners of couples having sex, lol. It's very comprehensive.

    I wouldn't have asked him the details of his sexual behavior with girls, other than being safe and avoiding pregnancy. I'm not going to treat him any differently now.
     
  11. Quantumreality

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    Excellent, then, WayConfusedMom! It sounds like that aspect is well covered.

    So, what concerns, if any do you still have?
     
  12. WayConfusedMom

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    Right now? Having to keep it a secret, especially from my husband. He's going to have a hard time giving up his vision of his son, and he was raised in a family where appearances are everything. So it will take him time, and I'm afraid if i know for a long time before he does, he will feel like I betrayed him by keeping this secret. I'm rationalizing by saying that when the confidence on the level of thoughts and feelings and not hiding a relationship I can justify it. But if my starts dating someone, I don't think I should keep it from my husband. I have to think about it more.

    Otherwise most of the people in my life will be fine, and those that aren't can go f themselves.
     
  13. Lynz

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    Hello,

    When / if the time comes that your husband is angry / upset by you not telling him, show him this:

    * Coming out to anyone, especially a parent, is a BIG deal to a lgbt. It is terrifying and takes a lot of courage. Your son telling you alone is a BIG deal. Telling his dad by the sounds of it will be an even bigger deal.
    * You NOT telling ANYONE your son's secret before he is ready for you to is so important. Your son needs to be ready. In his time. You not telling is good for your son. It is not a betrayal. It is for your son's good. It must be your son to tell him. Noone else.

    I LOVE your opinion towards other people if they aren't ok with it!

    If I may ask - why do you think it is important to tell your husband immediately if your son starts dating?

    ---------- Post added 3rd Jan 2017 at 03:06 AM ----------

    Also - what is more important to you and to your husband - your son's happiness, or people's opinions of your family's "appearance"?
     
  14. Quantumreality

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    As Lynz said, you should never forcibly Out your son to anyone.

    You can, however, encourage him to Come Out to his father - just not so strongly that it sounds anything like an ultimatum.
     
  15. WayConfusedMom

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    The reason I'm conflicted about when I would have to talk to my husband is because a) our son is still young enough that his relationships are our business and b) it's not great for a marriage to keep secrets. My husband will be fine eventually, but it will be harder for him than for me. I bet that's true for most straight dads of gay sons, especially our age (were both 53).

    I've had less than 12 hours to think about this. I had absolutely no clue. No decisions have to be made tonight.

    My son and I had a good talk. Under no circumstances am I to discuss gay sex with him, lol. Or hot men. He doesn't want anything to change.
     
  16. Lynz

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    Hello, thanks for explaining :slight_smile:

    I'm not a parent so I guess I didn't think about the way you see the importance/priority of things with your son and husband. The reason I am a member of this forum is because my parents disowned me at just a few years older than your son is now - I am here to learn about parents' experiences and feelings, and try to help others, including parents like yourself :slight_smile:

    I do agree that you need to protect your son with his first relationships. My thoughts were that you may stop him from having relationships with men - all I want to convey is that it is important that you treat his relationships with men as you do and would have done if it is / had been with women. Guide him, dont stop him. But again, I'm not a parent, so not sure how haha. I would say look out for the parents replying here with their thoughts and experiences. I imagine tgboymom will be on soon. She is AWESOME.

    I am married (one year to my WIFE heehee) so I completely agree that you should be open with your husband. Even attempting to keep a secret from my wife makes me feel physically sick and never lasts! But again, outing a gay teen before he/she is ready is really not good. Believe me, from experience, I can tell you it causes lasting damage to us. Please trust me when I say it needs to be your son to tell when he is ready. I believe, from reading your posts, that you are a good, kind person, so I believe your husband is too. So I believe, when explained to, your husband will understand why u could not share your son's secret with him. Just my thoughts though. Aaaaarrr it is horrible. Huggsssss. I would definitely agree with encouraging your son to tell his dad. Maybe even talk to your husband hypothetically about gay teens so you can gauge his response and teach him how he needs to supportive from word go, and not bounce the negatives off your son. Again, just some thoughts.

    Also, you are completely right that 12 hours is nothing, no time at all, for you to even start to come to terms with this. I say get back to basics. Break it down. Baby steps. Breathe. Talk to us. Rest. Chat to your son, ask a couple of questions. Rest again. Give your son a cuddle. Rest again. Forget the sex stuff and the relationship stuff just now.

    Lol at the "hot men"! That will come eventually when he is fully comfortable with himself :slight_smile:

    Anyway, more hugs for you. Keep talking!!
     
  17. Stride

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    I would persuade your son to come out to his dad.

    Why hasnt he already come out to his dad, anyway? What are his fears there?

    ---------- Post added 3rd Jan 2017 at 07:41 AM ----------

    If his dad reacts positively then it can only be good news as then your son can 100% be himself at home, right?
     
  18. Chip

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    Hi, and welcome to EC. I'm glad that you are here and posting, and that you have such a supportive attitude even as it must be a pretty major shock for you. Your son is extraordinarily lucky to have you.

    You've gotten some generally great input so far. Here are my thoughts:

    -- I definitely wouldn't talk to him about, or buy him any sex toys. I agree with you (OP) that doing such a thing would be way over the line and grossly inappropriate. If he's in need of sex toys, he'll probably find a way to get them. What you could do is give him some money or an Amazon gift card or something and tell him that it's for any "supplies or books or anything like that" and then leave it to him if he wants to take the hint.

    As far as telling his dad... I completely see the conundrum you're in. It's a very common one that we hear a lot at EC. I don't think there's a perfect answer. I don't like or agree with the idea of strongly encouraging him. What you might do is simply explain the situation you're in, and why it makes you uncomfortable, and basically invite him to think about how he'd feel if the roles were reversed... your husband had told you something that impacted him, but didn't want him to know. (Yes, I know it isn't exactly the same, but my hope is he'd be able to see the similarities.) And you could explore what his worst fears are about telling his dad, and reassure him, while also reassuring him that you are OK waiting... but that you don't want it to be indefinite.

    You can also point him here (and we can anonymize or remove this thread if needed). He'll get a lot of good information and the opportunity to share any concerns he has or get any information.

    As for you... it's worth knowing that Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's stages of loss apply here (the loss being perception that he is straight). The stages are denial-anger-bargaining-grief-acceptance, and take anywhere from hours to months to fully process. It sounds like you're already pretty far down the line... though it definitely sounds like there's still some bargaining going on (which I'd totally expect.)

    For what it's worth, the stereotypes everyone has about gay men are, as you've discovered, not always as advertised. While many of us may have some or most of those attributes, there are plenty of us that share absolutely none of them. So as far as thinking you're a lousy parent for not having picked it up... even those of us with great "gaydar" miss from time to time. As a parent, I can see why what his behavior and interests, as you describe them, would have it nowhere on your radar. That's not uncommon; many parents are totally shocked.

    Finally, it's worth saying: You're doing an awesome job, and many EC members would be thrilled to have a parent as supportive and understanding as you are. Keep it up, and I hope you'll stick around, as the insight from parents like yourself is really valuable and helpful to others.
     
  19. Quantumreality

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    I agree with Chip's recommendation that you sit down and with your son and explain why it is important to you for him to Come Out to your husband. You should do this carefully because you don't want to make him feel like you are backing him into a corner nor forcing him to do something he doesn't want to do. Remember, in the end, this is all about him, not about you, so try very hard not to let him get the impression that your needs trump his. Also, continue to reassure him that you will keep your promise that you will keep his secret.

    This will definitely take time for you to process and you will probably go through the stages of loss that Chip described. Did you get a chance to read or at least glance at the Our Children pamphlet that I recommended?
     
  20. CROSSY ROAD

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    Hi, love, and welcome to the LGBT+ community!

    Like everyone is saying, gay stereotypes are just that: stereotypes. They aren't always true. Please just embrace him, it is really, REALLY hard to come out. Be proud that he did! A lot of gay people don't come out until they move out of the house. Keep his wish and wait until he comes out to his father. It is a wish I wished my mom gave me.