Parents’ reactions can be very different when they discover or find out that their son is gay. Some parents can be supportive, others need time to adjust, and the small minority can be outraged. If you find yourself in the position of knowing that your son is gay, the important thing is to remember that your son is still your son, and his sexual orientation is what it is. Just as people can not decide to be short or tall, they can not decide to be straight or gay: they are what they are and what Mother Nature made them!
You are not alone
It can be a confusing time for a parent, especially if the news was completely unexpected. The question ‘My son is gay’, what now? – is often asked. It may at first be difficult to come to terms with, and you will have many conflicting thoughts going around in your head. Certainly, speaking with other people will help, although initially you might prefer to talk to a counsellor.
Some parents may find that their moral or religious beliefs are challenged when they discover that their son is gay. If this has happened to you, try to keep in mind that you are not alone in your situation. Many thousands of people have been in a similar situation before, and many thousands will be again in the future. You may very well go through a period of soul searching as you try to reconcile the differences that have been thrown up. During this time, though, it is important that the love for your son does not change: he is as he ever was, it is you that is changing!
The key thing that any parent must do when they know that their son is gay, is to accept the situation. Living in denial of it, ignoring it or somehow hoping he will ‘go straight’ is completely the wrong thing, and will simply build up problems later on. Once you have accepted the fact that he is gay, things become a lot easier! It may be that you will need to learn about the gay community in order to better understand what is going on. You can do this by visiting some of the numerous websites online, joining support groups, and again, talking to a counsellor.
Even when you have come to terms with the fact that your son is gay, and have learned a little more about what it means to be gay, you may still have some questions, concerns, doubts and issues. Don’t worry! This is only natural. After all, you are a parent who is concerned for the well being of their son!
Who to tell
Another difficult hurdle for parents who discover that their son is gay to overcome is if or how they should tell other members of the family or friends. Some parents may feel embarrassed, whilst others may feel proud. In the process of telling other people, you might come up against a prejudice that you once held for example, and may become unsure on how to deal with it. The best thing to do, is ask your son if he minds that other people are told as he may decide that he wants it kept within a reasonably closed family circle for a while or away from certain individuals.
My son has a boyfriend
Knowing that your son is gay may be one thing, but discovering that he has a partner may be quite another. Again, another period of adjustment may be needed on your part, as you get used to the fact that he is seeing someone else. Remember that gay couples want the same love, security and companionship from a relationship that straight couples do, and if the relationship becomes long term, the partner will be the equivalent of an in-law.
Talking to someone
If you have recently learned that your son is gay, try to be as supportive as possible. Your son will most probably be very worried what your reaction might be, and if he has told you himself, it would not have been a spur of the moment thing, but more an accumulation of weeks and months of thought and anxiety. If you feel that you have any issues that you would like to talk through with somebody that is impartial and open-minded, then seeing a counsellor is by far the best option.