A Problem Shared: Son Coming Out By Text

A Problem Shared Parenting & Family Advice | by | 20th Apr 2018

Coming out by text for APS

A mother and father are struggling with their child coming out to them by text. They’ve asked FamilyPoint for advice on how to move forward.

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Dear FamilyPoint,

My 21 year old told me via a text message that he’s gay and I’m devastated. Whilst I want him to lead a happy life I just feel all the hopes and dreams that I had for him have been shattered. Where do my husband and me go from here?

FamilyPoint’s Advice

I’m sorry to hear that you feel disappointed by the news of your son being gay. I can imagine hearing via text must have been very difficult for you. I can sense that you’re saddened by what he’s shared with you both. He may have felt that this was the only way he could let you know about it.

Being brave

It might be important at this time to bear in mind how brave he is by opening up to you. It’s clear that he respects and trusts you both, and would like for you to somehow accept his situation. Although you may not be happy, try and be proud of the fact that he has been honest with you. Appreciate the fact that he has told you who he really is in the hope that you will accept him.

Hopes and dreams

Although you had hopes and dreams for your son, remember that it’s his hopes and dreams that are central to his happiness in life. It is positive to know that society is a lot more accepting today, socially and legally. There are a lot more opportunities for young gay people to live the lives that they want, including having a family and getting married. In fact, according to the charity Stonewall one of the hardest things for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) people to face in today’s society is rejection from their friends and family.

Where do you go from here?

His admission may have troubled you because it doesn’t fit in with what you had hoped for him. But bear in mind that he has made an attempt to tell you who he really is, and this is unlikely to change. You asked, “Where can we go from here?” His sexuality is unlikely to change, so your path moving forward will depend on the relationship you want with him. To continue to have a good relationship with him you need to try and  live with his admission. You need to accept him for who he is. This is likely to be a big part of his identity. If your hopes and dreams were for your son to be happy, trying to understand and accept this part of his life will play a big part in his happiness.

Talking is good

Talking is likely to be therapeutic for you and for him. It will be a good starting point to help you understand his perspective on things and how he is feeling. Most importantly, by talking to your son you will get an understanding of what he wants from his life. It might not be easy to do this to begin with. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions, but try not to be judgmental. This might feel difficult at the moment, particularly when you are feeling so distressed about the news.

Advice for you

It’s okay if you feel you need to speak to someone to get the worries off your chest too. Why not try a helpline such as the Stonewall information and support line on 08000 502020. The charity works hard to promote the rights of the LGBT community. They have some great resources on their website for advice, guidance and to answer some of the questions you may have.

Although I can appreciate this is a very difficult time for you both as parents, it is important that you recognise that this is potentially a really scary time for your son too. You may have been the first people he has told, or he may have been building up to telling you for a long time. The way that you react to this news now could impact on your relationship with him in the future.

Advice for him

A good way for you to react is to be proactive in providing support and guidance without judgement. Stonewall stress the importance of parents in providing their children with the tools and information that they need to make good choices in the future.

Stonewall have a Coming Out As A Young Person Section that may be useful for you to tell your son about. They have also written a Coming Out Guide for young people. The Stonewall website is a great resource for the whole family to get advice and support.

If you don’t feel you can talk to him about this right now, then make sure he knows where he can talk to someone safely. Tell him about the LGBT Cymru helpline.

It’s important to talk about your worries and concerns. You have done the right thing reaching out to talk to someone about this. There is a lot of information out there for you as a family and you can move forward positively, in support of your son’s sexuality, if this is what you choose to do.

Take Care

The FamilyPoint Team

FamilyPoint Helpline

If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via phone 0300 222 57 57, text 07860 052 905, or IM/Chat. We are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.

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