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If you’ve recently learned that your child is gay, you probably have a thousand questions running through your mind.

You may also be experiencing a wide range of intense emotions, including anger, confusion,worry, sorrow and guilt. Many parents of gay children experience some or all of these emotions. This is natural. After all, you’re probably thinking the life you envisioned for your child has just been turned upside down.Most parents experience these emotions because they don’t have the answers to the questions that are now raining down on them.This happens because many people don’t have a good understanding of homosexuality.

Unfortunately, homosexuality is a subject that is still not discussed openly in many parts of our society. As a result, misconceptions are strewn about everywhere.

You may find yourself in an emotional jungle at the moment. We, as fellow parents of gay and lesbian children, have found that the path out of the jungle is one of understanding. The journey on that path may take weeks or it may take years. The single most important thing we have learned is this: Although your life has undeniably changed, the further you venture toward understanding and acceptance of your gay child, the more you will realize that what now appears as dark and depressing, can turnout to be a uniquely positive experience that has the potential to bring you much closer to your child. This path is very much brighter than it seems.

Some common questions

Why is my child gay?

Science has not yet reached a completeunderstanding of what determines sexualorientation.

However, there is a general consensus that sexual orientation is likely determined before birth, or at a very young age.

Could I have done something different as a parent to avoid this?

No. There are numerous instances in which parents raise multiple children, some of whom are gay and some are heterosexual, even though they were raised in the same way.

Why is my child doing this?

Our sexual orientation is an instinctive part of each of us. It’s a fundamental part of our identity. If your child has come out to you, it is because of an essential need to be the person he or she truly is, and to be accepted as such.

Could psychotherapy help my child?

Therapy could potentially help both you and your child in dealing with the coming out process and the prejudice that gay people experience. However, it is important to know that numerous studies have shown that so-called “reparative” or “conversion” therapy is ineffective and generally does more harm than good. Imagine what it would be like if you were subjected to therapy that attempted to change your sexual orientation. Both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from their official list of mental and emotional disorders.

Is this just a phase?

There is still a widespread belief in our society that a person has to be heterosexual to be“normal”. Because of this pressure, your child has most likely thought carefully about this question for a long time before deciding to come out to you.

He or she probably understands that their sexual orientation is not just a phase.

Is my child in danger?

If your child is being harassed in school,Washington State’s Safe Schools Bullying Bill provides protection for all students, including sexual minorities, from harassment.


- Read as much as you can about homosexuality and sexual orientation. This may be challenging, but is enlightening and an essential part of understanding your child. Seethe Suggested Reading section (other side).

- Consider attending support meetings. This is an excellent way to find answers to your questions and to talk to other parents that are in similar situations.

- Once you have explored some of the issues surrounding homosexuality, and hopefully have answered at least a few of your questions,talk to your child. Try to gain an appreciation for the emotions that he or she has been dealing with and explain your feelings and concerns.
Topics: gay, lesbian, child, education
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