When my son came out over 30 years I had a hard time accepting that he was gay. It seems funny to say that since I already knew. I didn’t want to know and I didn’t want it to be true, but I did know and it was true.
So, why did I have a hard time accepting he was gay? For one, I was afraid for his safety. Would he be a victim of gay bashing? I was afraid for his health. It was 1989 and the middle of the AIDS epidemic. I was worried about discrimination. I was afraid he wouldn’t find love or a fulfilling life. And I was crushed that MY dreams for my son would not be fulfilled. That was a hard truth and one I had to admit so I could look at it and get past it.
I’ve written about this before and it bears repeating because it is such a common reaction of parents when their kids come out. I was devastated that he would never be able to marry and that he wouldn’t have children. Well, I was wrong on the first point! But I was right on the second. Many gay, lesbian and transgender couples have children but I didn’t know that at the time. And many cisgender and straight couples do not, choose not to have children.
At one point I said to myself, “It is not their responsibility to make you a grandmother. This is out of your hands; let it go.”
It is not uncommon for parents to be disappointed when they find out their child is LGBTQ. What is important is what we do with that. How long will it take to get over that disappointment? At what point will we be able to accept our child fully and embrace them fully? There is no one answer that fits everyone. We each have our journey.
What can make it easier is to remember who your child is? Has anything changed about them since they came out? The answer is no, unequivocally no. It may seem to us that they are different but the truth is they are who they have always been. We just know more about them. They are more comfortable being in their own skin since coming out.
What it comes down to is this. Do you want your child in your life? Do you want them to be happy and emotionally healthy? If you answer yes to those questions, it’s time to look at you; at what’s at the bottom of your lack of acceptance. You don’t have to do it alone. There is so much support. I’m available for support, there are private Facebook groups. There is PFLAG.
It’s time to move forward. Don’t wait. Your child needs you and is counting on you.