In celebration of LGBT Pride Month, a brave teenage shares her story about coming out to her dad and offers tips to parents:
Nobody Wants A Dyke Daughter
That was basically what my father said when I told him I’m gay. He did use somewhat nicer words, but his message was clear: nobody wants a queer child.
But it’s not like I wanted to be gay. If you had asked me when I was seven what I wanted to be, I would have said I wanted to be what my mom or dad did for a living. If you asked me when I was twelve, the thing I secretly wanted to be most was to be straight.
Neither sexuality nor gender identity is a choice. Many queer people agonize for long periods of time thinking that they choose their sexuality. Many uniformed people think this and some religions even say it is a sin. No amount of effort or wishing will make a person straight or cis-gendered. Parents of a possible or confirmed LGBT child: do not blame your children for being gay. They did not choose it and would most likely prefer not to be queer.
The rates of suicide are four times greater for LGBT teenagers. And kids whose family rejects them for being gay are eight and a half times more likely to attempt suicide. http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/facts-about-suicide So parents: would you rather a gay child or a dead child?
These are some tips I would give parents:
- Do not force your kid out of the closet.
My father had already asked me if I was gay and I always denied because I wasn’t ready. It is important to come out to yourself fully before others. If you accept yourself and are comfortable with yourself, then anyone who is not accepting will have much less power and ability to impact you negatively.
- Do not make it about you.
It is terrifying to come out, so be proud of anyone that does it. You are not getting proposed to, so try not to be self-centered or and ass about it.
- Think before you talk.
What you say will permanently affect your relationship with you and your child, so be considerate and don’t say anything that you will regret. Remember that anything you say will most likely echo in their minds for years to come. Your words are permanent. Whatever you say will not go away. Think of if you want them to hold on to any negativity you say.
- Just tell them you love them and accept them.
If you can’t find the words to say this, consider buying a pride flag. You have no idea how much this will mean to them. All queer people simply just want acceptance.
Me and my Dad worked things out. He apologized a couple of days later for how he handled things. Once he stopped thinking about how my homosexuality would affect him and focused on our relationship, things got back to normal. We still have not said anything to the rest of our family. The holidays with my conservative relatives will be interesting…