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Is Your Child Gay? How to Deal With a Gay Child
Views on homosexuality have changed drastically throughout history. It may actually surprise many to know that in some cultures, homosexuality is seen as a blessed state.Even in history, ancient Greeks considered male homosexuality to be perfectly the norm. Several Native American cultures even believe in multiple genders rather than just two. Western and modern views on homosexuality in general have expanded and have evolved more towards acceptance, away from the discrimination and shame of the past. Today, many educated people recognize that homosexuality is not a disgracefully state one chooses, rather it is simply a biological and genetic factor not unlike eye color or height. One interesting point to further enforce the scientific findings concerning homosexuality is the fact that homosexuality occurs at the same rate or frequency throughout every human culture and ethnicity.
Regardless of how society continues to move toward acceptance, homosexuals still face discrimination and are often labeled with ridiculous stereotypes. Because of this truth, many parents naturally become concerned if they feel one of their children may be exhibiting homosexual tendencies or behaviors. In order to truly know whether or not this is the case, parents must first be aware of how sexuality and sexual identity evolves during childhood. Typically, by age one or two, children will display a preference towards one gender or another. They will experiment and role-play with the opposite gender. As kids get older, pre-adolescence, peer groups and adult expectations can dictate whether a child expresses themselves as heterosexual or homosexual. As a child reaches puberty, they will more clearly feel and exhibit whether they are homosexual or heterosexual; this is because they are simply growing to understand their sexuality.
Today, there are many school clubs and support groups for young adults who are homosexual so they can be themselves comfortably and securely just as heterosexual young adults. These support groups reinforce that homosexuality is not something to be stigmatized, criminalized, or discriminated against. These groups can also help young adults feel more comfortable with their parents and family in general.
Once the child or young adult feels completely secure and comfortable with living according to the sexual preference they are born with, it may be the others in their lives who have the toughest time accepting or embracing homosexuality. For a child to come to his or her parents and proclaim they are homosexual involves a lot of trust. It is never easy when a child does not know what the response from their family will be. Luckily there are support groups and resources for parents to turn to that simply did not exist not too long ago. One of the most successful and most often turned to resource for families and friends is PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). This group currently has over 400 chapters. The group’s mission is to help those who love a homosexual deal with how they feel about it. For parents, this group has been a lifesaver when they have felt confused or unsure of how to deal with a child who has come out.
Aside from this phenomenal group, there are many books and online support for families trying to accept or understand the fact that their child is gay. One great book that clearly and correctly answers over 300 questions for parents is “Is It a Choice” by Eric Marcus. “Loving Someone Gay” by Don Clark, PhD, is also a great book for parents. Stories by other parents of gay children have also been compiled into a book called “My Child is Gay” by Bryce McDougall. This book instantly helps parents realize their story is not as unique as they may feel.
Once you do realize or are told your child is gay and you check out any resources out there to answer questions they may not be able to, you ultimately still have the same child in front of you that you have always loved. They are literally the same person, only more of who they truly are and more honest about what they want out of life. Also understand that the fact that they are homosexual is not about you. They have trusted you enough to come out or even if you have discovered it on your own, they will always need and want your love and support as they seek the same happiness in this life that each heterosexual craves and desires.