It’s important to discuss being gay with care and sensitivity, no matter what you believe.
Sexual attraction is a part of life (a big one!) and it’s important you talk to your kids about it. I believe kids need to know about sexual attraction and how it’s possible to be attracted to someone who is the same sex, opposite sex, both or neither.
Tell your kids something like this:
Sexual attraction is basically who want you do sexual things with like kiss, hug, touch or have sex. You can be sexually attracted to someone who is the same sex or gender as you, or the opposite. You can be attracted to either sex or gender or to no one – some people are never interested in sexual stuff.
A word of caution – because you can’t tell by looking if a person is gay or lesbian or bi (and this includes your own kids), it’s important to discuss this topic with care and sensitivity, no matter what you believe. If your child is gay and you believe this is wrong, the last thing your child needs is to think you will hate him or her because of this. Most gay people will tell you that their attraction to the same sex is not a choice.
Most not straight people will tell you that their attraction to the same sex is not a choice.
The most important thing when discussing this issue is to remain in communication with your child. Gay teens have a higher rate of suicide, and open communication and support from you can make this very personal and sometimes difficult discovery easier. As you can imagine, it is difficult to be gay in our culture, and the more supportive you can be to your kid, the better off the child will be.
Here are some questions to mull over before you talk to your kids:
- What was the message growing up in your family about being gay or lesbian?
- If you are a gay or lesbian parent, what are your particular parenting challenges or concerns?
- What do you remember about learning what it means to be gay or lesbian?
- How will you talk about gay and/or lesbian sex? What do you want your kids to know?