25.9.16

Does Parenting Change When You Have a Gay Teen?

My daughter, the lovely Dd is 16.

She has really blossomed lately, budgeting for herself, suddenly deciding (against her parents wishes) to have her waist length hair cut to shoulder length, becoming more outgoing, getting herself to and from college without always relying on 'mum's taxi', letting us know when she'll be late and making new college mates and hanging out at coffee shops. In short she has become a teenager at last. So 'almost an adult' that it hurts to think about it.

My baby is testing her wings.

As a parent I know that this is what it's all been about, preparing her for life and for leaving us, but as a parent I also feel the pain of that 'almost loss'.

I'm so proud of her. She did well at her GCSEs, is doing all the A levels she wanted to, is making new friends, and is looking happy. Happier than she has in a while, and she's always been a happy child. Maybe this happiness is linked to the fact that she finally plucked up the courage to come out to her friends as well as her parents.

Yes dear reader, I am the mum of my own little gay! She told me by accident in a mistaken Facebook message back in January, and, well, I behaved fairly predictably. First I checked she sent me the image to tell me something, and not just because it was cute or funny (she often sends me weird memes via messenger) , and then when that was confirmed, I just said "OK" and on we went.




But for months her dad and I were sworn to secrecy. She was happy to be out to her family, but the wider world could wait. As a parent it was torture! So I was relieved when she decided that starting college was the time to do it. Starting college as a 'gay girl' seemed easier to her than starting straight and coming out later, and as modern kids do, she decided to announce it via her Facebook page, I think we were all relieved when her friends all 'liked' her post, and even said 'finallyyyy' and 'Whoop! Go You!'.
DD's Facebook reveal....

So now I'm the mum of a gay teen. It's a new experience for us all but I'm rather enjoying it. DD's new best friend is a gay guy, and DD's love of rainbows, the colour purple, and unicorns is scary..is this genetic? LOL

You might be wondering what is different about being the mum of a gay teen rather than a straight one, well I'll tell you - not much. Except suddenly you notice every single homophobic comment or 'joke' that people make. News stories about teens being killed in fights, car crashes, drugs overdoses etc still scare the living daylights out of you, but now reading about homophobic crimes, always horrifying, seem so much closer, so much more real. You see things from a minority's point of view. So being the parent of a gay teen is the same as being the parent of a straight teen but with more things to worry about.

When people say 'oh it doesn't matter in this day and age does it?' you think, 'no, it doesn't matter to me or to you, but there are people out there that seem to think it matters very much indeed'. You realise that the society that enables young people to openly express who they love or fancy enables, often accidentally, hate speech and unpleasant treatment of those young people too.

I adore DD, because she is mine, she is adorable, she is pretty, witty, clever and the best fun to be with. And now, because she is gay too. When I told a gay work mate that DD had 'come out' she squealed with joy and said "Oh Congratulations!" I long for a day when that is the normal reaction we can all expect at that sort of news.

*Note DD identifies as gay now - despite the original 'guess who's bi?' line. She says she's not ruling boys out, but she can't see herself with anyone but a girl. And she likes the word gay, she thinks it sounds nice, fun. I think she's right.