Social Question

theshillerdude's avatar

My 14 year old daughter thinks she might be gay (but she doesn't know that I know.) How should I approach her or should I approach her?

Asked by theshillerdude (34 points ) March 8th, 2013

I found out accidentally that she is questioning her sexual identity. She hasn’t mentioned anything to me and I haven’t told her that I know it’s on her mind.

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27 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

I waited until my daughter brought it up. She has to find out for herself. 14 year-olds often have crushes on other girls and female teachers, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a permanent thing. If she seems worried and preoccupied, you can offer to let her talk about what’s bothering her, but I wouldn’t jump in and try to make a difference until she brought it up.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Leave it. She’ll come to you when she’s ready, if she realizes she truly is a lesbian or bisexual. There’s no need to push the issue now.

She’s only 14 – not to pull the cliche “it’s a stage” card, but at that age it might be. And maybe not. If/When she does come to you, just be supportive and you’ll be good to go.

wildpotato's avatar

To paraphrase Dan Savage’s advice from his 2/12/13 podcast to a parent asking this same question: make sure she knows you are there for her, and are supportive of her no matter what, and (at minimum) that you don’t have anything against people who are gay.

Arewethereyet's avatar

I have brought my girls up to understand that its Ok to love someone regardless of their gender. They are not into dating at this stage but they know that I would be fine either way. I’m more concerned about broken hearts, unprotected sex and STDs.

augustlan's avatar

In the normal course of life, just make sure she knows you’ll love and support her no matter what. If you can do it in a natural way (not forced), let her know you’re fine with homosexuality, too. Just give her a safe environment for honesty, and she’ll most likely talk to you about it when she’s ready.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Same situation with my youngest daughter who just turned 13. My wife and I have taken the “wait and see” approach. She’ll sort it out one way or another in due time. The important thing, we think, is to provide her with a loving and supportive home environment.

Plucky's avatar

As everyone else has stated, let her come to you. And, subtly, let her know you are fine with homosexuality. Knowing that one’s parents are ok with homosexuality, and won’t disown/shun them, can make a huge difference to a child who may be questioning their own orientation. It can be an enormous personal burden and struggle to deal with at first, for anyone (especially a teen).

JLeslie's avatar

I would wait. But, by 16 if it seems very obvious she is most likely gay I would bring it up to her. Almost everyone I know who came out to their parents, even if their parents have always been very cool about gay people, were incredibly stressed debating when to tell, if to tell, how to tell. I think the way to cut through some of the anxiety for your child is to ask them point blank, like ripping off a bandaid. One of the worst types of anxiety is anticipatory anxiety. Also, back in the day many gay children had to lie a lot. All children and teens lie to some extent of course, but for gay children lying had to be a way of life, and I think it is bad for them themselves and for the people around them if this becomes second nature. I guess if she wondering out loud she is not likely to have that problem though. 14 is still young, but I would not wait forever.

Shippy's avatar

I very much agree with the others comments. But what I would do is show that in your mind, gay people are OK. There is no prejudice. So if it does occur later on in life as an adult, she can feel its safe to talk to you.

Pachy's avatar

I have a friend whose teenage daughter went through a brief period believing she was gay. The two had a strong relationship and talked about everything, so when the daughter confided these feelings, my friend, a psychologist, who felt her daughter was coming from a place of extreme disappontment over a boy she had broken up with, assured her that straight or gay, she would always be supported and loved by mom and dad without qualification. The period passed and not long afterwards the young woman began dating a boy to whom she has been happily married for years.

blueiiznh's avatar

Let her be. Let her come to you when she is comfortable and on her time.
Be supportive no matter what. You can still be supportive prior to her coming to you.
Like always, let her know how wonderful, beautiful, loved she everyday.

Pandora's avatar

That is a tough one because I can see you wouldn’t want her to feel estranged by you because she is afraid to confide in you. It would take a lot of pressure off her if she is. But you also don’t want to jump the shark. If you ask her and she isn’t sure, she may get more confused or feel pressure to decide and wonder if you secretly are hoping that she is not gay.
I’m sure somewhere there is a movie that can show the struggles of a gay teenager and you can casually remark that you could care less if any of your children are gay or straight. Just so long as they are happy.
It just occurred to me that you never mention if you are ok with this. If you are not then I would work on getting my own head wrapped around this before approaching your kid. She needs a parent who would accept her 100%, no matter what.

marinelife's avatar

Leave her alone, but make comments that show that you would be fine with it if she chose to tell you. If she’s still exploring, she may not be ready to talk about it yet.

You could also get some support and find some materials at PFLAG’s web site.

bookish1's avatar

Why is it something that she “must” tell you at some point? Will you feel betrayed if she doesn’t? Why?
Do parents anxiously wait for their children to tell them they they are heterosexual?

SamandMax's avatar

@bookish1 Think about it, homosexuality still riles all kinds of people up everywhere, so it’s not like anyone is going to be anxiously waiting to find out if their kid is straight. There are still plenty of people who are dead set against homosexuality.

I’d leave her to it. If you think you know already, and are cool with it, it should make it much easier for her to be able to tell you and be prepared for the amount of awesome parent that follows – even though she doesn’t know how you’re likely to react. If it becomes a real problem in that it looks like it’s really affecting stuff other than school work and stuff then maybe that would be a good time to talk about it but until then, I’d say leave her to it for now.

dxs's avatar

Don’t approach her about something that she most likely doesn’t want you knowing. She probably didn’t tell you for a reason. I wouldn’t even give hints to it, to be honest. That still shows that you somehow nosed yourself into her personal life. Granted you are her mother, she still deserves some privacy.
One thing to watch out for: You may want to avoid the typical adult thing to do where you say something along the lines of “look at all these cute boys.” You shouldn’t even say it to anyone anyway because, on a personal account, it made me feel wicked uncomfortable (when adults said it about girls because I’m a guy). I grew up knowing someone who was gay, and boy was it awkward when adults said that to him about girls.
Will you be okay with her decision, though? Would you accept it?

flutherother's avatar

I would leave things be unless she shows signs of being upset about it. I might let her know in an indirect way that you don’t disapprove of gay people. It may be just a phase, who knows, and what does it matter?

SamandMax's avatar

What does it matter? Again…I refer to the previous post I made, as well as the post @bookish1 made. Homosexuality is a big thing for a lot of people – and the people that tend to be more bothered by it are those who are really against it, and the people that are bothered about it are those who are homosexual and either get it in the neck from the aforementioned who are really not pleasant about them or their practices, or haven’t yet come out of the closet afraid of what other people are going to think. It ain’t rocket science. It is actually a huge deal for a lot of people. Hence gay pride parades etc etc.

I feel justified in saying the things I’ve said because I have a brother who is openly gay.
He’s so gay, you’d think Graham Norton was straight in comparison.

wildpotato's avatar

I didn’t realize that having an openly gay brother justifies everything I say about gay people. Sweet!~

SamandMax's avatar

That was the nicest indirect pisstake I’ve ever read. Kudos.

Carinaponcho's avatar

Perhaps bring up an anecdotal example of homosexuals and portray it in a positive light. This will make her feel more comfortable about telling you in the future if she wants. It’s best not to approach her about it. Let her bring it up to you when she feels ready. Her sexuality is probably a very confusing and she may not be ready to talk about it with you yet.

bookish1's avatar

Why is sexual preference some thing that we have to talk about? We let it imprison us and tell ourselves that it’s an essential inborn unchanging identity, and we are lying about ourselves if we do not tell everyone in some neat little story.
And then we let ourselves be marketed to and divided into different political camps based on which story about our “sexuality” we tell ourselves and allow others to tell about us.
How weird is that?
You can’t make this shit up.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@bookish1 Sad isn’t it?

JLeslie's avatar

@bookish1 I really like what you said. It does suck that it is a thing. I think sexuality is so much a part of being a teen that the topic is very heightened at those ages. Most teens want to fit in and be accepted, so everything that makes one feel different risks the teen feeling on the outside. Since being gay is in the minority the risk lies there. Forget about if they are raised in an environment that is antigay. Even the only red head in class might feel very negative about themselves. I guess hair does not compare to sexuality, but it would be nice if society thought of both in the same benign, unimportant way.

bookish1's avatar

@SABOTEUR: Yes, sir. Problem is, I don’t see a way out of it. The mainstream, watered down, defanged “gay rights movement” has completely let its enemies set the terms of the agenda. They respond to the criticism that it’s an immoral or perverted choice with the notion that “we were born this way, we can’t help it, pity us!” I don’t know what to do, because I don’t agree with either narrative. One side would like me to die in a camp, while the other would merely like me to shut up so they can get married.

@JLeslie : Thank you. But what isn’t heightened as a teenager? And you’re talking about feeling like an outsider to someone who is transsexual and knew he was queer of some variety by about age 12… ;)
You know what fascinates me… Is that the word “heterosexual” was only coined and categorized as the scientific norm or majority after scientists invented the concept and word “homosexual.”
This stuff is all made up, historically contingent, culturally reinforced, and yet we let it imprison and separate us…

JLeslie's avatar

@bookish1 I never thought about the history of the word homosexual. I think you have seen me write before that I dislike that so much of society focuses on the sex part of gay relationships. SEX! Oy. If we focused more on the emotional part of relationships it would be better in my opinion.

dxs's avatar

@bookish1 I don’t see anything wrong with distinguishing people as heterosexual or homosexual. How it separates us is a different story, but I don’t think that the terms created that separation.

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