Parents And Siblings Share Their Honest Reactions When A Family Member Came Out As Gay.
Parents with a homosexual child/children on Reddit were asked: "What was your initial reaction upon their coming out?" These are some of the best answers.
1/30 When my brother came out as gay, my mom accepted it. When my sister came out as bisexual, my mother yelled at her. I don't get it.
2/30 I am sad to say I reacted rather badly when my daughter came out as a lesbian -- I tried to high-five her. I realized this may not have been the best way to deal with her identity crisis only when she said "What the [hell]" and my wife face-palmed.
3/30 My youngest brother (he's in his early twenties) came out in the summer and expected our conservative parents to freak out, dad was on the couch, eating some food and my brother came out right then and there.
Dad let out a slow growl, then roared out and dropped all the food on the floor and ran out of the house with his fists in the air. He ran out of the house and towards the front of the property and back, hugged my brother, told him he didn't care and that he loved him but gay or not it didn't mean he was exempt from mowing the grass.
4/30 My brother is gay, and he came out when I was 7 (he's ten years older). Initially it made my dad feel like he was a failure, like he didn't raise a "proper" son. He was never mad at my brother though, mostly just confused. My mom's brother is gay, so she understood and said she had always known. She helped my dad come to terms with everything and my brother has a great relationship with my parents and his "friends" are always welcome at family gatherings. My brother asked me the other day if I remembered when he came out and what I'd thought at the time. I told him I had never thought about it much. He never changed and it's just a part of who he is, not the entirety of his identity to me.
5/30 I grew up in a very open-minded, liberal household. My parents had friends that were gay. Growing up I had friends in high school that were gay. I didn't really care what they chose to do with other people in the bedroom, or who they chose to do it with. Most people I've met whose sexuality is different from mine are perfectly "normal" people. There are [jerks], there are wonderful people, there are people that I am "meh" about. Same as any heterosexual person.
I always considered myself an open-minded person. I believe in the right to marriage for LGBTQ people. I believe that homophobia is huge roadblock in our cultural evolution, but just like segregation, I believe it can be overcome.
When my wife gave birth to our first child, my only son, I was so proud. I tried to raise him as best I could, trying to show him to keep an open mind about everything and to be kind to every person he meets.
He'll be graduating from high school in June. Not at the top of his class, or even a fantastic student in general, but I'm proud of him. He plans on attending a local community college until he earns his AA, and then he'll attempt to transfer to one of the State universities. He wants to be a marine biologist. Whatever he does with his life, I know I'll be proud of him.
Last year he came out to the family. He had known for about a year, and he had told a few of his friends. His best friend, a neighborhood girl he's known since elementary school, knows my wife and I very well. She is the one who convinced him to tell us, knowing that my wife and I will love and accept him no matter what. Which is absolutely, 100% true.
When he told us, his siblings were out of the house, staying the night over at their grandparents. He sat us down in the living room, and to be honest I wasn't sure what to expect. I was worried that he had knocked a girl up, or was failing one or more of his classes. He got straight to the point, however. He said:
"Mom, Dad... I'm gay."
There was a moment of silence, and I thought I was pretty slick when I told him:
"Who gives a [crap]?"
He started to cry, then my wife started to cry, and we all came in for a big group hug. My wife and I assured him that no matter what we would always love him. We were proud of him for being brave enough to tell us, and that he should be and do what makes him happy. As long as he was happy and healthy, that's all that we cared about.
Outwardly, it was a picture perfect moment. Could have made a NBC sitcom out of those fifteen minutes we were in the living room together.
Nothing could have prepared me for how I felt inside. I was so ashamed for the way I felt. I am still ashamed. All my life I had thought that having a gay son wouldn't be a big deal. Wouldn't matter if they were gay, straight, sideways, curved, bent, or whatever. But it did. I was crushed.
I felt like having a gay son was a reflection on my my own masculinity, fertility, virility & genetics. I felt that evolution had said that my genes weren't good enough to pass on down chain.
But why should I care? I'm middle-aged, have a loving and adoring wife, three seemingly well-adjusted children, and a stable financial situation. I don't have to prove my own masculinity or sexuality to anyone, let alone myself. I was very confused at my own reaction. Luckily for me, I was able to hide it from my family until I realized that my feelings were grounded in my own deeply held prejudices. Things didn't have to return to normal once my son came out, because they never became abnormal. My son's two sisters loved the idea of having a big gay brother, and he promised to bring tons of hot gay guys around for them to swoon over and be frustrated about. I'm not making this up, he said that, almost word for word. It was pretty hilarious.
It looked like I was the only one who had any internal difficulties.
After a few weeks, word got 'round and my inner circle of guy pals brought it up at one of our bi-weekly guys nights. We try and switch it up, going out to a bar, going to the range, hitting a movie or throwing a poker night at one of our houses. My best friend, we'll call him Bud, was the first to bring it up. My friends are all reasonable people, like me, so they were all very supportive. However, there is still a bit of awkwardness whenever I talk about him, to this day. Nothing I could really call them out on, but it's noticeable. I feel they, like I did, judge my own masculinity by this turn of events. Well, [screw] 'em, right?
It's been a year, and I've had a while to think about things. I no longer feel the same way I did when my son first came out to me. I've come to realize that my feelings were probably a result of some suppressed homophobia, maybe even a glimmer of latent homosexuality. I'm not sure though, I've never found myself attracted to other men, so I doubt that's it.
All and all I feel my relationship with my son has improved in the last year. Not because I know he's gay, but because he has more freedom than before to be himself, and he knows that no matter what his family will always love him and support him.
I also feel I've grown as a person in the last year, learned some things about myself that I didn't realize. I believe I've come to terms with my own irrational insecurities, and overall become a happier person.
6/30 When my cousin came out to his parents, they reacted very differently. His father refused to talk to him at all for several months; their relationship is still difficult. His mother just said "Finally."
7/30 My brother is gay, and when he came out to my family no one really cared. My Dad didn't want to talk about it, and my Mom still loved him like nothing was different (her half-sister is a lesbian). When he told me he was gay I said, "So? I'm straight, what's the difference? You're still my brother."
8/30 My cousin came out as a lesbian to her parents and her dad had a response of, "I'm glad I won't have to worry about you sleeping around with douchebags in college next year.
I mean, girls can be jerks too, but that's a different story.
9/30 My son came out to me over the phone. "Dad, I think I'm gay." My response was "Okay." He was surprised that was all I had to say; I think he expected me to be mad at him. I mean, really, why should I care as long as he's happy?
10/30 My son came out to me over the phone. "Dad, I think I'm gay." My response was "Okay." He was surprised that was all I had to say; I think he expected me to be mad at him. I mean, really, why should I care as long as he's happy?
11/30 My oldest has been out for about 15 years. At first it was hard, but not because I have issues with people being gay. Instead, I worried about how hard things might possibly be. Even though attitudes are changing, there's still a lot of prejudice out there and I just plain old worried that things would be harder than if they were straight.
That said, I think my eldest was a bit disappointed there wasn't more drama. I used to find helpful Pflag pamphlets slipped under my pillow. Eventually, this phase passed. I like the partner and we include the partner in all family things so it really is no big deal anymore.
12/30 When my son asked me if I had some time to talk, I knew he was coming out. I had signs and hints that he was gay since he was two or three years old. So that night I listened to him carefully and encouraged him to continue talking because I knew he was struggling with actually saying it. I held his hand and had to lay down on the floor. He wasn't looking me in the eye and his head was bent down, so I had to. I wanted him to know that I would always love him no matter what. When he hesitated and said that I would hate him for the rest of his life, I immediately answered that there was nothing he could do that would make me hate him-he was my son. Once he said that he was gay I told him that he should never feel threatened at home and that he and his friends could always have a safe place to be.
13/30 When my son came out when he was 15. My wife was in shock and called me at work crying.
I asked her why she was surprised, we were finding computer searches for gay topics for a couple of years and he was matching Grandma's shoes and earrings since he was 5.
I love the kid and worry just as much about his health and happiness as I do his older, very conservative, sister.
14/30 When my sister came out, my mom said "Yeah! Won't come home pregnant!" and did a little happy dance. My father was not nearly as pleased, but he's always been kind of a [jerk] anyway.
15/30 When my brother came out, I happened to be at a bar. I ordered about 5 shots of whiskey. It wasn't that I was upset. I just never once in my entire life entertained the thought that he might be gay, I was floored. Actually. It's a funny story I should elaborate.
We live about 400kms away from each other. Our version of hanging out always involved playing online games together. Well. He had this roommate who always used to play online with us as well. His roommate didn't go to my brothers university, and I had no clue why he lived with my brother considering his parents lived very close by, but whatever, just never questioned it
My friends and I had a running joke, that whenever they were taking forever to queue up a game with us. They were secretly butt [screwing] each other. Well that night, my brother told me that it wasn't far from the truth.
16/30 When my son told me I said. "Son. I don't care which way you swing. You are a little young for that playground." True story.
He was 15 at the time and I was making light of the moment to make sure he knew my feelings on that it was just not a big deal to me. I understand that his coming out to me was a big deal to him but I kind of believe it shouldn't be. I have had friends come out to me before and my response right or wrong was always "Oh, is that all?". I feel bad sometimes that I didn't make a bigger deal but to me it just is not something that is going to change my opinion of you. I know it's not that simple but honestly wish it was. With my son my point was he was too young for sex and that he should wait. I also went on to point out that even though he wouldn't have to worry about a teen pregnancy there were other reasons to be safe and to wait.
17/30 My daughter (15) told me about two months ago.
Honestly, I think I have known for a long time. I remember when she was 11 years old and I told my husband "You know, we are probably going to have a daughter-in-law someday, right?" He said, "As long as we still have our daughter, I don't care." I was shocked. I know I am ok with it, I just didn't know how he felt because he is pretty conservative.
When she finally came out, we told her that we just want her to be happy. No matter what, she is still our daughter and we love her to the moon and back.
18/30 When my sister came out about six months ago, as a teenager, it was pretty surprising but the reaction was pretty minimal. My mother didn't even bother telling me while I was away at college and continued treating her exactly the same (despite being a Southern Christian conservative). When my sister told me, I told her that she might meet a lot of people in her life that weren't accepting but she meant the world to me so it doesn't even matter. Don't think my other sister even knows yet. Honestly, overall it was pretty underwhelming- life went on as usual. I'm proud of her for being comfortable with that part of her identity.
19/30 My daughter "came out" in the back seat of our truck. We were on our way to or from a softball game. She did it this way "Mom, would it be all right if I dated this girl named Cate?"
This was her question. I didn't even flinch and said of course Jen! I then get "I asked because it's going to involve you and her Mom coordinating rides since she lives an hour away and neither of us has a license obviously."
She wasn't coming out, she was asking permission for me to become a taxi service which I gladly did.
20/30 My Daughter is almost 21 and never really came out to me. I knew she was going to be gay but I don't know why. Our standard joke as she grew up was that she would have a 2 CV (old Citroen) with some cats and a goat in the back with a stripey hood and she would have a girlfriend and be gay. I just knew. She had a boyfriend, just the one. But even then I knew it wouldn't last.
About 18 months ago she lost 40+ kilos and told me she was dancing in the Sydney Mardi gras .... She still didn't tell me she was gay.
I eventually asked her - then told her I knew, didn't care and would always love her no matter what.
21/30 I can't really explain the connection, but I simply knew. And as his mom I've always adored him. When he hit the early teen years I moved us out of the suburbs into the city and an environment that was very gay friendly. We all just let him 'be' and didn't bring up the topic. He finally came out when he was 15 and since he was brave enough to do that, I came out as a hetero. He's graduating from college in May (astro physics!) and then moving to another state with his boyfriend (who got accepted into a PhD program). Could a parent be more proud and thrilled? Nope!
22/30 Mom here. My son is 21 now, and I knew since he was 13. There is not a chance I would have figured it out on my own, but you can only find gay porn on your computer so many times before it becomes clear. No one else suspected at all. We are a completely supportive and accepting family, and he knew where I stood on gay rights, but he never said anything, so I figured he was just trying to figure it out. I even asked him a few times, and he always denied it. I just went on being supportive and hoped he would come out when he was ready.
When he turned 19, he told me. He was completely distraught. I asked him why he had waited, since he knew it wouldn't matter to me or his dad. He told me that he had spent YEARS trying as hard as he could to be straight, and he just couldn't do it anymore. He said he wanted a wife, and kids, and a normal life, but it was killing him. I will never forget the look on his face. My heart broke for him. Here I was thinking I was giving him time to sort it out, and he was really struggling. I wish I had known this earlier, because maybe I could have helped him realize that he will have a wonderful life, he will be loved, and he WAS normal, much sooner.
It's been two years since he came out. He's doing great now, BTW. We love everything about him.
23/30 My daughter came out to me while we were driving in the car...then we finished our errands. Seriously...who cares?? She's happy, well-adjusted and intelligent. I am a proud mom!
24/30 My son came out to me and I told him that he must leave the family, never to return. Then I laughed at him. Then I hugged him and told him that I love him.
25/30 He's 12 now and happy. He owns that. He's encountered a few homophobes along the way. He doesn't seem to be overly bothered by them. Luckily, we live in a fairly liberal part of the country. I guess the most important thing I think a parent can do is not label. I figured at the very least he was NOT heterosexual and so I made sure that he was aware of all types of people. Transgendered etc.
For a while I thought he might be transgendered. He said when he was little, he thought that maybe he wanted to be a girl, but at around age 5 he realized he was gay. The most interesting thing has been the reactions of grownups. HOW DOES HE KNOW?! Um...how did you know?
OMG! He totally had rollerblades too.
When he was very little, I would say to my husband. That kid is gay. My husband was always hedging. No, he might not be. Then one year when he was around 8 or so, it was Halloween. Usually, it was a time of great excitement. We went to some crappy store and my daughter excitedly ran around picking out a dress and discussing her costume with great enthusiasm. My son on the other hand, walked up to some piece of crap vampire cape and handed it over to me in the most lackluster fashion.
The kids were allowed to wear their costumes to school and so first thing in the morning, my daughter sat while I did her hair and make up and turned her into a fabulous goth princess. I looked over at my son. He was watching us. He looked sad. I asked him, "Do you want me to do your make up?" He looked at me incredulously.
Me: Do you want to be a girl for Halloween?
Him: Can I do that?
So his sister went and got a dress for him, I did his hair and make up. He was beaming! He was like this new kid! He even wore a little pair of heels.
That day, my husband went to his usual 12 step meeting and cried. It wasn't that he was crying, because his son was wearing a dress or anything, it was more like he finally realized that the person he had built up in his mind, the fantasy we all build about who our children will be, died. I went through a similar thing. I think it just happened for me when he was a lot younger. We love him no matter what. We don't care who he's attracted to as long as he's happy and a decent human being. Awesomely, there was a transwoman at the meeting. He'd known her for years and had no idea.
At any rate, we're obnoxious as a family. We're passionate activists. And I'm like a weird gay groupie. Oh yeah, and as far as coming out, it wasn't really a thing. Right around the time he turned 9, I overheard him in the backseat telling his sister, "I was explaining to so and so that I'm gay..." And there it was.
26/30 Though she would deny to the kids she was gay, it was obvious. I spent some time at the school making sure individual teachers took responsibility if my kid came home crying because the kids were allowed to call her a "dyke." Kids will be kids, but teachers condoning meanness was not okay.
At 15, the cat was out of the bag and she went from denying it to just telling people to [go away] when they asked/commented. By that age she was old enough to defend herself. She and I were pretty much joined at the hip, so I got more pissed than she did. Her last year of high school I was pulling her out of class a couple days a week to help me on construction jobs, which she loved. (She was pulling a 4.0 GPA so her teachers thought it was good for her) I think it helped her realize there was a whole world that didnt revolve around what other teenagers thoughtwhere she was judged by her work, not her haircut. She is now in her 30s with a great partner. Her mom, my ex-wife, and her sisters and I are all still very close and do many family events together. No matter our marriages/relationships since those formative years, we are all still family.
27/30 I had an inkling when he was about 5. I didn't know for sure till he was in High School. My wife disagreed with me immediately, and said I was being a jerk for suggesting that. She's not homophobic, she just thought I was calling him a sissy or something. He's always been a very sensitive kid, not good at sports etc. Now that he's almost 20 it's not even a topic of discussion. It's just what he is. We were lucky that he went to a pretty awesome high school, very little bullying, very accepting. He came out to everyone on Facebook without telling us he was planning to. Had to field a couple calls from the relatives, but other than that no biggie.
28/30 One of my best friends came out to me in the middle of playing Mario Brothers 3.
We're sitting in my living room, parents are outside/elsewhere, when she suddenly pauses the game, looks at me and says "I have something I need to tell you."
"I like girls."
"So are you gonna ask Sarah out? 'Cause she was asking about you the other day."
In less than 5 minutes of her coming out to me, I had a hook-up for Prom for her.
They're getting married this summer, after almost 20 years together.
I'm gonna be their Best Man.
29/30 My older brother is gay. I found out when I was about 15. (He would have been 19/20) It was a really odd feeling that came over me, because everything just suddenly... clicked.
It always baffled me in my pre-teens as to why he never had a girlfriend, as he's a good looking, fun and interesting chap. Then one day I was on his Bebo page (Back when Bebo was the amazing social networking site) and something or other asked what he looked for in the opposite sex, to which his reply was "Same sex thank you very much". Then I kinda zoned out for a couple of minutes and every memory from childhood to that day came rushing back to me in a completely different perspective. His playful camp attitude, the lack of girlfriends...everything made sense!
I remember turning to my parents and just being like, "Is Ben gay?" My mum gave out a nervous little laugh. My Dad looked at me funny and said "Just you go back to your computer and stop asking questions." I suppose, they're from a different generation, so they took it a little differently from me. They were always supportive, but I think it took a while for them to really get used to the idea. Especially my Dad.
But in hindsight, I wouldn't have my big brother any other way. I always find it weird when my friends talk about their brother flirting with their girlfriend or making perverted comments about their Facebook friends. Honestly, the idea of having a straight brother seems kind of weird to me.
30/30 My 22-year-old sister (A.J.) is a lesbian. She told me about 2 years ago, then our other siblings, then our parents. Nobody gave a [crap] and, quite frankly, it didn't really come as a surprise. However, the one person A.J. was most nervous to tell was our grandmother. Grandma, while highly intelligent and quite progressive, is a very strict Catholic, and she and my sister have always been close. A.J. was terrified of disappointing her, and let almost 2 years go by before she decided it was time.
This past Christmas, she sat my grandma down and said she wanted to talk to her. She had a speech all prepared, about how this is the way she was born, she really hopes their relationship can be the same, etc etc.
About halfway through, my 90 year old grandma interrupts and says "Astrid Juliana, let me stop you right here. If you're planning on telling me you're sweet on women, you just save your breath." A.J., confused as to what was happening, just stared at her. My grandma continued, "I may be old, but I'm not blind. For goodness sakes, dear.
Anyway, your grandfather always liked the gay folk. There was a gay fellow in his office, and Grandpa Richard though he was a real snappy dresser. He would be proud of you. Now, give me a kiss and help me set the table."
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.