FAQ for Guardians
Common Questions from Guardians of LGBTQA Individuals
Why did our family member have to tell us?
When a person decides to come out to their loved ones, they are expressing a desire to be open and honest. They may feel the need to be honest and open to the people they love, are close to, and care about. It can be a very difficult admission for someone to make, and support is needed. Understanding from the people that mean the most to them is vital. Some guardians may initially feel it would be better if they did not know. These are natural feelings.
Please explore the Coming Out section of the LGBTQA WebCenter for more information about what Coming Out is like for someone and what someone may be experiencing. We also encourage you to watch the free short documentary Leading with Love to see what the Coming Out process was like for other parents. The Parents Project, Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for LGBT Youth and Adults, and Out Proud Families are also excellent resources for guardians with LGBTQ children.
Is this just a phase?
Homosexuality is not a phase or something a person chooses to be. Hopefully you are able to take time and be thankful that your loved one feels close enough to you that they know your love for them will not fade. It is important to remember that nothing about someone is different after they tell you about their sexuality. They are still the same person whom you have known for their whole lives.
It is true some people do experiment with their sexuality, but someone who has reached the point to come out to you has thought for a long time about their sexuality. This is something that someone has take time to think about, and they are now ready to include you in this significant part of their life.
Why did they take so long to tell us?
It is normal for guardians to feel guilty or worried because their loved one has gone through so much on their own before sharing information about their sexuality. Sometimes it can take and individual years to come to the realization that they may be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
Guardians may interpret this as being a lack of trust or lack of love. It can also be painful to realize that you didn’t know your loved one as well as you thought. Remember how hard it may have been for your loved one to come to terms with his or her sexuality.
It is common to feel disappointed because your loved one did not tell you this information sooner, but remember what picture our society paints. Your loved one may have not known your feelings on sexuality or maybe they knew too well your feelings on this subject.
Why is our loved one gay?
It is common for guardians to feel that their loved one's sexuality is somehow their fault. This is not true. It is not really known for what makes and individual homosexual, bisexual or transgender, but it is known is sexual identity has nothing to do with the way and individual has been brought up. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals come from all backgrounds. No one is at fault for having a loved one that identifies as LGBTQ.
Why am I uncomfortable with my loved one's sexuality or gender?
Uncomfortable emotions with anything that is different from the norm and different from what may have been planned are natural and common. Mapping out a loved one's future unknowingly happens to most guardians. It is easy to believe that your loved one's future is drastically going to be change when they come out.
It is also common to believe that now a loved one will have to live a life of secrecy and not get married and not have grandchildren. Some guardians may believe that their child can not possibly be happy being heterosexual.
All of these struggles are common. All LGBTQ individuals have the potential to find happiness just as heterosexuals do. They can still be happy, successful, have a lifetime partner, and even have children.
Take time to research more information about LGBTQA culture and identity. The LGBTQA Web Center is ripe with information that will prove valuable in your research.
Why must our loved one flaunt their sexuality?
They are being themselves. Showing and receiving affection from someone you love is very important for a person’s well being.
In fact many LGBTQ people are more likely not to show affection in public because of the negativity that it may bring. Sometimes when our loved one comes out they may change the way they dress or cut their hair. These changes may be a shock to you. They are just feeling free to be who they are now they have come out.
Should we tell extended family and friends?
Coming out for a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person can be very difficult. Coming out for a guardian can be very difficult as well. Before you tell family or friends please ask your loved one's permission. You will be discussing their personal sexuality and it is important to keep in mind how private this matter can be to some individuals.
Will my child be ostracized, have trouble keeping a job, or even be physically attacked?
Unfortunately there is no clear answer. This can happen to some people, but not everybody and not all the time. There are some individuals that these issues may arise with and others are lucky to never experience these items. While overall society has still got a long way to go, you may be surprised that people in general are far more accepting of LGBTQ people.
Gay rights groups are working all the time to help to fight discrimination in schools and work places. They also have fought to change laws against homosexuals and their rights.
To find out more about these groups, check out the National Resources page of the LGBTQA WebCenter.
Will my loved one get AIDS?
It is important to share safe sex practices with your loved one regardless of sexual orientation. If they practice safe sex by always using a condom, water based lubricant and also does not share needles, they greatly minimize any risk associated with contracting HIV/AIDS.
It is also valuable to remember that HIV is not a gay disease; Everyone is at risk. All individuals should be educated in how to prevent being infected with HIV. Prevention is the best solution as there is no cure.
Will my child become a pedophile?
It is a common serotype the pedophilia is synonymous with the LGBTQ community. This is not true. Pedophilia and other forms of child abuse mainly happen in the child’s home environment and are most often perpetrated by a family member or close friend of the family.