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Suggestions for parents when a child comes out as gay

Members of gay youth center pose with a gray-haired elected official (male).

(Photo: Flickr/George Miller)

Suggestions for parents when a child comes out as gay

June 27, 2013

Q: My son has just told me that he is gay. I know the general attitude is that it is the way a person is born. However, he has a memory of something that happened to him as a child which might have turned him away from women. I think counseling might be a good idea, but I wonder if he wasn't born gay. Or maybe this incident changed his orientation?

A: Thanks for reaching out about this. If your son has had a history of sexual abuse, then that is more about power and dominance of the abuser and does not by itself lead one to being homosexual.

I think therapy could be useful for him if he hasn't received any since this terrible incident in his life, but I don't recommend therapy if it is a way for you to try and change his orientation.

He had a lot of strength to come out to you, and I do hope that you can support him in whatever he needs around this time. There is an organization (PFLAG) that you may want to look into to get yourself some support and more information so that you as a parent can do what is needed to provide support for him and for yourself.

It can be a bit jarring to hear this about your child, and you are left with a myriad of feelings about it. This is normal. I do not belive that incident from childhood "turned" him gay.

-- Answer from Jennifer K., a counselor on JustAnswer.

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