How to cope when your child isn’t heterosexual 

So recently, our daughter told us that she has a girlfriend and so I thought I’d do a little post about how to cope with this news.

I’m kidding, coping means dealing with a difficult situation. I don’t need to cope with this, it just is and it makes no difference at all to our relationship!

My daughter is an awesome human being, she is kind, caring, funny, intelligent, curious, exciting, passionate, loving, brave, beautiful and a total badass warrior queen.  She makes me so happy and proud for all of these reasons and so her relationships bear no relevance to how I feel about her.

All I have ever wanted is for my children to be happy.  And my role in her coming out is to ensure that she knows that we love and support her in all that she does.

We’ve talked a lot, she’s very open and honest with us and so we give her the same respect back. I have told her that as a heterosexual woman, I can’t know how she feels, but that I am willing to listen, learn and support.  I ask questions, I hear her answers and tell her that though I may not know the answer to any questions she might have, that I can damn sure try to find out.

I told her that as her mum, I hope she can always come to me, but if she feels she can’t, we can talk about adults who she can trust and speak to in privacy.

Has it changed anything? Certainly not in our relationship apart from me realising that she is growing up and dating.  Does it change anything for me personally? I suppose I feel more sensitive to comments I hear about sexuality and homophobia. I have lots of LGBTQ+ friends and would stand up with them against prejudice but it’s probably made me more aware of that prejudice.

when your child is pansexual

It made me check my privilege and realise that my sexuality isn’t questioned by others. That I never worry about holding hands with my partner or showing affection in public. It makes me realise that my sexuality is never an issue for people or up for discussion.

I suppose I do feel slightly more protective to her, I want to be able to shield and defend her from any comments that will upset her.

Some responses I have had, or others have told me about have been:

“It’s a difficult life she will have now”

“Oh, but you’ll never have a big white wedding for her”

“Is it a phase?”

“What about grandchildren?”

“She’s very young to make these choices”

I find these all pretty bonkers.  The wedding and children ones make zero sense. Firstly, I never assumed that she would marry or have children, she may choose not to do either whatever gender her partner is.  And those are things that can happen whoever she is with!

“Is it a phase?” She has told us she is pansexual, this means you are attracted to the person, not the gender. So she may date men, women or transgender men or women in the future. She says she doesn’t know what her future holds but she doesn’t want to rule anything out.  So if by phase, you mean, could she date men in the future, the answer is yes. If you mean, is she trying something new, the answer is yes, this is new.  It makes me uncomfortable for others to question her motives, it’s kind of none of your business.

“It’s a difficult life she will have.” Fuck, life IS difficult! But I’m fairly certain it is more difficult to live a life where you hide your true feelings.  Could she face prejudice in her life. Of course. She’s a woman. It’s going to happen regardless of who she dates.  Does adding pansexuality to the mix mean she could face more prejudice? Yes. But that really is society’s issue and not her burden to bear.

“She’s very young to make these choices” Sexuality isn’t a choice. I never made a conscious decision to be straight, it’s just who I am and it’s the same for her. She isn’t making choices, she is expressing her feelings.

when your child is pansexual

As a half Indian, disabled, working class woman, I have had my fair share of prejudice and it’s not a nice feeling to know others are judging you on aspects of yourself that you have no control over and the same goes for my daughter and her sexuality.

Are you allowed your opinion? Of course! But I’ll warn you now, never bring a negative opinion about this onto my child. Because I’ll go mama bear on your ass and it won’t be pretty…

The only genuine advice I would give to any parents who have recently found out their child is LGBTQ+ is to be open, genuine and accept that you may not be the only person your child needs right now, get googling, there are support groups for kids who may want to talk, my daughter is going to an LGBTQ+ youth club.  Also remember that this isn’t about you.  It’s about them so make them the centre of your thoughts and feelings.

I think something my daughter has appreciated is that we are asking her questions, she’s the only expert of how she is feeling and so I am treating her as such.  In doing this, we can show her that we accept, appreciate and listen to her and that we know we can learn from her.

I am very proud of her, she is a fantastic person and always has been, her passion for learning, kindness of spirit and beautiful soul have ensured that pride.  Yet now Pride has a capital letter in our relationship because her pansexuality is something that changes nothing between us, yet is a huge part of who she is.

So here’s to my daughter, my wonderful, hilarious, intelligent, pansexual queen of a daughter.
Sam xx 

10 replies
  1. Rhonda
    Rhonda says:

    You are an amazing woman an amazing wife an amazing friend and truly an amazing mother. I so look forward to your posts and you are constantly with me being 63 years old inspiring me. I have 4 chemos down and 8 more to go and you always help me stay positive. You are my hero and are a true blessing. Thank you for being you!!!!

    Reply
  2. Dave Pawson
    Dave Pawson says:

    Yes, here’s to your daughter (what a smile!).
    Your tone is bouncing again Sam? Might we hope you’re back on an even keel? I do hope so.
    Very best wishes for 2017.

    Reply
  3. Kat
    Kat says:

    My daughter recently told me she was, I was proud she felt comfortable to tell me, I got in contact with the local LGBT worker for advice on making sure I’m supporting her as best as I can and then when she had her graduation I took her out to buy the shirt and tie she really wanted to wear instead of a dress which she thought she should have to wear!

    Reply
  4. Amanda Winter
    Amanda Winter says:

    Your daughter has had a badass role model to learn from. She is able to be herself with you because you are yourself with her, and that is the most important thing as our children grow up and get ready for the big wide world beyond childhood. My niece came out to me before anyone else, and that makes me incredibly happy, that she sees me in that role, but sad and angry because she has faced prejudice from other family members much closer to her. Your girl is lucky to know her mum is there for her whatever, and yes, being pansexual does come with its difficulties from society, but if she can come home and feel safe and protected, then she will survive and conquer the world 😀

    Reply
  5. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    My now 18 year old son came out to me at 16, so I’ve been there, too, Sam – and this post is so spot on! Your daughter is fortunate to have such great support. Best to you and your family!

    Reply
  6. Alan
    Alan says:

    “So recently our daughter told us…..”
    Please feel proud she felt able to tell you. Many kids can’t.
    Life is tough whatever your sexuality, race, disability etc but I know that for a kid especially to be able to unload something so personal and potentially mind blowing with their parents is a fantastic testament to all concerned. If only more were able to.

    Reply
  7. Cherie
    Cherie says:

    I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Our middle one came out as trans 7 months ago. I’ve heard so many positive comments but also some incredibly hurtful ones, including some from family members.
    I’m so proud of her for being true to herself. I know she has a long road to go before she’s comfortable in her own skin but I’ll be there with her every inch of the way. After all, the only thing that’s changed are the pronouns used to describe her
    We must be doing something right if our kids feel safe enough to open up like this to us

    Reply

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