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When your child is gay…

Last year my child told us they were pan-sexual.

At the time, though it was a surprise, I felt no different, I was pleased they knew they could talk to me and I was happy to know they felt comfortable enough to be themselves in a difficult and sometimes prejudiced world, but honestly? My thought process didn’t go much further than that.

Over a year on I thought I’d share my feelings about having a gay child and how my feelings have changed.

Well, one thing has been them telling me they were non-binary. I’ll be totally honest here, I really wasnt too sure what that meant. But after some googling and talking to my child about it, I have a much better understanding.

Theyre now 15 (how has this happened so quickly?! I’m sure I was changing nappies and freaking them out by watching Death Becomes Her only yesterday!!!) They prefer the pronouns they and them and sometimes I struggle with this. Not so much with the they/them but more when I’m describing them as my child.

Daughter or son flows off my tongue so much easier than child, I sometimes feel child or kid sounds less emotional, if that makes sense? I feel a bit like a Victorian mother saying “my child has done….”

Our relationship has never been closer, and the same goes with my husband. They share lots of things about their life (as much as any 15 year old does!) and we talk about anything and everything. (Including an in depth discussion about how a threesome with two men and one woman actually works!)

The biggest change for me has been how protective I feel.  Of course I am momma bear with all my kids, but it’s opened my eyes to the amount of bigotry that is all around me and I want to stand in front of them and protect them from ever hearing or seeing these things. I want to wrap a big blanket around us both and bat away any horrid or stupid or ignorant comments.

I know I can’t do this. And it hurts me to my soul.

I know they will face ignorant and hateful people throughout their life. I know people who don’t understand or don’t want to understand will push them away. I know that they will hurt sometimes.

I also know that those bigots will miss out on knowing one of the most amazing human beings on earth. My child is so kind, loving, funny, deep, silly, loyal, sensitive and fucking awesome.

Seriously, they’re my hero and make me want to be a better person every day.

I see things I didn’t see before. I see more of the comments on social media, not so much that they’re openly homophobic or hateful, more the snide comments that suggest anyone who isn’t cis gender is something of an attention seeker. Or that they’re something to be joked about and mocked. The comments or images where gender is questioned or laughed at.

Ive also opened myself up to a whole new world (for me) of language and understanding of gender and sexuality, I’m learning new terms and gaining a better understanding. This can be a bit scary, I feel afraid as a heterosexual cis gender woman to ask questions sometimes.

I’m afraid to say the wrong thing and upset someone, I don’t want to look like a tourist! But I think it’s important for me to educate myself so I can understand my child.

I even worry about posting this. I don’t want to put my voice above my child’s but I have always talked about being a mum on this blog and it seems worse to not talk about this than to be open. As with all my posts about my kids, they get to read and veto anything they’d rather I didn’t say publicly though.

Though my instinct is to stand in front of my child to fend off any negativity, I think the thing I’ve learnt is that I can’t do that. But I can stand right beside them, with my hand on their shoulder and my love in their heart so they know whatever they face in life, momma bear will always be right with them.

 

Love Sam xx

 

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