What Not to Say to the Parent of a Gay Child
In May of 2012 I came out as the parent of a gay child. My daughter, now 20, came out to her father and me nearly four years ago, and thankfully, we are in a much better place as a family than ever before. One of the things I find difficult at times is how to react to comments and questions from people when they find out that my daughter is gay. Quite often I feel like my heart breaks because, intended or not, certain remarks simply hurt. As a parent I want the best for my children and never want to see them hurt, struggling, unhappy or ridiculed because of who they are. Hoping to bring awareness and sensitivity to the subject, I wanted to share a list of what I consider inappropriate things to say to a parent, sibling or family member of a gay person.
How did that happen? Quite honestly, I do not know how that or a lot of other things happen. That’s just the way it is. Placing blame does nothing more than create anxiety, and life itself has enough anxiety without creating more.
What are you going to do about it? Nothing. What am I supposed to do? I tried being angry and that didn’t do anything but hurt her and nearly ruin our relationship. What I realized I had to do when I found out was come to the conclusion that my daughter is living her life the best way she knows how. She follows her heart, lives with purpose and loves without condition. I’d say that’s all that needs to be done about it.
I’m sorry. Why are you sorry? My daughter is healthy, happy, intelligent and loved. What more could I ask for? "Sorry" is not in our vocabulary.
Maybe it’s a phase. Toddlers go through phases. As I have watched my daughter mature and nurture the relationship she’s currently in, I’m pretty sure it’s not a phase. But then again, all relationships go through phases. We meet, we start dating, we fall in love, we get married (or whatever it is we choose to do), we decide to have children, our children grow up, we get old, etc. So yeah, maybe it is a phase after all.
It’s a shame you won’t have grandchildren. Says who? There are tons of children in this world just waiting to be adopted. Just because my daughter chooses not to give birth doesn’t mean she can’t be a mother. I happen to believe she would make an awesome momma someday.
I know gay people! Really? That’s wonderful, but why does that matter? One’s sexuality should not be what defines them as a person or be the first thing discussed when meeting them. I don’t introduce myself by saying “Hi, I’m Karla and I’m straight,” nor does my daughter introduce herself as gay.
Well, you know what the Bible says. Yes, I know what the Bible says. The Bible tells us not to lie, steal, cheat, murder, etc. I wonder why it is that we (society) choose to pick out sexuality as the topic of choice. My family chooses to live a life of love and acceptance, which we believe is what our Creator wants us to do.
In a perfect world there would be no need for me to write this list. In a perfect world everyone would get along, live their lives and accept others' differences without judgment, condemnation, hate or bigotry. The old saying “think before you speak” is exactly what we need to do, not just when it comes to homosexuality but in any situation where differences are being discussed; after all, we are all different.