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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    We think our child is gay... what should we do?

    Although our son has dated girls in the past, we can tell he is unable to become fully emotionally invested in these relationships. We also found some male magazines in his room. There are a lot of small signs that we, as parents, have picked up on. What should we do if we think our son is gay? Should we confront him or wait until he comes to us?
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  • 1


    Dr Will Pascoe

    HealthShare Member

    I definitely agree with Grant's wise reply and would just emphasise the point that your son is quite possibly exploring his life in relation to his sexuality and perhaps in other areas too.
    The most important thing to remember is that love is unconditional. There are no ifs or buts in love.
    I'm a little concerned that you used the word “confront” and can only hope that you don't mean it to carry a negative connotation. Hopefully you mean “approach” or similar.
    Just love your son unconditionally and all will be well.
    Best wishes,


  • 1


    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    I think that both Grant and Will have offered you wise counsel.

    The only additional thought that I would offer is that I guess that your son is adolescent. It is quite common for people at that age to be fluid as to where they may be on the gay/straight/bi sexual preference spectrum. That is completely normal.

  • 1


    Ash Rehn

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Sex Therapist, Social Worker

    Mental Health Medicare Provider of focussed psychological strategies, Counsellor & Therapist specialising in ‘sex addiction’, pornography issues, gay counselling, online therapy. For more information: View Profile

    Generally parents want the best for their offspring. But sometimes acting with best intentions can implicitly convey certain expectations, for example, that a child behaves in a certain way or fulfills certain criteria when relating to others. I was curious about the idea around your son not being ‘fully emotionally invested’ in relationships. Is that an expectation you have of him?

    We are living in a time when young people particularly are under a lot of pressure to position their sexual identity, for example as ‘heterosexual’ or ‘homosexual’. Such an expectation has arisen from the growing acceptance of gay identity and the contemporary dominance of the notion of a genetic basis for sexual orientation. So it is not surprising that parents assume they have a role to play in assisting their child to align with a particular identity category.

    I'd suggest that the important thing here is that you demonstrate love and acceptance to your son. In many families, neither the ‘confrontation’ nor the ‘coming out’ occurs: the development of sexual identity just happens organically and there is a parallel acceptance by parents of who their child is becoming. Knowing who we are is a journey and happens over time. If you can step back and accept the choices your son makes around how and in who he ‘invests’ his emotions, while similtaneously showing him love and respect, things will probably work out just fine.

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