What if Your Child Was Gay? Not the Answer You’d Expect

12.6.11

My friend called today and wanted an honest answer to a very difficult question. We’ve been friends for more than 20 years. I knew that he was having a tough time with his own mother, but I wasn’t clear as to the extent of it.

He asked me what I would do if one of my kids was gay.

I have never been asked the question, so I’ve never answered it for anyone because my answer will soothe neither parent nor child.

If either of my children are gay there will be a period of mourning. I am not worried about their souls, their social life or the limitations that could be placed on their careers though those would have been valid concerns a few short years ago (not the souls, but the careers). I wouldn’t be grossed out or wondering where I went wrong because it’s all just love and parents have little to do with who we love. I wouldn’t be angry, but I would experience a loss and I’m pretty sure most parents of gay children experience the loss to some degree.

When each of my children was born I started mapping out their futures. Obviously they have free will and probably some different plans than I have, but I looked at my newborn daughter and imagined her starting school one day, and then college. When I’d let my mind wander I imagined her wedding and wondered how old she’d be when she became a mother. With my son I fantasized about him taking after his father. I dreamt of him being taller than me and striding down the aisle to wait for his bride.

Before my children had uttered their first words I’d daydreamed about their futures. I dreamed of my children replicating the best and most important moments of my and my husband’s lives. I only have one frame of reference.

So I told my friend the truth. I explained to him that if one of my children was gay I would be very sad. I’d have to mourn the dreams that I had for them. After that mourning I’d have new dreams. Dreams that would involve two brides, or two grooms. Dreams that could include adopting a baby or having one another way. I’d hope that they’d avoid colleges in parts of the country where they’d be put in harms way.

I don’t think my mourning would last very long and I’m constantly surprised by parents who are shocked when their children come out.

As a parent I never know what I’m going to do. I was a great mother before there were any kids, but now that they’re here I’m pretty sure I’m making a mess of things. There’s nothing my children could do to make me stop loving them, but when they force you to rearrange your dreams I think it’s hard for any parent.

So, yes. I would cry but it wouldn’t be because I didn’t love them and it certainly wouldn’t be because they disappointed me.