Helping Straight Parents of Gay Children (Part 1 – Putting the Difference in Perspective)

Nothing is more heartless than saying you understand another’s situation. There might be similar aspects, but no psychologist, pastor, therapist, or friend really understands another’s unique situation. That is the first thing I want you to understand. I do not know your personality, the personality of your child, your family relationship or your unique situation and I do not want to pretend that I do. I can however help you to understand some aspects of the situation you are in.

Some groups in the Middle East hate all Americans and some white South Africans hate all black people. Some Americans hate all Muslims and some Africans hate all the white South Africans. Why is that? If you ask these people why they hate a whole group of individuals, they would give you a stereotypical picture that they use to tag every individual in the group. They believe that every individual in that specific group are exactly the same. It sounds ridiculous if you happen to know the group they hate, but for them it is the absolute truth and their truth blinds them to the point of hatred. In actual fact we all know that all groups consist of a variety of people. Individuals you would’ve considered to befriend if you just knew them, and individuals you wouldn’t like at all. Bigots simplify all groups as if every person in that group is the same and then it hates the group without any rhyme or reason. The only reason for the hate is the fact that the people they hate are from a different group; a group they do not know. From there the saying – a stranger is a friend you do not know.

Homophobia is a form of bigotry and it is based on the same ridiculous grounds as the examples above. Some straight people hate gay people without any solid ground. In actual fact straight people and gay people are 99% the same. They are merely friends you do not know.

If you realise this, you have come a long way. You know your child better than anybody else. You know his/her strong points and weaknesses. You know the personality traits you love about them and you know the aspects you don’t. The only thing you didn’t know was their sexual orientation. Parents often think that sexual orientation changes everything and actually it changes almost nothing; 99% is still exactly the same. If your son is good in sports, his sexual orientation won’t take that away. It might complicate things if his team members are homophobic, but his abilities won’t change at all. Your daughter is still the same person with the same abilities, and the same personality. Her sexual orientation didn’t change anything.

If 99% is still the same there is no reason to overreact. A black nice guy who is known for the fact that he helps where he can is no different from a white guy with the same personality. Would you really prefer a white neighbour with an unacceptable personality above a black neighbour that is a nice person? No, that would be stupid. That is why racism and bigotry is stupid and that is why homophobia is just as stupid. Concentrate on the similarities and you will realize that your child is still the person you love with the same smile and the same adoring heart.


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