Need Help With Homophobic Parents, Please Read

akexandra90

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(DISCLAIMER I am a guy "akexandra" is just a username I use for privacy)

Hello Everyone and thanks for taking the time to my story...

All my life I was my parents golden boy, but we started to have a difficult relationship when I came out around the age of 18, they are very religious(catholic) and believe than being gay is not natural. Having said that, they love me very very much and have always wanted the best for me, the problem is that their idea of what's best for me is to live a life as a straight man (which is impossible for me to do). We've been struggling with this issue for years, at first I was very scared and thought I needed to change to be a good person, so they tried to send me with some priests to talk me out of it, they also sent me with a religious psychologist who claimed he could treat homosexuality. After a few sessions of this I realized how wrong these people were and fought back, told my parents I did not want to go anymore and that I wanted to stop talking about the topic. A few years passed and we never really talked about it, they knew I still gay but I guess they refused to accept it so they just ignored it. I came out to my brother (he found some messages on my phone) and he accepted me without hesitation.
Since I was very insecure about my sexuality hooking up or dating has always been hard for me and when I was 22 and not at all experienced I had unprotected sex with a guy who was 30, I told him I did not really want to have sex but he found his way to convince/force me to do it. It was a terrible experience and for a while I was super scared he possibly gave me HIV, since he told me he hooked up all the time with other guys and that he also had a boyfriend. I was still living at home when this happened so my parents knew something was up, I could not eat or sleep and I was anxious all the time. It was a really rough time for me, I eventually told my dad what happened, I thought he was going to be furious but he took me to the doctor and gave me a hug, he said my health was what mattered most, he also told my mom who freaked out but also because of my health, not so much about me sleeping with another man. Turns out I did not get anything from that guy. We never talked about it ever again.
Here's the thing sometimes the topic will come out and they will state that they do not agree with that lifestyle, that it isn't natural, but that ultimately is my choice and I'll be the one living with the consequences. I know they are trying to deal with it somehow, I do not want to lose them. My mom once told me that the only thing she cared about was me, she did not care that I was gay but that my dad would never accept it. Today I am 25 years old and just the other day I had a talk with my dad and he expressed his concern about my romantic life and sexual choices (Now that I do not live at home anymore). I told him that maybe in order to have an opinion about something he should investigate about it, truly know about what being gay is like. I told him that if i recommended a book or something to him about the topic would he read/watch it, and he said yes (it took him a while to say it).

SOOOOO MY QUESTION IS: What would be a good book or maybe even a movie or conference that can educate them about the reality of being gay? that we are just people like everybody else. I think "Boy Erased" would be a good one but I'm looking for recommendations, I really hope to have a good relationship with my parents, I do love them a lot and I feel like this is a very unique opportunity.

THANK YOU FOR READING
 

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Wow, I have to say, those have been some tough times.
I wish you all the best, mate!
Now, I watched Love Simon, and it seemed like a good enough movie to tell others that gay is normal. Another one is Handsome Devil (there’s a debate about it somewhere), and maybe even Brokeback mountain. I found that last one as excellent. Hope these work and have a safe quarantine!
 
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This is a very helpful site for parents who struggle with their childs orientation: For Parents Of A Gay Child | How To Come Out | Gay Sons | Lesbian Daughters

Wish that would have been around when my Nephew was alive so his parents could have dealt with the fact that their son was gay. My brother and sister in law never accepted it. Even after he passed away from complications from aides. His older Brother pretty much knew he was gay from a very early age but never said anything. These 2 boys grew up in the late 60's and 70's in a smaller city in Missouri. The gay brother was a very talented with music and theater through HS and went to college in Houston, TX and became a male nurse. Houston, TX from what I heard has quite the gay scene from what I heard from my Sister who also accepted her Nephew as gay and he confided in her a bit and discussed what he was doing with her. My Sister and I are very close and we talked a bit about our gay Nephew and what he was doing. He being a nurse signed up and worked as a nurse contractor and the company he worked for got him work in several cities around the USA. The last assignment he had was in New York, NY which is where he passed away at the age of 47. His body was shipped back to his parents and they buried him in a very quiet funeral in their family plot. The parents never got to see him much after he left for college in Houston, TX. He was just out of HS until he passed at 47YO. If they could have read something I think it would have helped my Brother and Sister in law accept the fact that their #2 Son was gay. Very Sad story really. All my Nephew wanted was for his parents to accept HIM.
 
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(DISCLAIMER I am a guy "akexandra" is just a username I use for privacy)

Hello Everyone and thanks for taking the time to my story...

All my life I was my parents golden boy, but we started to have a difficult relationship when I came out around the age of 18, they are very religious(catholic) and believe than being gay is not natural. Having said that, they love me very very much and have always wanted the best for me, the problem is that their idea of what's best for me is to live a life as a straight man (which is impossible for me to do). We've been struggling with this issue for years, at first I was very scared and thought I needed to change to be a good person, so they tried to send me with some priests to talk me out of it, they also sent me with a religious psychologist who claimed he could treat homosexuality. After a few sessions of this I realized how wrong these people were and fought back, told my parents I did not want to go anymore and that I wanted to stop talking about the topic. A few years passed and we never really talked about it, they knew I still gay but I guess they refused to accept it so they just ignored it. I came out to my brother (he found some messages on my phone) and he accepted me without hesitation.
Since I was very insecure about my sexuality hooking up or dating has always been hard for me and when I was 22 and not at all experienced I had unprotected sex with a guy who was 30, I told him I did not really want to have sex but he found his way to convince/force me to do it. It was a terrible experience and for a while I was super scared he possibly gave me HIV, since he told me he hooked up all the time with other guys and that he also had a boyfriend. I was still living at home when this happened so my parents knew something was up, I could not eat or sleep and I was anxious all the time. It was a really rough time for me, I eventually told my dad what happened, I thought he was going to be furious but he took me to the doctor and gave me a hug, he said my health was what mattered most, he also told my mom who freaked out but also because of my health, not so much about me sleeping with another man. Turns out I did not get anything from that guy. We never talked about it ever again.
Here's the thing sometimes the topic will come out and they will state that they do not agree with that lifestyle, that it isn't natural, but that ultimately is my choice and I'll be the one living with the consequences. I know they are trying to deal with it somehow, I do not want to lose them. My mom once told me that the only thing she cared about was me, she did not care that I was gay but that my dad would never accept it. Today I am 25 years old and just the other day I had a talk with my dad and he expressed his concern about my romantic life and sexual choices (Now that I do not live at home anymore). I told him that maybe in order to have an opinion about something he should investigate about it, truly know about what being gay is like. I told him that if i recommended a book or something to him about the topic would he read/watch it, and he said yes (it took him a while to say it).

SOOOOO MY QUESTION IS: What would be a good book or maybe even a movie or conference that can educate them about the reality of being gay? that we are just people like everybody else. I think "Boy Erased" would be a good one but I'm looking for recommendations, I really hope to have a good relationship with my parents, I do love them a lot and I feel like this is a very unique opportunity.

THANK YOU FOR READING

It sounds as though your parents are much better with you than my Brother and Sister in Law was with my Nephew. I do wish the best for you. Do what you can do to get your parents to accept this as it is difficult for all 3 of you. We all have to learn to LIVE and LET LIVE. Has your Brother tried to talk with his parents? Don't know if that would help with your parents or not. No matter how difficult it might get for you keep the line of communication open with both your parents. Never just give up and shut them out of your life no matter what. It sounds as though you are as I am very sure telling your parents and them making sure you see a medical Physician was an opening it sounds to me. At 25 are you working on a career? Get them focusing on your career if you have your career inline discuss what you are doing in your career. Your career should be of importance to them I know it would be to me and my wife if we had a child that was gay. I do feel though we would have recognized this before they came out of the closet as gay though. Good luck with your life and I hope you are not dwelling on this to much. You do need to move on and make your life. Just keep the lines of communication open with your parents.
 

halcyondays

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Gay For Dummies :cool:

Sorry. That title doesn't exist. Couldn't help taking a swipe at your father there.;)

I never came out as bi to my folks. As loving as they were they were SET in their ways. They could not think outside the box of the heteronormative religion (yeah, catholic) in which they had been indoctrinated from childhood.

Give him a book. He might read it but don't get your hopes up. The good news is he's known for seven years. It might be like water over granite but perhaps his resistance has softened a bit. Or opened a few cracks.

He's spent his whole life thinking homosexuality is wrong. Immoral. Evil. It's going to take more than a few years for him to change, if ever.

Don't torture yourself wishing he understood your experience. I know you really want him to get you, but let it go. Just let it go.

What's important is that you remain true to yourself.

they are very religious(catholic) and believe than being gay is not natural.

Not natural? Remind them the universe is a natural event and everything that happens in it is natural.

If they counter that not everything natural is good, ask them why they're arguing that natural is good in the first place!
 
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Sometimes as parents it's difficult to accept that your child isn't what you think they are or should be. Knowing that they love you however is the most important thing.

Expecting them to give you their seal of approval though may be like spitting in the the wind. As a parent my daughter's sometimes do and live differently than I had planned or hoped that they would. As a parent I have earned the right to tell them I don't agree with this, this, and this.

It doesn't mean that I love them any less. Nor does it mean I won't help then when they need help. It does mean I love them unconditionally, as it sounds like your parents do you.

You are their son and they love you. Instead of trying to force them to accept that you are gay. You might be better served by embracing their unconditional love for you. And by showing them through your life that you are still their son. Perhaps you have a project that you need your Dad's help on around your house?

As parents we want our children to be happy, healthy, and independent. It sounds like that your parents only want what is best for you. They love you and that my friend, is the most important thing that should matter.
 

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It's good that you are trying to make your parents more knowledgeable. There perspective comes out of ignorance and fear. They are also from a different generation.

I wouldn't recommend movies really. Most movies are scripted in a way for entertainment purposes. There are plenty of TED talks on YouTube you could find on gay parenting or coming out experiences.

Here is an example:

 
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blabla18p

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It is good to see that they are trying. This can't be taken for granted. I am hoping for things to brighten up for you.

There is a movie called "Prayers for Bobby", with Sygourney Weaver. It is quite depressing, frankly, but it depicts a chrstian family (focusing on the mother) that won't accept their son's sexual orientation, leading to his suicide. Only then do they start to try to understand what being gay meant and what influence their inacceptance had on him.
It is based on a true story (and there is also a book, it seems).

Trailer:
A powerful speech from the movie:

I wish you the best :)
 

StaringIsCaring

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Prayers for Bobby is a hard one to read and emotional. I would recommend just reading it in a day and be done with it.

But it shows the issues with the bible verses and how much a mom can push a gay son away.

Living in sin? By John Shelby Spong analyzes the verses about homosexuality and what they actually meant since this wasn’t even a word at the time.

Sounds like their love for you was more important than their religion so in some ways you are lucky. My parents made my coming out a horrible unending nightmare.
 

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My mom once told me that the only thing she cared about was me, she did not care that I was gay but that my dad would never accept it. Today I am 25 years old and just the other day I had a talk with my dad and he expressed his concern about my romantic life and sexual choices (Now that I do not live at home anymore). I told him that maybe in order to have an opinion about something he should investigate about it, truly know about what being gay is like. I told him that if i recommended a book or something to him about the topic would he read/watch it, and he said yes (it took him a while to say it).

@akexandra90, I join with my fellow board members in wishing you strength as you deal with your parents. I echo @longstroke7's simple message; it sucks that you need to go through this. You don't have to give up. I've had strong, emotional disagreements with close family, but I persisted with them—often simply by distancing myself without closing the door, and more on that below. We have achieved an understanding, if not full acceptance of our differences. (These differences have nothing to do with sexual orientation, by the way.) We're better for it.

I wish I could be as sanguine about your situation as many of my fellow board members. Your parents have known you're gay for seven years, but have only made part of the journey to accepting you.

They have proved their love in many places where it really counted. Your doctor visit at 22 is a really important sign of support from your father, I think. The fact that they haven't spoken of the doctor visit since might be a good sign—they're not bringing it up in recrimination. OTOH, the health scare may have cemented the idea in their heads that being gay is wrong, a problem, dangerous, worth less than being straight. "It's your life, but..." hardly acknowledges your need for love and happiness. And the quote above gives me cause for concern about your mother. "The only thing I care about is you" sounds an awful lot like classic narcissistic manipulation. And the fact that she maintains that it is not she, but your father who is the real barrier (when he's demonstrated differently) smacks of gaslighting. I'd stay cool and objective in dealings with her, if I were you.

Let's game this out. If you give your father a book, he can say "I've read it, but I disagree". It's harder to resist people whom you meet face-to-face. How many gay people has he net? Does he like your friends? Has he talked with other parents of gays? The link which @shard38 shared is a bit dismissive of PFLAG, but it may well be a good move—I've had great experience with with PFLAGgers. And meeting your lovers and partners will prove the real test.

If that doesn't work, IMHO your only option is to detach with love. They have raised you and loved you, for which you are grateful. But now, the only duty you owe to them—to their eventual memory—is to flourish. You owe it to all their hard work, to live a rich, happy life. A good, fulfilling life honours them in the most meaningful way. If they believe in their religion, more than they believe in your happiness, then they've made their choice.

Right now, they haven't changed their behaviour. They've had no incentive. You're a dutiful son, you maintain your relationship with them, and you're taking most of the responsibility to maintain that relationship. It's time for them to reciprocate.

I know the task may be difficult, and heart–wrenching. But I'd stop taking the responsibility for getting them to understand. It's now their responsibility to make YOU understand their position. Why faith is more important than fulfillment. Why the words on the page of the Bible count for more than the flesh-and-blood son sitting in front of them, and countless others like him. If they disapprove of your life choices, then make them a smaller part of the life of which they disapprove. Especially if you've become financially independent. And most especially if and when you bring a partner into your life. They'll notice. And then it's up to them to reach out to you, not the other way around. However heartbreaking it is, you don't need people in your life who disapprove of your "choices".

I started this rather lengthy post by urging you not to give up on your parents. But you're getting to the stage where they've had more than a fair chance to come around. Keep your door open to them, but don't keep providing them with repeated opportunities to disparage you.

If your love for them, and their love for you, doesn't change their minds, then nothing will. Certainly not a book.

My best wishes go with this post.
 
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I know what you are going through is tough. But I have to say, you should be so grateful you have such loving parents that at least are making some effort to understand you. My family is also hyper religious and when I came out, I was basically ostracized from the family for 13 years. Never invited to family dinners, or family reunions or any family events. This was about 20 years ago when being gay was an even bigger issue. I tried to never let their attitudes affect my own love towards them. It was difficult for me to accept that I was gay, how could it be easy for them? Eventually they came around. Met my partner and now he is just a part of the family. I know they still wish I wasn't gay, but they realized this was not some phase I was going through.

What I want to say to you is it does get better. And you are in a much better place than a lot of guys. I always say, "we only have one life, there is no dress rehearsal." So you have to live your life the way you need to and not the way others want you to. Big virtual hug to you. Everything will work out.
 

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I met these parents at a gay Christian conference where they presented their story. If the link does not work google - just because he breathes. It is a true story of their gay son coming out and then their losing him, first because they didn’t accept his homosexuality and then finally though his use of drugs. It was a moving story to hear how this conservative religious family tried to pray the gay away and then realized they love their son, just because he breathes...

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct...=Jk_-9Jlx1Bs&usg=AOvVaw2rCE3wHg5WrKdq5qowgWlh
 

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I never told my parents about me I don't know how they would have handled it, they weren't against gays, but they were very old-fashioned, they're both gone now,I only wish I had the guts to tell them , you're very strong,I really admire you so much, maybe if they met people their own age who are gay it might help them to deal with it better good luck to you,I hope this all works out for you
 

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(DISCLAIMER I am a guy "akexandra" is just a username I use for privacy)

Hello Everyone and thanks for taking the time to my story...

All my life I was my parents golden boy, but we started to have a difficult relationship when I came out around the age of 18, they are very religious(catholic) and believe than being gay is not natural. Having said that, they love me very very much and have always wanted the best for me, the problem is that their idea of what's best for me is to live a life as a straight man (which is impossible for me to do). We've been struggling with this issue for years, at first I was very scared and thought I needed to change to be a good person, so they tried to send me with some priests to talk me out of it, they also sent me with a religious psychologist who claimed he could treat homosexuality. After a few sessions of this I realized how wrong these people were and fought back, told my parents I did not want to go anymore and that I wanted to stop talking about the topic. A few years passed and we never really talked about it, they knew I still gay but I guess they refused to accept it so they just ignored it. I came out to my brother (he found some messages on my phone) and he accepted me without hesitation.
Since I was very insecure about my sexuality hooking up or dating has always been hard for me and when I was 22 and not at all experienced I had unprotected sex with a guy who was 30, I told him I did not really want to have sex but he found his way to convince/force me to do it. It was a terrible experience and for a while I was super scared he possibly gave me HIV, since he told me he hooked up all the time with other guys and that he also had a boyfriend. I was still living at home when this happened so my parents knew something was up, I could not eat or sleep and I was anxious all the time. It was a really rough time for me, I eventually told my dad what happened, I thought he was going to be furious but he took me to the doctor and gave me a hug, he said my health was what mattered most, he also told my mom who freaked out but also because of my health, not so much about me sleeping with another man. Turns out I did not get anything from that guy. We never talked about it ever again.
Here's the thing sometimes the topic will come out and they will state that they do not agree with that lifestyle, that it isn't natural, but that ultimately is my choice and I'll be the one living with the consequences. I know they are trying to deal with it somehow, I do not want to lose them. My mom once told me that the only thing she cared about was me, she did not care that I was gay but that my dad would never accept it. Today I am 25 years old and just the other day I had a talk with my dad and he expressed his concern about my romantic life and sexual choices (Now that I do not live at home anymore). I told him that maybe in order to have an opinion about something he should investigate about it, truly know about what being gay is like. I told him that if i recommended a book or something to him about the topic would he read/watch it, and he said yes (it took him a while to say it).

SOOOOO MY QUESTION IS: What would be a good book or maybe even a movie or conference that can educate them about the reality of being gay? that we are just people like everybody else. I think "Boy Erased" would be a good one but I'm looking for recommendations, I really hope to have a good relationship with my parents, I do love them a lot and I feel like this is a very unique opportunity.

THANK YOU FOR READING

I appreciate how carefully you outlined and detailed your situation. There are a lot of pluses that hopefully give you strength and comfort. Not knowing any more than what is here, I liked the link that was listed above, and you might look into PFLAG - a national organization for parents and friends of lesbian and gays. The have an excellent website and can point you to some helpful material.

You don't say if you are still living at your parents home. If you are, you need to consider moving out to your own place. Even a place across the street will help. This will get you out of the house and give you some space to be you without feeling a need to be on the down low so as not to upset your parents. Next look around for some places to meet people who are gay but not immediately hooking up. You need a set of gay folk to interact with and learn from. At the same time your parents need to see you safely living your own life and being responsible for your own safety and happiness. Don't hide you gay friends but don't go out of your way to create confrontation. A lot of Mom and Dad's worries are based on not understanding that you do have a good an happy future as a gay man. That is alien to how they were raised. You're not going to change them overnight, but overtime seeing you happy and living a good life, not in the shadows will show them there are good things happening for gay people beyond what they have always been limited in knowing. They just need to see you as the adult you are meant to be - not as a son who they love but may be damaged to some degree. Only seeing you happy and independent and safe will show them what they need to see. Good luck. I really feel they are waiting to be led to a place of better understanding and acceptance.
 
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I also have a disapprovingly "tolerant" family. Kudos for trying! Seriously, wow. I kind of envy you, because I can't stand that vulnerable feeling of trying to convince a loved one to accept me. I gave up on that after two or three conversations with them. But I do have a small success story. My sister watched the Imitation Game, which is about Alan Turing helping save the world from the Nazis and being repaid by the state with chemical castration for being gay. All very sad and unjust of course. My sister had NEVER spontaneously said anything positive about gay people but she happened to watch this movie and was chatting about it and I could tell she thought it was heartbreaking that they had done that to him just for being gay.

I don't mean to recommend it per se, but hey, it's a data point.

If your dad needs a "reason" for you being gay (or however you identify), then that TED talk about gay sons that was posted earlier is amazing. The theory is something like...in prehistoric times, heightened intelligence and empathy in a gay son would help their mothers survive.
 

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Thought I'd come in on this topic. I'm a bit older than you, but while my parents are/were not super religious, there was a fear in my about coming out. My dad was your typic 1950's father (born in 1936) and in the late 80's early 90's (in my teen years) there was a lot of negative press about HIV. I never knew then why my dad would change the channel when news of HIV came on. Turns out - he was pretty homophobic and didn't want me to 'catch the gay.' When I was about 17 he found out I Was gay. I had been researching online (the early web) how to come out to your parents. There was almost no material back then, but the evidence was on the computer.

He laid into me. Yelled at me about being gay and never wanting me to be gay. He finally said two things that hurt me. "Not in my lifetime, and not under my roof. You are NOT gay." Harsh words, but - him being my dad, I honored them.

About three years later he was diagnosed with emphysema, and wasn't given long to live. He cried and told me he was upset because he'd never meet my future wife or children.

I kinda closed down after that. He died about a year later when I was 23.

I came out three months later. My mom cried a bit but became accepting. How mind you, in the late 1990's there was no material to help you come out. Turns out the biggest issue my mom had was about HIV. Today we know so much more about the disease. Back then most of the media focused on gay people getting it. But its different now. The reason I bring this up is it seemed to me in your post that a lot of the fear stemmed around HIV and getting sick.

Have your parents talk to a goup called P-Flag. Its a support group for parents of gay individuals. That might be more helpful than any book or anything YOU could say. They will need to process this in their own way.

Society has told THEM being gay is bad. It isn't, but thats all they know. You are dealing with being raised in a negative environment about being gay, and have your own challenges. Working to accept yourself, and having your parents accept you are two separate challenges that may need their own approach.