This is Life, Based on a True Story  

When your kid comes out

It’s a typical weekday evening after work. You’re prepping supper and the news is on in the background.

Your teens are doing homework and playing on their phones in their rooms. As you take a sip of wine, you see your son approach.

He seems fidgety and timid. He can’t quite look you in the eye when he says he needs to talk.

Your mind goes to every awful place it can go to and you shift your focus from dinner prep to him.

He has a hard time saying whatever it is he wants to tell you and he starts telling you a story about some kids at school who were bullying him and his friends.

Your son and his friends are being bullied because one of them is gay. Your son is very indignant that it shouldn’t matter and why can’t kids just mind their own business.

As he looks up to meet your eyes, you see tears in his. Your cool, typical teenager, confident boy is suddenly a small, unsure, scared child desperately seeking approval from you. From anyone.

It’s at that moment you know. Your son is trying to tell you he’s gay.

And he’s hurting.

And he needs to know he has a safe place to land. And he needs you to be that safe place.

But his fear of telling anyone, even you, his most closely guarded secret, has outweighed any logical thoughts for him.

And now it’s come to a point where he needs to be open with those who love him the most.

If this were you: 

  • how would you have reacted?
  • what would you say to your child?
  • what would your body language display?

In this day and age of acceptance, this scenario is becoming one many parents are facing. Maybe you’re one of them.

As a parent, it’s a difficult thing to hear and accept. Simply because we all want what’s best for our kids.

Despite the ever-widening acceptance of our LGBTQ communities, gay people still a harder life. And what parent in their right mind would wish for something to be harder for their children?

The good news is that kids/teens are becoming more open about their sexuality earlier and feeling more secure about telling their inner circles.

While there has been some debate about someone in their teens or younger being too young to know with certainty what their sexual preferences for a lifetime will be, I stand strongly behind the belief that it’s not up to parents to make this decision for our kids.

Mostly because it’s not a decision; it’s who they are.

Anyone who identifies as LGBTQ knows that they’re likely going to be subject to a lifetime of judgment and sometimes disdain … but only by those who refuse to understand or open their minds.

So if they know this, why would they choose this? Especially as teens or younger.

These are the ages when they’re dying to be like their peers. Why would they want to stand out as different?

So back to my original question: how would you react to your child telling you they’re gay?

Well … I can only draw upon my own experience.

While the scenario I first described is different from how I found out, the emotions behind it and the questions I feared and faced, were all mine.

I chose to love my son for who he is.

He is an amazing, kind, loving, ridiculously smart, funny human being. He chooses to love without condition, accept with abandon, laugh with freedom and genuinely be who he feels he is.

His friends adore him. His family more so. If he had a fan club, there would be too many fans to count.

He is as unique and brave as one can be in this situation. It has made him wiser and more empathetic for anyone in any situation facing adversity.

So how would you react?

My hope is that it would be with a hug … or a high-five.

Thanks for reading.


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About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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