20 May 2002

Why Is My Child Gay?

Why Is My Child Gay?

Équipe -Pose ta question!-

Parents often ask this question for a number of reasons: they may be grieving over losing an image of their child; they feel they did something wrong; they feel that someone “led” their child into homosexuality; or they wonder if there is a biological cause of homosexuality.

Some parents react with shock, denial and anger to the news that their child is gay. One response is to wonder, “How could she do this to me?” This is not a rational reaction, but it is a human response to pain. We liken this reaction to a grieving process: here, you are grieving over losing an image of your child. As you work through your feelings, you may discover that the only thing your child has “done” to you is to trust that your relationship could grow as a result of you knowing the truth about him or her.

You may feel that your child has been led into homosexuality by someone else. It is a popular misconception that homosexuals “recruit.” The truth is that no one “made” your child gay. He or she has most likely known that he or she was “different” for a very long time no person or group of people “converted” your child.

Other parents believe feel that their parenting is the cause of their child’s sexual identity. For years, psychology and psychiatry have bandied around theories that homosexuality is caused by parental personality types the dominant female, the weak male or by the absence of same-gender role models. Those theories are no longer accepted within psychiatry and psychology, and part of PFLAG’s work focuses on erasing these myths and misconceptions from our popular culture.

Gay people come from all types of families. Some have dominant mothers, while others may have dominant fathers, while others may already have two mothers or two fathers. Gay men, lesbians and bisexuals are only children and they’re youngest, middle and oldest children. They come from families with siblings who are gay and families with siblings who are not gay. Many come from what society would consider “model” families.

Many parents wonder if there is a genetic or biological basis to homosexuality. While there are some studies on homosexuality and genetics, there are no conclusive studies to date on the “cause” of homosexuality. In the absence of this data, we would encourage you to ask yourself why it is important for you to know why.

Does support or love for your child rely on your ability to point to a cause? Do we ask heterosexual people to justify their sexuality that way? Remember that gay, lesbian and bisexual people exist in every walk of life, religion, nationality and racial background. Therefore, all gay people, like straight people, are very different and have come into their sexual identity in very different ways. Although we may be curious, it is really not that important to know why your child is gay in order to support and love him or her.


Adapted from “Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People” written by PFLAG