Thank you for reaching out to our organization! I definitely think you came to the right place.
I would be really curious to hear more about your reasons for thinking your daughter might not like other girls or be a lesbian?
At first, with the information you provided here, I would tend to believe she is capable of understanding herself and how she feels a little better than you do. You are not inside her head, but she is. I can assure you that she is her own individual, fully equipped with her own thoughts and feelings and the capacity to read and understand them.
At 13 you might think she’s too young to know those types of things, that she isn’t thinking about boys or girls in that way yet. That’s fair, but the thing is that romantic and sexual feelings can take various forms and begin at different ages for different people. It’s definitely possible to figure out you like girls at this age, even without fully realizing or experimenting what a serious relationship might be like. Sometimes you just know, even if you don’t know how you know.
Do you think you would have had the same reaction if your 13 year old son would have told you he had a girlfriend? For some reason, same gender relationships and attraction is viewed as less valid, more suspicious or dangerous, something that requires maturity and experience to understand the risks. In reality, liking some people or not is fairly simple. The world as changed a lot in the past few decades, being gay isn’t as hard as it used to be. Lack of acceptance and discrimation against LGBTQ+ people still exist, but it’s most definately possible to grow up as a lesbian and to live a very safe, healthy and happy life.
Lesbian or not, you’re daughter remains your daugther, and this will likely change quite little in her life.
Taking the step of telling you about her sexual orientation must have taken a lot of courage, and it might have been pretty disappointing for her to see you react with doubt and disbelief. It’s likely that she has been thinking about this for a while and was expecting some kind of encouragement or recognition on your part. I hope that in time, after you have thought it out and you start to accept this news, you are able to have another conversation with your daughter where you can express how much you care about her, that you want what’s best for her and that you believe her.
If you would like some tools or more information, I can recommend the following :
- Understanding Gay & Lesbian Identities – The Trevor Project
- Coming Out: Information for Parents of LGBTQ Teens – Healthy Children and the American Academy of Pediatrics
- Family Acceptance Within Families of Color Recording & Training Toolkit – PFLAG
- Our Children: Questions and answers for families of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender-expansive and queer youth and adults – PFLAG
- Advice to parents on raising a happy and healthy LGBTQ child – The Washington Post
Finally, regarding therapy, while I do think it can be a great help for her mental health and wellbeing, you have to know that under any circumstance it will not make her any less lesbian or stop her from liking girls. It simply doesn’t work this way. There have been attempts to “change” people’s sexual orientation through “therapeutic” means, a terribly damaging and misleading process known as conversion therapy. Conversion therapy doesn’t make people straight, it just hurts and confuses them. For more information, please read this article from GLAAD or this one from No Conversion Canada.
Hope this answer helps a little bit. I understand this still comes as a shock and isn’t exactly easy to deal with. Wishing all the best to you and your family,
Maxime, peer support agent for AlterHeros
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