An anonymous woman using the handle jane_trousers has taken to Reddit to post a rather touching request for advice, all because she suspects her 12-year-old son is gay and wants to do everything she can to help him adjust.
“He’s flamboyant and somewhat effeminate,” she writes. “He likes dancing, musicals, My Little Pony, and other things that check the boxes. All good.”
But she’s not sure he knows he’s gay yet (or if he really is gay).
Nevertheless, something he said this week broke her heart:
This week he became upset because a friend saw his My Little Pony drawings. One of the things he said to me that broke my heart was “I hate who I am.” He feels the need to hide parts of his personality to his friends. Maybe he’s right.
So her question to other Redditors is this:
“What help or advice did you receive when you were younger that helped you come to terms with who you are?”
Responses poured in at once.
“Just give him love and support,” says dsiman. “He will come out if/when he is ready.”
Don’t pressure him. One thing in particular, do not ask him if he is gay. He might not be ready to come out and asking him that makes him feel pressured. Just keep doing what you do and love him and give him loads of support. Just be a great parent and encourage him to be himself no matter who is watching.
Majeric thinks it’s important for parents to be proactive. “Part of the birds and the bees talk should include LGBT-affirming language.”
“In addition to loving him the best you can, you should talk to him about why he feels that way,” says YourFairyGodmother. “No need to even bring up the gay angle. He feels the need to hide parts of his personality not because he’s gay but because he’s not like the others and kids especially are hard on others.”
“I think that you should do as much as you can to normalize it in your household,” Georgeishungry offers. “Talk about it openly, perhaps tell stories of your gay friends (without just doing so because “hey want to hear about my gay friend from college?”).”
“Be subtle but make it clear that you’re providing a loving and caring home for him, which is wonderful.”
So, any advice you’d like to offer? What do you wish your parents told you while you were growing up? Weigh in in the comments below.