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Most parents have a clue that their child is gay but tend to dismiss it and hope it isn’t true.

Is homosexuality a mental illness that can be treated?

This scenario has been played out across the world for years and years.  Your child, either at a young age or after he or she has reached adulthood, informs you that he or she is gay. For the child this is like a rebirth for him or her; they can now live their life in the way they understand they should live it.  However disturbing or painful it might be for the parents, the most important thing is, your child faced his or her biggest fear; telling you he or she is gay and is looking for your acceptance.  

For a very long time society as well as philologists considered homosexuality as a mental disorder that could be treated and the individual could be “cured” from this illness.  After many, many years of research those in the field of psychology de-classified homosexuality as a mental illness stating this type of sexual preference represent a normal type of human experience; they are, in fact, just normal ways that humans bond.  Societies mandate what is normal or abnormal and thus is the reason so many homosexuals remain “in the closet” for fear of ridicule from family and peers as well as society in general.  Being homosexual is as natural to them as being straight is to those of us who are not homosexual.  It is not something they can help being; it’s like trying to make a straight person gay; they were born homosexual; they didn’t become homosexual.

As a parent how can I help my child?

It can be very difficult as a parent to understand how or why your child is homosexual, or as some people may put it, “different” than the rest of us.  To your child and to all homosexuals, we are different to them; they can’t imagine being in a male/female relationship just as straight people can’t imagine seeing themselves in a same sex relationship. 

The best thing you can do for your child is to accept his or her sexual preference and not be judgmental.  If you, as the parent, make your child feel that he or she is a lower class person because of their sexuality, you may end up losing them in the long run.  What if your child came up to you and said, “Mom and dad, I’m heterosexual”?  You wouldn’t think anything of it and you would probably say something like, “Ok”.  But because homosexuality is such a stigma according to societies norms, a person who proclaims a different sexual preference than what the social norms are, is bound to receive a great deal of prejudice and discrimination. 

Let your child know that the only thing you want for him or her is to be happy and in fact, as a parent, that is what we all want for our children. 

My child was raised a Christian; isn’t homosexuality a sin?

There are still many denominations in religion that shun homosexual practices and consider it a sin against God.  However, more modern Christian churches have embraced and accepted homosexuality and welcome parishioners into their churches.  Again, it is society that has stamped the stigma on homosexuals as being immoral and sinful; modern and enlightened churches disagree with the stigma and feel that God loves us all, no matter who we are or what our sexual preferences are. 

 

Homosexuality stereotypes and discrimination


Although society has come a long way from years past concerning the homosexual movement cross-culturally, there are still many people who believe that it is wrong and will most certainly voice their opinions about it.  There are some who think and will call gay people “sick, perverted, and ungodly”, and there will still be employers who will not hire a person because of their sexual preference.  It is no legal to fire or not hire a person because of their sexual preference, but they will find loop-holes and make it so the person is not hired or gets fired. 

For many years the military would not accept homosexuals into their services; as it stands now they get by with the “no tell” system, whereas the individual who is wishing to enter into the military, just doesn’t mention the fact that they are gay. 

What term is politically correct to use?

There are several terms that homosexuals prefer; homosexual, gay, or lesbian are the preferred terms.  But you have to remember that these terms are labels that society has placed on homosexuals; you don’t see straight people being defined or called out as heterosexuals. 

Homosexuals are just the same as heterosexuals; we should not be putting labels on them any more than we should be labeling minority races.  Society simply needs to stop classifying people by color, ethnicity, and sexual preference and once that has been accomplished people can live happier and more normal lives.

Getting past the stigma of homosexuality 

For parents who have just been told by their child that he or she is gay is one of those shocking moments in life.  Your child doesn’t know how you will take this kind of information and is fearful you will think less of him or her.  You should be proud of your child for facing his or her fears and openly discussing this issue with you.  There are so many kids and adult alike still living in the closet too fearful to face the stigma attached to being homosexual.  There are even homosexuals who will marry and have children, trying to force a different sexuality onto themselves that they are not comfortable with just to please their parents and by-pass the social implications of what it means to be gay. 

The homosexual movement has come a long way over the past years and some states have now made it legal for homosexuals to marry and receive benefits that straight couples receive.  Other states have made provisions that allow the homosexual employee to claim his or her partner as a companion and thus allow them to include their partner on their medical insurance plans. 

Society has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go; not only about the stigma of being homosexual but also how labeling gay people tends to set them apart from the rest of society.  It is a slow process but at least it is moving forward.  Just love your child for who he or she is and allow him or her to be happy with whatever decisions they make concerning their sexuality. 

  • www.apa.org/topics/sorientation.html
  • www.outproud.org/brochure_for_parents.html