Missy seems to be unwilling to say she’s gay, and she has been in a same sex relationship for eight months now. I don’t understand.
Her girlfriend Stephanie’s mother is reacting very poorly, best described as an extreme state of DENIAL. Are these normal situations?
Dear MomActually, yes, both situations are very normal. As for your daughter, you have to remember that coming out is a process. It was very brave of her to come out to you while she is still uncertain herself. She must have a lot of trust in you.
What is Normal?Coming out is a journey and no two people take the same course. Some people know from a very early age that they are gay. They may not have the words to describe it, but they know they have attraction to the same sex, the way most of their friends and family do for the opposite. Most of them instinctively know to keep this knowledge private.
For others the journey is more circuitous. They grow up with crushes on the opposite sex and are bowled over when they discover they have feelings for other girls. Because the feelings are so new, and unlike anything they’ve experienced before, they are unwilling to take on a label like lesbian or bisexual. We see this a lot with women who come out after being married. But also, young women like Missy, who are open-minded enough to know they can’t say what the future will hold for them.
Then there are those who, immediately upon discovering their same sex attraction gladly wear the label lesbian or bisexual. For these women, it’s like a light bulb went off. Finally, looking back, their whole life makes sense. Their failed relationships with men, their many close girlfriends, their skill with a bat and ball. (kidding)
Your daughter’s journey is her own. Try to support her where she is. If something puzzles you, go ahead and ask her, or see if there is a local PFLAG in your area.
As for Stephanie’s mother, she too is going through a natural coming out process. Like we go through a process to come out, so do our families. While many parents are able to accept their children right off the bat, most often that is not the case. Many may even have seen it coming, others are hit blindsided with this. Like the stages of grief, denial is often the first step for a parent (and sometimes the individual themselves) in coming out.
Because of the social and religious stigma against homosexuality, it can be hard for a parent to accept that her child is gay. Until they are educated, they may not realize gays and lesbians are capable of happy and healthy relationships, raising children, and perhaps in Missy’s lifetime, getting married.
Life will not always be easy for Missy and Stephanie, but that does not mean they can’t live happy, productive and fulfilled lives. Here’s more information about how to support your lesbian daughter.