7. Is LGBT orientation unnatural?
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered orientation is not unnatural since these exist in nature. It is just as natural for one person to be heterosexual as it is for another to be homosexual. We don’t know why some people are LGBT, but we know that there always were, are, and will be non-heterosexual people. For them, their orientation is their true nature. Being gay is not a behavior. It is an inherent trait, just as being heterosexual is. It is not something a person chooses about him/herself. Though some societies may still consider gay people “deviants,” that definition is not supported by prominent organizations like the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the National Association of Social Workers and other mental health professionals, who all agree that homosexuality is not an illness, a mental disorder, or an emotional problem, but simply a fact of life for some people. To ask them to be or to behave otherwise is to ask them to behave unnaturally or to be something they are not.
8. How will I ever tell my friends and family?
You may not for awhile. “Coming out” as a parent is a very individual matter. Many of us need time to live with the truth about our children before we tell others. But we have also found that confiding in trustworthy friends can help speed the process of acceptance and understanding, and many of us have found great support from family and friends. Once we are able to share our stories positively, we help those we tell become more accepting as well. PFLAG meetings are a good place to share your story with understanding parents and make new friends who share your experience.
9. We accept gay people, but why do they have to flaunt it?
In fact, heterosexuals “flaunt” their orientation constantly, with overt displays of affection, fashion and manners to attract the opposite sex, conversation about lovers and spouses, and pictures of loved ones proudly displayed at work, Yet many people are uncomfortable, even angry, when they see public displays of affection between members of the same sex. Because we have all been taught the untruth that something is wrong with LGBT orientation, this discomfort is understandable. But this belief is our problem, not a problem for LGBT people. If you feel that displays of sexual orientation should be private, then this should apply to everyone, both straight and gay.
10. But my religion teaches that homosexuality is wrong.
For many parents, this can be the most difficult issue to reconcile. For others it is not an issue at all. Though some religions still condemn homosexuality, there are respected leaders within nearly every religious group who believe that it is wrong to pass judgment on gay people, and others who not only include, but also celebrate the gay people in their communities. Check out or Spiritual Directory under the Resources Tab for more information. Also, we at PFLAG Pittsburgh can refer you to information specific to your own religion, including local gay-friendly congregations. More questions on religion are answered here.
11. What about AIDS?
HIV/AIDS is not a “gay” disease, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a sexually transmitted disease which can also be spread by unsterilized needles. In other parts of the world, the disease has attacked mostly heterosexuals, and has spread among the straight community in the U.S. as well. HIV/AIDS is not necessarily the result of living a promiscuous life and says nothing about the person who has the disease. HIV infection is difficult to get and there is no medical reason to shun those who have it. The way a parent deals with HIV/AIDS must depend on the person who has the disease. But keep in mind: all people with HIV/AIDS need love and care. To show our love and support is more important than ever when a person has HIV/AIDS.
12. How can I best support my child, now that I know about his or her sexual orientation?
The fact that you are reading this shows that you are a concerned parent who is willing to show some support for your child. As with many other issues you may encounter within your family, you should be willing to talk, listen, and learn together with your child. In some cases, it may help for you to be able to talk about your feelings, and PFLAG Pittsburgh is here to help you with your needs as the parent of a gay child.
One way you can support your child is to educate yourself as much as possible about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender orientation and then help reduce some of the homophobia that exists in our society. After all, it is silence that allows prejudice and discrimination to survive.