The Thinker

Will my daughter be gay? And does it matter?

My daughter Rosie is a very unique child. I guess parents could say that about every child; every person has a unique set of chromosomes. But she is still very unique and to some extent I plead guilty (as does her mother) for encouraging these influences. Neither of us are homophobes even though I can’t claim to have known a whole lot of openly gay and lesbian people. Since age 7 or so she’s been going to the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston and met a number of gay and bisexual people there, including our last minister, Gretchen Woods, who is lesbian and has a life partner. Some of her girlfriends appear to be bisexual or lesbians, although at age 13-14 one must take such assertions with a grain of salt. She often seems more comfortable around the GLBTG (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) crowd than the future mothers and fathers of America crowd, which is most of her middle school. She isn’t in high school yet but she has already joined the Westfield High School Gay-Straight Alliance. That’s my girl!

Rosie is 13 and claims she doesn’t know if she is heterosexual, bisexual or lesbian. That is a sensible approach I guess: keeping her options open. Her mother seems heterosexual enough, although over the last few years Terri has hung out rather heavily among a crowd of women who are largely gay or bisexual as part of her adventures into the Slash Fan Fiction universe. Through her Rosie has come in contact with many an adult role model, and many a dysfunctional adult from this community.

It must be tough to sort it out but I image by the time she is off to college she’ll have figured out exactly where she fits on the Kinsey scale. I have never believed that one can become gay through environmental influences. It is possible that environmental influences are stimulating thoughts in that area that might not be stimulated, or might occur later in life.

Lately though I’ve been wondering if I might have a gay or bisexual child on my hands and if so how I would react to it.

Unquestionably I love Rosie and would support any healthy relationships she forms. Most likely at her age she is likely to have a healthier relationship with her own gender than with a boy anyhow. I’m not that anxious to have her start dating boys and she seems to be in no hurry either. Her one “boy” friend that I have met is a geeky, awkward young lad about her age who seems as much in a club of one as Rosie. I am completely comfortable around Eric, perhaps because he reminds me so much of myself at that age: a bit brazen and unorthodox but generally not the most popular guy on campus.

Intellectually if she were to announce tomorrow “Mom and Dad, I’m a lesbian” I don’t think I would have a problem with it. I would know that there is nothing I can do about it; I might as well argue that her hair color isn’t brown. I know and respect the person she is and sexual orientation is such a minor part of the whole person.

Emotionally though I would have some issues to work through. Trying to understand myself, I think it has something to do with genetics. The notion of someday having a grandchild bouncing on my lap seems appealing. But also there is the notion of dynasty: I’d like some part of me to be passed on to future generations. I realize of course that in a genetic sense Rosie is only half me, so the whole notion is somewhat fallacious and outdated. Some of my siblings have chosen not to have children, and they seem comfortable with it. I would probably grow comfortable with never being a grandparent in time too.

It may be pointless and selfish to wish for things like this. Having gone through the child rearing experience I know it is a difficult road in the best of circumstances. Rosie might well turn out to be heterosexual, choose to get married and still choose not to have children. It might also be possible, given the rapid advances in human reproductive technologies, that she could have a genetic offspring even if she married another woman.

I’m not sure where these phantom worries come from. Frankly I didn’t give them hardly any thought at all until a few weeks ago. And I’d like to put them way into the background where they belong. But they have come out of the closet, so to speak. And it appears I will have to wrestle with them even though really there is nothing I can do to change Rosie from the person she will be. I will have to deal with my feelings regardless.

And regardless I will always love Rosie from the depth of my soul and appreciate the full human being she is, and the unique adult she will soon become. If I’m enjoying her this much as a teenager I will enjoy her even more as an independent adult.

 

8 Responses to “Will my daughter be gay? And does it matter?”

  1. 8:14 pm on June 11 2003, Lisa said:

    Hmm, this is an interesting commentary … where did this all come from, I’m wondering. Rosie is truly one of the most unique individuals I’ve ever met and I am sure she will forge her own path. She is luckier than she probably realizes right now to have you so solidly behind her no matter what choice she makes (with regard to this issue). Where have you been, BTW?

  2. 4:11 pm on June 13 2003, Sprite said:

    I don’t understand why adults would be so concerned about having grandkids, as to even make that a consideration when thinking about their children’s sexual orientation or lifestyle of choice, Mark. And really, I do not think you would give this much thought, when and if it “gets right down to it.” You are such an open-minded person that you would be totally supportive of Rosie if she someday realizes she is gay. She would be one of the lucky ones! I actually have been considering that Joey might be gay also. He would probably never tell me, at least not at this age. But he seems to have no interest in dating or girlfriends, and has told me he hasn’thad sex yet, though as handsome and popular as he is, I’m sure he’s had planty of chances. He has a lot of girls with whom he is close friends, which is often a trait of gay males. I certainly do not mind one way or the other. I will be happy if he, whatever his sexual orientation, waits a lot longer than Carrie did before tying herself down!

  3. 7:36 pm on July 15 2003, YUVAL said:

    What’s so healthy in sexual relationship anyway? It starts with touching each other, continues in exchanging saliva and other liquids, and ends with entering body parts into the other person’s body. In many aspects this is mere violence and indeed sometimes it is followed by very harmful expressions of violence. The question should not be whether my child is gay, but how much they are willing to participate in this crazy game no matter gay or straight.

  4. 6:08 am on May 14 2004, jim said:

    i think not comming out of pre say can cause big problems being open is the only way so you can stop hiding your feelings and start enjoying the life you deserve

  5. 4:28 pm on July 8 2006, l.harvey said:

    What are signs that a daughter is gay?

  6. 2:23 am on August 16 2006, Kat said:

    I think that if your kid is gay live with it because they are not going to change their sexual opption.

  7. 9:32 am on October 3 2007, D.teasdale said:

    I found this trying to understand my own daughter. Last night she told me she likes a girl. She’s 15 and beautiful outgoing and just told me flat out. I dismissed it as joke that was wrong I am in denial where did I go wrong ? What can I do? I told my hubby I can only support her but won’t condone it. What is a parent supposed to do with this news without feeling like they have lost something. How can I tell if it is just a phase?

  8. 11:37 pm on August 31 2010, deanna said:

    My daughter is now 18. I have suspected she’s gay for a long time now. She has never had a boy friend and doesn’t hold men in high regard.
    I just want her happy. I believe that If you can find love in this crazy world who cares what their sexual preference is. It’ Love!
    I just want my daughter to be happy with herself and feel she can tell me anything. I will always support her.
    I wish more parents felt as i do. What’s wrong with happiness?

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