This article was published on March 5th, 2014
Whether your son is gay or not, it’s important to know what not to ask him if you think signs point to a rainbow flag. Too many parents ask intrusive, rude questions while only intending to know their child better. Here are five questions you should not ask your son about his sexuality:
1. Why don’t you have a girl friend?
This is a big no-no, mom and dad. If your son is still in school and living at home, you should make his grades and happiness your priority. If you ask him why he doesn’t have a girlfriend, you’re suggesting to him, whether he’s straight or gay, that he’s expected to have a girlfriend or that there’s something wrong with being single. If he’s straight, this question might bring up self-esteem issues; maybe there’s a girl he really likes who won’t give him the time of day. If he’s gay, this question will make him less comfortable with coming out to you since he now thinks you’re expecting him to have a girlfriend.
If your son is older and living on his own, it’s really none of your business whether or not he has a girlfriend. If you feel you must ask this question, at least ask, “Are you seeing anyone special?” This opens the line of communication in a way that doesn’t instantly make your son feel shunned if he is in fact in a homosexual relationship.
2. When are you going to get married and have kids?
This question is the adult equivalent of the one above. If you ask your son this, he’s obviously out of school and living on his own. Young adults face enough obstacles after moving out of their parents that marriage may not be considered for many years later. You shouldn’t ask this question to your son at all, gay or straight. Unless he does have plans of marriage – if he does, you’d probably already know about it – this will only put more pressure on him. If your son’s gay, though, expect an answer such as “Whenever (blank) state legalizes it,” or none at all.
3. When are you going to admit that you are gay?
If this question leaves your lips, it’s time to return that #1 Dad mug to whichever of your children bought it for you. How would you like it if your son asked you the same question? If he’s not gay: it’s a bummer knowing your parents don’t believe you. If he is gay but tells you differently: it’s still a bummer knowing your parents don’t believe you and that they don’t respect your privacy and that their sexuality matters so much to you when it shouldn’t concern you.
4. Want me to set you up on a date with a girl?
If arranged marriages are part of your culture, go ahead and ask this question. If not, then simply hearing this question from Mom or Dad will make most sons, gay or straight, RUN. Stay out of your son’s love life. Whose life is it? It’s his, not yours.
5. Are you gay?
This short and sweet question is wrapped up in every question mentioned above. It’s simple and straight-to-the-point, but it could hurt for all of the reasons mentioned with previous questions. There’s only one good time to ask this question: when you’re certain your son has been trying to hint to you that he is gay or if you’re worried he’s being bullied by peers who label him that way. If you don’t ask this question calmly and with open arms, you’re better off not asking at all.
At the end of the day, your child’s sexuality isn’t important. Show him each and every day how much you love him, unconditionally. If he is gay, he will come out to you when the time in right for him. There’s no need for you to pressure him into coming out when he isn’t ready, or if he really isn’t gay.