Musings from outside the mainstream.
An ANONYMOUS Mom writes DEAR ABBY saying that her son came out to her in a private conversation. He asks his Mom not to tell anyone as it would “hurt so many people.” His Mom is supportive. However, he’s living with a woman he’s planning to marry who has a child. ANONYMOUS Mom is at wits end, wondering what to do. Her son apparently confided being confused; unhappy being gay and dealing with religious beliefs.
I am fine with Dear Abby’s advice as far as it goes; it’s validating, offers support and referrals to LGBT support groups. But, it doesn’t go far enough.
It’s one thing to realize later in life that you’re gay, or so wanting to be “normal” that one would deny who they are unconsciously. But to know, and then go forward anyway? This is unfair to all parties. It is not a secret that anyone should be asked to keep. DEAR ABBY speculates her son may want to open up all the way. We can’t know where he is in the process of understanding and accepting his sexual attraction. It certainly sounded like he needs time to do the right time. But it’s possible that even with time, he might not.
There is an aspect of this scenario that is fairly black and white. What DEAR ABBY did not address is that ANONYMOUS Mom should not be party to something that can affect the lives of others so profoundly. This doesn’t mean she should go and tell his girlfriend, or imply that if he doesn’t tell her, she will.
ANONYMOUS Mom should keep in mind that it might come to that. Before that possible outcome she should do all that DEAR ABBY suggests; validate and gently prod him to talk about his feelings. Help him seek counseling or attend a LGBT support meeting with him, any way that she can help him talk and process this realization. Make sure that he knows that she loves him and will support him. And if ANONYMOUS Mom has any doubts about this herself, she should seek out a group for straight parents. Members of these groups may have suggestions on how to broach this subject.
In the end, ANONYMOUS Mom does not have to keep this secret. And that is what was missing from DEAR ABBY’s column. Sometimes we have to make tough choices. You do not have to go along with the charade if you know in your heart it is wrong.