How to Ask if Your Child Is Gay

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Just because your son wants to play with dolls or your daughter is a tomboy doesn't mean they're attracted to the same sex, but it could be an early indication. Some parents have no problem with their children's sexual orientation, while others can imagine nothing worse than having a gay son or daughter. If you don't feel that you can wait for your child to come out to you, you might choose to ask whether he is gay.

  • Give your child the signal that it's OK to come out to you. According to a 2010 article in Toronto's "Globe and Mail," make it known that you're LGBT-friendly and avoid making any derogatory comments about gay people, even jokingly. If you have gay friends, mention them fondly or invite them over. Watch TV shows with your child that portray gay characters in a positive light.

  • Read as much as you can about the experience of being gay before you ask, and question your own assumptions. Multiple studies, including one published in the peer-reviewed journal "PLOS One" in 2007, indicate that homosexuality has a genetic basis. Assume that if your child is gay, he's probably been aware of it for quite some time and did not choose his sexual orientation.

  • Wait for the right moment. Don't ask your child in front of his friends, even if you suspect that a same-sex friend is more than a friend. Don't ask in front of his siblings. Find time to be alone with him and give him your full attention.

  • Seek individual counseling if your intention is to punish your child or attempt to change him should he say that he is gay. This kind of response can be devastating to your relationship. Ask your child only after you've done some serious soul-searching and come to terms with your feelings about homosexuality. Whether it's a gay friend, an LGBT-friendly clergy member or a psychotherapist, talk to someone about your feelings and concerns before expressing them to your child.

  • Prepare yourself with safe-sex information. No matter your child's sexuality, it's your job as a parent to provide information on how to be sexually responsible. Accept that having sex is a reality of many teenagers' lives, no matter how their parents feel about it. If you need help talking to your gay child about sex, contact PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), Planned Parenthood or your family doctor for advice, printed materials and condoms.

  • Hug your child and tell him you love him. Remind him you'll always love him no matter what. Your unconditional support in this difficult moment is crucial for maintaining a strong relationship with your child.

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