Posted by: Mother | 2005/07/22

My son

My son is 22, he came out to my husband and I when he was 19 and we're fine with his being gay. The problem is that he's met a boyfriend at university who visits him at home. I'm not sure how to handle their going into my son's room and closing (sometimes even locking) the door. My husband wants us to stipulate that the door must remain open but I think this would be too harsh. We also have a daughter aged 23 living at home. Any advice?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageGay, lesbian and bisexual expert

Hi Mother and thanks for your question.

I note your concern about how to handle this situation but I'm wondering how OK you and your husband really are with your son being gay. Is it possible that you were only fine with this until you felt confronted by the fact that he may actually be interacting intimately or sexually with another man? Many parents experience a level of discomfort with the awareness that their children are sexually active. Frequently this is related to concern for their children's welfare, but when the child is gay it is possible that a few rumblings of deep-seated (and not necessarily conscious) homophobia or homoprejudice may be activated in the parent. This is fine, as long as it is resolved.

Every family has a unique 'culture' - a set of values and norms, patterns of communication and control and a sense of "this is how we do things in this home". Some families are more expressive, some eat in front of the TV, some display affection openly. The culture of your family should determine how you manage this situation. For example, how are matters related to privacy resolved in your family - how are closed doors interpreted? It becomes unimportant whether your son is gay or not. How would you have managed this situation if he was straight and wanted to take his girl-friend to his room? What norms have you applied to your daughter?

Don't discriminate against your son, but there's also no need to make special allowances for him. Treat him equally - he doesn't need special rights but he does deserve equal rights.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: John | 2005/07/31

Well done Pete!!! Wat soek hy op hierdie forum???
Hy is beslis 'n skewe verouderder ou boer wat self agter die deur staan. Jy was oopkop om hieraan te dink. Dus dad hoop dat dit nie een van jou seuns oorkom nie, as jy ooit kinders gaan he van jou eie.
Aan Mother..........aanvaar jou seun soos hy is al is dit agter geslote deure, hy gaan mos nie daarvan hou as julle dalk in sy slaapkamer gaan inbars nie, sy privaatheid moet darem gerespekteer word.
Sterkte , wat julle gedoen het om om te aanvaar dat hy gay is beteken EEN DING, JULLE BEHOU JULLE KIND!!!!!! Dit kon net die teenoorgestelde gewees het dan het julle hom verloor, en wat baie sleg sou gewees het.
Mother leer maar hekel as hulle agter toe deure sit. Hou jou besig met anderdinge.

Reply to John
Posted by: Pete | 2005/07/23

What's a homophobe like 'Dad' doing at this site anyway? Let's ask him: why were you reading the responses here? Be man enough to tell everyone. He sounds like a frustated gay who didn't have the guts and the courage to out.

Reply to Pete
Posted by: Mother | 2005/07/23

'Dad', Yours was the LAST answer I was needing, you sound like the kind of parent that causes so many problems and so much suffering in our world. You are the stereotype I try very hard to avoid. Thank you Expert for your insightful suggestions, which I will work with, and thank you 'Another dad' for having the courage to stand up to the horrible tone expressed by 'Dad'.

Thank you.

Reply to Mother
Posted by: Another dad | 2005/07/23

To the person who responded above and calls himself 'dad' - I am also a father and am taken aback at your irrational and inhumane response. Fathers who reject their sons on the grounds of sexual orientation are not entitled to call themselves 'dad' - they don't display any compassion or understanding and are not worthy of respect. I firmly believe that such fathers can cause great suffering and harm to others, including their own children. It is a shame that gay people, many of them young and vulnerable, will read the above message on this site. I can only try to imagine how they must feel when confronted by such ugly prejudice and discrimination.

Reply to Another dad
Posted by: Dad | 2005/07/23

Tell him to go and fcuk his boyfreind elswere , no family need to put up with that shit . Kick him out .

Reply to Dad
Posted by: anne | 2005/07/23

To begin with - does the stipulated open door rule apply on your 23 year old daughter aswell?

It will take practice for you and your husband ( and maybe your daughter too) to get used to your son's boyfriends at home. As hard as it is in the beginning, rather encourage him to have the freedom, as you would like the same for your daughter, to bring his parters home.
Even if it's not easy in the beginning, try to have an open relationship with both your childern. Invite his partner for a Sunday lunch over, or any other nomal family activity, you can think off. Only a few times, will it feel different to you, and then you will get used to it.

Remember it might also feel akward for him to bring his partners home. Both parties have boudaries to test here.

Reply to anne

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