I remember thinking when I discovered our son was gay if only I hadn't encouraged him to pursue arts camp instead of basketball camp, he wouldn't have turned out gay. Other parents have expressed that maybe if they had insisted that their daughters wear dresses instead of allowing them to dress like tomboys in elementary school, they wouldn't have come out as lesbian.
If only, if only.. It's all my fault. I should have steered my kid in another direction, one that society has no reservations about.
Mea Culpa Look what I've done becomes the typical response. I've created a more difficult life for my child, one in which he may be ridiculed, fired from a job, denied housing, just because he's gay or transsexual. Truth is, you don't have total control over your son's or daughter's sexual orientation. States are realizing the latter and banning gay-to-straight or conversion therapy that can have dire effects such as low self-esteem , depression , and guilt for same- sex attraction.
But they don't have that power for the outcome they want. They feel guilty as a result. Is it nature or nurture? There are two opinions. If it's genetically attributable, then the parent doesn't have much to say about their child's orientation. On the other hand, because it is genetic and the product of a male and female parent, some parents feel guilty because they believe they carried the extra chromosomes resulting in GLBTQ children.
Is there a gay gene after all? Initially Guilty Parents Barbara Goldfarb pseudonym questioned herself when her son Jerry came out at age twenty-four. Similarly, the mother of J. Koppel, an architect, from Birmingham, Alabama, was terribly disappointed in herself when she found out her son, in his twenties, was gay. She wished she had seen the clues to she could have supported him in his search for his sexual identity. Andrew, a dream child in Indiana: His parents wanted him to go to conversion therapy camp.
His mother accused Andrew of being responsible for his father's heart troubles. To placate his parents, Andrew has lied and told his parents that he was mistaken about being gay. Since hearing this, their attitude toward Andrew has changed.
Now, Andrew's parents act loving. Tired of the ruse, however, he's planning a second coming-out. Because guilt is just one more issue that prevents parents from being accepting, it can be a real detriment to the parent-child relationship.
Parents would like close relationships with their children, but how can you feel that way, when you feel you have erred and caused conflict within the family? However, all is not lost. Tobkes regards guilt as a useful tool.
Says this co-author of this advice book for straight parents, "guilt causes us to examine ourselves by reflecting on our actions and underlying motivations. Ultimately, the experience of guilt can result in making better choices and striving to be a better person. So, to resolve this feeling, you need to discover why you associate homosexuality with something that is undesirable.
Here, you will find parents who once felt guilty, but can give you suggestions on how to resolve your guilt. Or a therapist can help you examine your preconceived notions of what is means to be gay.
By examining those feelings and working through them, you will see that in reality, your child's life is not inferior because he's gay. By not accepting your child's sexual orientation and either blaming him or yourself for his same-sex attraction, you impede his self-acceptance.