Q. I know my son is gay, and while I would like to talk to him about it, I realise that he is not comfortable sharing his sexuality with me. I know what my husband will not take kindly to this and probably this is what is preventing my son from coming out to us. I’m not sure how to handle this situation.
Ans: For now, you can accept the fact that he doesn’t feel comfortable in sharing his sexuality with you and also hold space for your son to come out. No need to get your husband involved if he is not going to be supportive through this complex phase.
Your son could be going through a lot of shame around the way he feels and criticism could deter him completely from his authentic self. Often in difficult situations like this, it is best to take a more passive role and create space for people to express spontaneously.
Make yourself available to connect for emotional support but don’t overwhelm him. You can have conversations about experiences in which you felt ashamed, to see if they open other doors to conversation. Telling him about your emotions, fears and challenging instances in life will show your vulnerability.
Check on how these conversations make him feel and express how much you care about him. When we are vulnerable with people, we open the magic doors that lead to deeper connection. Your son needs affection, care and acceptance right now. You might also want to tell him about your views on heteronormativity making references to other people.
This will reassure him that at least your values are aligned. You can also get in touch with local LGBTQ+ communities to get support on how to approach the topic with your husband. You might need more help with that than your son.
The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual well-being (www.theintimacycurator.com). (Have a query? Send it on email@example.com)
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