Young teens can know if they are gay

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By Carolyn Hax
Thursday, February 11, 2010

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My 13-year-old son just informed me that he is gay. I want to be supportive, but I have a hard time believing a 13-year-old knows ANYthing definitive about his sexuality yet. I had decided to just say "Okay" and carry on as if nothing had happened, but a friend of mine says it would be incredibly demeaning not to treat my son's outcoming(?) as sincere. What do you think?


I agree with your friend. A 13-year-old knows a lot about his sexuality. Think back to when you were 13. Maybe your tastes have changed since then, but you were still you, no? And knew it when you had a crush?

I imagine your son would like to hear -- even now, belatedly -- that you're proud of him for telling you this, since that can't have been easy (there's no way it was easy); and that you love him, always have. Your love presumably has never been contingent on whom he loves, so why start now?

Also assure him that he can come to you, since the road from 13 to independence is hard for everyone.

Parents and kids are both in the business of finding a comfortable and stable emotional place in the world, and anytime they can be one another's ally in that quest, they are that much better for it. This has nothing to do with anyone's sexual orientation.

Dear Carolyn:

My wife and I have spent the past two years trying to get pregnant. I like kids, but am not desperate to have children of our own, so my wife is really the one who is suffering in this.

For two years, I have been accused repeatedly of not understanding what she is going through. I understand she wants a baby, but I don't understand how it can be making her so miserable. Is there any way I really can understand this, or support her without understanding?

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