What to do when someone tells us "I'm gay"?
If you want to help a loved one with SSA, and he or she has adopted a homosexual identity, understand his or her decision and continue loving.
How you respond will depend a lot on your preconceptions about homosexuality and your relationship with the person in question. You will remember everything you've heard on the radio and watched on TV, what newspapers write and publish the magazines; well, we don't know how to react to this media blitz that has taken shape in a person we love.
Homosexuality is no longer just a theory or subject of interest, but a close reality. It's no longer about table discussions or gossip, it's about a person we love, and we don't know how to help. What's more, we're not even sure if you need help or not. For whatever reason, he trusted you. For you, is this person the same as before telling you his secret? Has he changed something? If she has approached you, it is because she wants you to know her.
Let's put ourselves in some dads' shoes in this situation. They don't understand how their son might have been "homosexual". They initiate a long list of hypotheses: if the genes were mixed in any different way; whether it is a hormonal imbalance; if your child is simply someone "special"; if they should rejoice, grieve or receive their child as if nothing had happened. Deep down, our parents know they've loved the best they can.
When a child tells his parents how he feels, we must be aware of the time and courage he has taken for his child to reveal his homosexual feelings. It is very difficult to accept these feelings and expose them, even with the people with which they have the greatest confidence. Time traveled in solitude, silence, uncertainty, and pain has marked it deeply. He's been afraid of what his parents and others would think if they found out how he feels. He has a great need to open up and talk. He wants love, acceptance, and approval. Being gay has been the big secret of his life, and now you know it. What are you going to do, has your son's image changed, will you break your friendship with him or her?
Many men and women with SSA have a same-sex partner with whom they want to spend the rest of their lives. Others are part of the gay community. Some live single, while others have kept their big "secret" quiet, married and have children. Some more have spoken out in the face of their marriages and family. Others have taken their own lives. I repeat the question: What are you going to do now that you know?
Parents are often the last to know that their child has SSA. Children often declare themselves and affirm their tendency first with other friends or family, and then, if you wish, open up with their parents. Deep down, they are afraid of being rejected or losing the love of their parents, friends, and family, being mistreated or being driven from home for their homosexual tendency.
If you are a parent, family member, or close friend, understand why it has taken him or her so much time to accept himself. At this time surely, he does not want to hear reasons, but simply to be loved and understood unconditionally. You'll wonder perhaps: How can I still love a child, friend, or family member if I disagree with their homosexual identity? Here begins your willingness to understand what homosexuality is and how to love a loved one who feels this tendency. The decision to actively live homosexuality or strive for a path of reorientation, having understood the genesis of homosexual attraction, with its reasons, is absolutely and indisputably a personal matter.
If you want to help a loved one with SSA, and he or she has adopted a homosexual identity, understands his or her decision and continues to love him or her. The acceptance she hasn't found in years has been found among peers who have been through stories similar to him or her. They have been received by others who do not reject their homosexuality. On the other hand, if you want to help someone who questions why they are sexually oriented, whether they are disappointed in the gay community or because they are not comfortable with their attraction, before helping them find any option you have to listen to it first. For example, when it comes to psychological support, you can opt for homosexual affirmation therapy or, if that's your desire, a gender reorientation, and affirmation therapy. In the first, you will be given the reasons and tools to accept your homosexuality and decide how you want to live it; in this scenario, homosexuality is understood as a "third" sexual preference. In reorientation therapy you will be led on a path of acceptance and personal exploration, looking for the reasons why you have developed the SSA and how you can reaffirm your male or female identity according to your personal goals.
When a loved one with SSA approaches you, in the background of their conversation they are seeking your acceptance. He wonders if you will accept it as it is if you still love it if you will reject it. Your answer is very important to him or her. Don't stand with your arms crossed, paralyzed. Parents, family, and friends, the following words are addressed to you: your loved one, son, brother, friend, needs you, whatever you decide, whatever you do. He or she, with his confession, has just opened a new chapter in his or her own life. In their lives, there are broken bonds, wounds to heal and relationships to improve. Your loved one invites you to understand you so that you can support them in their decisions, whatever they may be.