Conversing about one’s sexuality or gender identity with one’s child can be fraught with complexities and a wide range of feelings. This may be an early conversation for some LGBTQ+ parents. For instance, a youngster may reflect on the fact that they have two father figures in their lives while a friend of theirs has just one, sparking a discussion on the value of diversity and the meaning of being gay.
Coming out to a child as bisexual might be more challenging, especially for parents who are in what the majority culture considers to be “straight” relationships. How does a parent come out to a child in a world that unfairly assumes a “default” of straightness unless expressed otherwise? What sorts of inquiries might kids have? And what is the best approach for parents to communicate with their children so as not to stress them out?
We consulted professionals to learn how best to initiate and maintain conversations with kids about sexual orientation and gender expression.
Bisexuality is defined as the ability to feel romantic or sexual attraction to people of both sexes.
The “bi” in “bisexual” may imply a binary. However, it’s vital to note that all gender identities are welcome under the umbrella of bisexuality. Thus, trans and non-binary people are also welcome in the bisexual community.
And because some people may consider their sexuality to be flexible, they may choose not to identify with any one group. The term “bisexual” is sufficiently inclusive that many people don’t feel the need to give themselves a more specific label for their sexual orientation.
Disclosure of Bisexuality
Heteronormativity and gender roles exert a great deal of pressure, and there are many obstacles people must overcome to do so.
Bisexual people may have trouble finding social acceptance because they are often accused of being “experimental,” “attention seekers,” or “greedy” due to their sexual orientation.
Bisexuality is not an issue for my husband and me because I am a married lady in a heterosexual relationship. Because I’ve chosen to be in a heteronormative relationship, the public can judge me harshly if I talk about my sexual orientation. In addition, revealing this information can elicit fetishizing remarks about the advantages my sexuality could provide to my partner.
Because of these obstacles, femme-presenting people dating or otherwise paired with straight, cisgender men may feel compelled to repeatedly come out as gay.
It’s not just people who identify as women that have trouble justifying their bisexuality. Many of the male clients I work with express feelings of guilt and loss when we discuss their bisexuality. This is because they have been taught from a young age that romantic interest in women is the usual and the ideal. Since the dawn of Western civilization, heteronormative partnerships have been celebrated and celebrated. Explaining to loved ones that you have feelings for people of both sexes might be challenging.
People who identify as bisexual face ongoing scrutiny because of the widespread belief that all romantic partnerships should conform to a heteronormative model. The pressure to put on a show of sexuality can be harmful and distressing, resulting in feelings of anger and dissatisfaction.
When is the right time to tell my kid I’m gay?
For parents, the tug of war over coming out as bisexual can be complicated by worries about how their kids will react. Some parents may wonder if and when they should bring up their sexual orientation with their child, hoping their youngster will learn not that “my parent is different” but that “my parent is who they are.”
It is irrelevant at what age you have this discussion. The key is to talk to them how they talk. I think that all else being equal and taking into account the child’s safety, it is best to cater to the child’s emotional and intellectual maturity level.
What to Say When Someone Tells You They’re Gay
When done at the proper developmental time, coming out to children may be a happy occasion. Understanding the best time and place to have a conversation with a child about sexuality is difficult. It’s not reasonable to expect a lecture and then to be dismissed. Ensure there is room for questions and discussion. Kids can relate to simple, honest phrases are ideal when coming out to them.
The language parents use with their children will evolve as they get older, but just because they’re addressing sexual orientation doesn’t mean they have to discuss sex. Queerness embraces so much more.
Explaining that some people only experience these emotions for one gender while others feel them for both can be done effectively by using age-appropriate language when discussing love, care, or attraction. Communities, individuality, and the desire to pass on one’s own unique qualities to one’s child may also be discussed.
Furthermore, books can be a powerful tool, and there are many novels available for kids that are both age-appropriate and welcoming to LGBTQ+ readers.
How to Answer Asked Questions by Children
Kids, let’s face it, have a lot of questions. What’s crucial is to keep an open mind, be prepared to accept queries as usual, and respond truthfully when asked. You can pause or say, “I’m not sure how to answer.”
It’s fine to tell kids things like, “That’s private” or “We can discuss that another time.” Bear in mind that this is a topic that will likely continue and develop as your child does.
If your kid is struggling to make sense of their sexuality. Keeping the lines of communication open with your kids is crucial, despite the challenges you may face.
Parents who are bisexual or who otherwise identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community may wish to reveal their sexual orientation to their offspring at some point. Celebrating your unique sexuality and teaching your children how to do the same can make everyone feel more secure in their identities. If you have more issues or questions, see an LGBTQ+ affirming therapist, counselor, or healthcare practitioner.