How to deal with parents not accepting your bisexuality

Vedanova asks: I’m bisexual. Yesterday I came out to father. I went to his office and I could feel my heart beating very fast. I was very nervous. He was watching a movie on TV so I waited some time and then we went to get some food. When we came back, I still wasn’t very confident, but I told him I had something that I had wanted to tell him for a long time. And then I told him I was attracted to boys. And the first words that came out of his mouth were, “We have to change that.” I didn’t speak the actual word bisexual because I didn’t want him to know that I know about sexuality. And then I started crying. He started explaining me that this is all because of hormones and that I must have excess of estrogen in my system. And as every homophobic parent ever told their child, “It’s just a phase” was told to me . He wanted to explain me that after a couple years there will be no estrogen left in my system, and I will be attracted to only girls. Now he’s the doctor and not me so I don’t know if that is true or not. And then he also wants me to be a real boy and do “masculine” things and stop doing “girly” things. Whenever I tell him I think some stereotype is wrong he always has the two same reasons – nature told humans to do this (I have never been able to understand this reason) and what people will say. Before coming out, I thought that I would be hugely relieved after coming out but now I instead wish I hadn’t come out. He also told me to never tell anybody but him that I am attracted to boys. He told me that gay boys don’t go through puberty like normal boys do. They don’t ever get facial hair and their voice never deepens which I know is not true. He also told me to not look up anything on the internet about this stuff. He said that he was also attracted to boys in middle school and high school and then wasn’t, which I think he said to make me believe that it’s just a phase thing. I don’t really think that he is homophobic because he did not say anything against gay people. And because I acted like I know nothing about sexuality he also tried to explain me what are the causes of same-sex attraction and he said that it can be CURED by giving anti-estrogen medicines to males and anti-testosterone medicines to females to a certain extent. How can someone be a doctor and say that?! There’s no way a pediatrician does not know about this stuff. One more thing I want to say to you is that I would love to have this letter published on the website if you can (I wouldn’t mind if you wouldn’t) because I feel like this is an issue that every LGBTQ+ person faces and I don’t care if my sister sees it because now I’m getting tired of hiding my true self from the world.

Hi Vedanova –

Every person is guaranteed a few things in life.   And one of them is to disappoint their parents or caregivers, maybe a little bit and maybe a lot.  

You are absolutely correct that your father knows that much of what he said to you isn’t true (I mean, we’ve all seen LOTS of gay men with beards!  Come ON!).  But it’s clear that he doesn’t want to believe you’re gay or bisexual, and that pain in him is real and shouldn’t be discounted by any of us.  Even if we strongly believe it’s misguided.

So I want to throw a crazy notion at you.  Maybe, on one count, he’s right.  Maybe your attraction to men will go away when you’re older.  I don’t know, and you don’t, and he doesn’t (and maybe he wasn’t lying completely about this “phase” of his life!).  Maybe you also won’t like your current favorite food, or your current favorite song.  I simply have no idea.

But here’s the deal about it – it doesn’t matter.

You like that food today, you like that song today, and you’re attracted to both men and women today.  What you’ll feel in ten years is pretty irrelevant.  For all we know, by that time you may have fallen madly in love and gotten married to someone you plan to be faithful to for the rest of your life.  Will it really matter whether you’re attracted to men or women or some body types or races or whatever then?  If you’re faithful, you’re faithful, and that’s all there will be to it.

I do have to say I’m a bit concerned about his idea of giving you medications to deal with this.  I don’t know enough to speak on the issue, but getting a drug to reduce any hormone in your system sounds questionable to me.  What side-effects would that have?  I don’t know.  But it sounds scary.  

As I so often say to teenagers about their sexuality, what matters to me is that you keep safe.  So if you’re finding yourself attracted to both men and women, but not getting sexually active with them, you’re of course totally fine.  Where I see a concern is if you start dating a boy and getting involved – then I imagine your father doing more than he is now.

Vedanova I don’t know your age, or how long you’re planning on staying at home.  If you’re nearing the time you’d move away, you might consider just holding off on pursuing any romantic relationships with boys till then.  And maybe, to avoid confusion and conflict, girls too.

But if we’re talking about years and years, that becomes a tougher issue.

But for now, again, I really want to emphasize that I’m impressed with you and proud of you for standing up for yourself.  While you’re not happy with the immediate results, I think you’ll be happy forever that you admitted who you are.

And that won’t be a phase!



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