I asked young gays and lesbians what their parents’ very first reaction was to their homosexuality. Here are some of the answers they gave me:
Every time I give a talk on sexual orientation and gender identity, the question of the cause of homosexuality comes up. Each time, this gives rise to fascinating debates … which lead to no definitive answer since the determinants of human sexuality are numerous and complex. They are bodily, psychic and spiritual in nature and are intimately linked to the need of every human being to love and be loved authentically. Hundreds of scientific studies have yet to give definitive answers on the exact causes of homosexuality. I propose the following point of view: if we are so eager to find the cause of homosexuality, is it really to better understand gays and lesbians or is it rather to try to stop this phenomenon? For example, if we discovered that homosexuality depends on a “defective” gene, would we then want to find a cure to correct this anomaly?
Instead of asking his gay child what caused his homosexuality; instead of telling him that it certainly depends on some flaw in nature or bad sexual experiences with people of the opposite sex, which will immediately let him know that he is “sick”, “abnormal”, why not instead ask him how he explains his homosexuality to himself? Is it important for him to know the causes of his sexual orientation? Better yet, instead of asking him about the “why” of his homosexuality, why not talk to him about “how” he experiences this reality? In the “whys” there is often some form of accusation, while in the “hows” there is a healthy curiosity that can lead to a more frank, open and generous dialogue with your child.