When it happens, you wonder what pain and upset they might have to deal with. As a parent, your protective instincts come immediately to the fore. I have two gay sons.
The older of the two I always felt was different to his brothers and sisters, so it didn’t surprise me when he came out. I fact I recall thinking, “I knew this all along”, but hearing him say it to me, was as I said above, a trigger to bring out the parental concerns.
One of the things I learnt from my children was that they don’t always do what you think they should do. Sometimes they leave you scratching your head.
I discovered the only way to survive was to go with them. We always have opinions about most things, but it is important to listen to them and try not to judge them.
When I found out my sons were gay, I was by then a single parent. I wanted to find support and understanding, and so I joined a local group called PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
It was always interesting hearing other people’s stories. One lady, in particular, came along and was the grandmother of a boy who came out to her. She had raised him from when he was a small boy. She knew little about the gay community and found herself on a steep learning curve to be supportive of her grandson.
Like so many of us at this age, she too grew up in a time when homosexuality was not spoken about, and the law considered it an illegal act. I was always impressed by her openness, the love she showed her grandson and her willingness to listen and learn from him.
For me, it has always been about my sons being happy. My older gay son is today a practising artist, he exhibits all round the world, and his work is in demand. My younger gay son lives with me and has a disability. It doesn’t matter to me whether or not they do or don’t have children, it’s important they be the men they are.