The Thinking 

When a Daughter is a Lesbian

May 12, 2011



My grown daughter told me she is involved with a woman. This was a total surprise to me and it really hurt. I gave her my complete blessing, which was a bit of a lie. I met the woman and I liked her quite a bit. I’m glad that I like her, because it makes it easier for me. The woman is fairly wholesome in her habits — at least there is that.I always told my daughter when she was young, “Don’t go out with losers.” I wanted to meet anyone she was dating. She asked why. I said so I can look that boy in the eye. And just once. That’s enough. Find a man who works for a living, a man who is totally devoted to you, a man who makes you laugh. Then you’re going to do all right.

I told her these things and then I didn’t worry too much. She’s not a good liar, thank goodness, so I kind of knew what was going on most of those years, but I didn’t ask too many prying questions either. I trusted her and she deserved that trust.

Then there were three or four years when she never went out with any guys. This was in her late twenties. This concerned me. I knew she wanted to have children. I said — it would be so good for you to have children. You would be such a good mother. Just be sure to get a husband — it works much better that way.

Well, that didn’t happen. She has a girlfriend now. She’s 32. She still wants to have children. The notion of having children without a father — that’s hard for me to even think about.

My own views have become more conservative, and yet I feel I need to treat her in a consistent manner with the way I raised her. I don’t see the point in announcing that I have had a change of mind about this. I think being gay is a tough road and I fear for her. I will not say or do anything that will push her away. So I pray.

Laura writes:

It is wrong for a parent to normalize the homosexual relationship of a grown childIt is not necessary to reject a child totally or sever all ties, but it is necessary to refuse to participate in a way of life that is immoral. That means refusing to engage in basic social interaction with the homosexual partner of a child.

If your daughter came to you with stolen goods, asking if she could keep them in your house, would you say yes? I imagine you would not. That wouldn’t mean you didn’t love your daughter; it would mean that you would not participate in her wrongdoing. Similarly, you should let your daughter know that you can’t be a part of this lesbian relationship in any way, that you won’t act the role of father-in-law or grandfather or even casual visitor to her home, if it is shared with a woman who is her lover. Perhaps the analogy with theft seems far-fetched, but I don’t think it is, even though homosexuality isn’t illegal. When he asks for public approval, the homosexual robs the community not only of the children he refuses to bear or nurture properly, but also of its ability to protect the young in general and to encourage self-sacrifice.

It is common for the homosexual today to ask that society accommodate him and his inability to change. “This is the way I am,” he says. “Accept me.” To this, others must reply, “This is the way we are. Accept us.” The homosexual must demonstrate tolerance. He must not ask others to condone or participate in his way of life.

There is nothing improper with your daughter having a close friendship with a woman. Women love each other. If she feels a strong spiritual connection with this woman, they can be close friends and help each other in various ways. It is deeply wrong for the relationship to be sexual, for them to present themselves publicly as lovers or ask others to acknowledge them as lovers, or for them to raise children together. 

Your relationship with your daughter is not just between the two of you. There are others involved too, possibly your future grandchild. You should display sensitivity to the children in your extended family. You may set them up for confusion and personal chaos by approving of this relationship and socializing with a lesbian couple as if they were man and woman. You obviously love your daughter. You care for her happiness and her future. I know it seems easier and kinder to go along with her new life, and to keep your objections entirely private as if it was you who was in the wrong and not her, but it’s not right to expect so little of a grown woman. She is not a child anymore. She can live by the consequences of her choices, unless she is suffering from serious mental illness, in which case all of the above does not apply and you face the task of helping her manage an illness. 

You should not be secretive or ashamed, but honest and forthright. If she loves you, she will respect your wish to keep your distance. If she does not love you enough to show this basic respect, that is not your fault and there is nothing you can do.



                                                      — Comments —

Wheeler writes:

It wasn’t until I re-read the essay on “When A Daughter is a Lesbian” that I realized that that author of the letter was a man. I obviously missed that part initially, and the realization stunned me. The entire tone of the letter is, well, womanly. Very interesting.

One other small point. Your response to this man was very well-worded. I would suggest a small but important alteration. You wrote, “Perhaps the analogy with theft seems far-fetched, but I don’t think it is, even though homosexuality isn’t illegal.” I would say, “…even though homosexuality is no longer illegal.” This perversion, like many other coarse and wrongful things in our society, was once an illegal act (and was classified – correctly, I think – as a mental illness).

Buck writes:

I too was certain that the reader was the mom. (Did you add “Male”?) I missed it. 

You have a wonderful way of expressing this:

It is common for the homosexual today to ask that society accommodate him and his inability to change. “This is the way I am,” he says. “Accept me.” To this, others must reply, “This is the way we are. Accept us.” The homosexual must demonstrate tolerance. He must not ask others to condone or participate in his way of life.

Laura writes:

Thank you.

Just to repeat that point, when homosexuals say “We are born the way they are,” others must say, “We are born the way we are too. Our intolerance of public homosexuality is innate.

I did identify the reader as “a male reader.”

The male reader and father who wrote about his daughter writes:

Wheeler’s observation is apt. I raised my two children without the aid of their mother, since they were 11 and 9 years of age. I learned to to loathe the phrase “single parent.” I am not and never have been a “parent.” I am a father, but one fills in for the missing part under necessity — I believe that, and I did that.

Another point, is that I don’t believe in public confession or “sharing” a la Oprah Winfrey. But I have done just that in this forum — revealed a personal, familial situation. I would say that the increasingly common practice of spilling the intimate details of your life to complete strangers is a bad trend — but there are occasions when it can be a good thing.

That is why, after several weeks of thinking about this, I decided to tell my tale at The Thinking Housewife — that it might be a useful exercise to myself and others.

The reason I chose this forum is because my family — my brother and two sisters — and my confidential friends whom I cherish — all approve, or say they approve — of my daughter’s gay relationship. I’m boxed in. My loyalty to this group is unshakeable. I question their judgment in this matter, but we have been through a lot over the years, and I will stick with them.

So it’s a matter of how to register a dis-agreement with them — my family, my “posse” in the slang term. They can handle a disagreement, and my daughter can handle disapproval from me — but I will put no distance between her and me, or between them and me.

Another point. The headline is not accurate “When Daughter is a Lesbian.” She is not. I believe she has been sidetracked and waylaid down a wrong path. I pray for her. She’s a grown woman — she chose this relationship and she can un-choose it.

I have done some things in my life that were just as wrong as this — and then come to my senses and stopped doing them. Her older brother has a similar story — of some very bad choices in his early twenties — but he stopped doing those things. I’m sparing the details here.

So I hope and pray for the best for my daughter. I ask for your prayers. And your comments are welcome too. If the words are strong, I still want to hear it.

Laura writes:

I understand your conflict, especially with regard to your extended family. You should not shrink, however, from calling your daughter a lesbian. I imagine in her own mind she thinks of herself as that too. The fact that she has had romances with men in the past or may in the future does not mean she is not a lesbian now. You should bear in mind that there is an entire lesbian “family” eager to embrace her and provide her with a sense of community. So she is probably lesbian now, not just in the sexual sense, but in the cultural sense as well.

As far as your extended family, I think you can indeed place some distance between yourself and them without destroying your relationships. Again, bear in mind the younger members of the family and how they are looking for examples. Though they are probably decent and good people, your siblings are wrong in this case, deeply wrong, and yet you cannot hope to convince them of this. You should stick to what you know is right and not act as a crusader, but with calm conviction. They are taking the easy road, perhaps out of moral laziness or perhaps out of naivete.

Randy B. writes:

First off, when I read, reread, and yet a third reread of Male Reader’s post, I was left mouth agape. A few points and then the deconstruction, critique.

1. I don’t believe the author is sincere, but rather looking for absolution from a larger audience.

2. I don’t believe the author is male.

3. I don’t believe the author was a participating parent.

4. Lastly, I believe the entire message is an attempt to confuse the issue, and not unlike his daughter draw acceptance and support from a larger audience.

In spite of the shock, surprise and pain caused by his daughter, he instantly gave his support? This is not someone who puts parenting ahead of friendship. Yet another moral crime constantly perpetrated by today’s version of many parents.

He said he supported his daughter, but admits it was a lie. So this is a child (32-year-old version of the same), who was raised by a parent who considers it SOP to lie to his offspring, and he expects actions of his Daughter better than that of himself?

He likes his daughter’s partner, and equivocates by suggesting that her disposition is wholesome. Sorry, but anyone who would put someone else’s family in this position is neither wholesome, or someone worthy of respect.

He wanted to meet his daughter’s boyfriend, look him in the eyes, and from that would be able to determine their potential for their future success. So he suggests that from nothing more than a glance he would be able to look into the sole of men, but had no clue as to his daughter’s poor and destructive lifestyle choices?

His daughter is not a good liar. Maybe after a few more years at home (say when she is 41) under her father’s specially refined skill set, she might have been able to rip the family banner from the death grip of her father?

There were three to four years she never went out with men. Is there any possibility that the years of constant prodding and pressure toward marital bliss and a house full of children might have caused a delayed rebellious spirit?

His daughter still wants to have children. Or she is pandering for further acceptance from her father and other family members, in hopes of softening the blow of her deviant behavior?

The Male Readers own views have become more conservative. Obviously not based upon the entire body of his message.

He wants to treat her with consistency. This is the one area I believe he is consistent, as he is consistently shirking his responsibility as a father.

He prays. To what, and for what? Not attempting to discount the value of prayer, but prayer without action is little more than self-justification.

The role of a parent is to parent, set an example that encourages our children to be better and achieve more than we did. This is how we improve society, and their chances to survive the future.

It is difficult at times not to want to be a buddy, friend and confidant to our kids, I understand this. But it is even more difficult to experience the repercussions of our failures when our children return broken, and this is exacerbated when we come to realize it is at our hand or inaction.

If the author is a man, and his story is true, the only sympathy I have would be for his potential grandchildren. Statistics clearly show that children of lesbian relationships tend to adopt the lifestyle choices of their birth mother, this as a defensive mechanism toward the protective instinct. Children from homosexual male relationships either run the opposite direction, choose a life of crime (as they associate their father’s actions as criminal), or become staunch public opponents of their father’s lifestyle. The daughter’s relationship will break down just as almost all other homosexual relationships do, within a matter of a couple years. The separation will be vindictive, vulgar, violent, scornful and very public, and the children will be used as puppets reflecting the self-centered nature of the lesbian couple.

Laura writes:

I take exception with one thing Randy said. He writes:

There were three to four years she never went out with men. Is there any possibility that the years of constant prodding and pressure toward marital bliss and a house full of children might have caused a delayed rebellious spirit?

It is perfectly acceptable and healthy for parents, especially today, to remind their adult children of the importance of marriage and children. In fact, it’s their duty to do it – and many women today regret that no one prodded them when they were in their twenties. At her age, she should be able to handle it. Besides, the male reader never suggested he was constantly prodding her.

Laura adds:

At VFR, there is a comment on this post:

Rhona N. writes:

I vehemently disagree with Laura. I strongly believe that, particularly in the case of male homosexuals, there is a strong genetic component to this. I have seen this in my own family and in the family of friends. In the case of women (who form a much smaller percentage), the choice is more strongly influenced by life experiences, physical attributes, and lack of success with males. However, I believe that a parent, though very disappointed, should make an attempt to have a loving relationship with the child. That means encouraging the child to make healthy decisions, such as monogamy and choice of a good partner. The parent should show acceptance but not endorsement. I see no problem in establishing a relationship with the partner of the child, as long as that relationship is non promiscuous and life-affirming. I would not want to lose my relationship with my child as long as my child is willing to understand that I regard homosexuality as not “normal” behavior. And, if that is the path to happiness and fulfillment for the child, I would not deny that and turn away.

I did not suggest severing a relationship with a child. It is possible to see a child in one’s own home without the homosexual partner present and to maintain a relationship this way. 

There is a genetic component to homosexual desires for some people. There is a genetic component to alcoholism too. To say that some are influenced by innate characteristics or upbringing does not mean they have no choice but to live openly as a homosexuals. Most did not in previous eras and went on to live healthier lives and become fathers. 

Is Rhona aware that the average male homosexual’s life span is remarkably shorter than the male heterosexual’s – even when discounting the incidence of HIV? The male homosexual experiences significantly higher rates of anal cancer, hepatitis, and various serious viral infections, not to mention numerous unpleasant conditions, such as incontinence. This is true of even relatively on-promiscuous and monogamous homosexuals as well. There is no way I would encourage my sons to live this way – and normalizing the relationship is encouragement – no matter how difficult it might be for them. There is virtual silence about the organizations that are successful in helping homosexuals overcome their desires. I would help my children find others struggling with the same problems, as I would if they were alcoholics. 

A. writes:

Laura writes,

Just to repeat that point, when homosexuals say “We are born the way they are,” others must say, “We are born the way we are too. Our intolerance of public homosexuality is innate.“

 I do not think the evidence supports your position. There is no proof people are born homosexual or heterosexual. There apparently is a huge continuum of attraction, which has multiple causes and which is in most cases labile. IF the current orientation is not reinforced by behaviors, that labile attribute can, but need not, result in attraction to the opposite sex or at least a diminution in the homosexual one. (See the book “Dual Attraction” published by the Kinsey Institute).

Further, intolerance of public homosexuality is not innate. Were it, the homosexual lobby would not have been able to change public opinion so readily.

Otherwise, I share your position.

Laura writes:

People are not born homosexual or heterosexual. Some people are born with psychological characteristics that predispose them to homosexual behavior, especially in a culture that approves of homosexual behavior. Others are born with characteristics that predispose them to homosexual behavior even in a culture that disapproves of it. That is not to say that homosexuality or heterosexuality are genetically determined.

There is a great deal of evidence that intolerance of homosexuality is innate. If heterosexuality is innate, then it only follows that intolerance of homosexuality is innate. Again, that is not to say that intolerance is only genetically determined.

Randy B. writes:

I completely agree with your challenge to my point about prodding toward marriage. My point was that if this was his practice day in and day out (weighed and measured by content and focus of his statement) toward his daughter, then from the eyes and mentality of a child, this would be perceived as unwanted harassment or restrictive control regardless of what she had in mind for her own future. If the father was making all the decisions and establishing commandments from (say) the age of 12 until when she ran away at 16, that is not the responsibility of the parent. Establishing and reasonable affirmation of the roles and responsibilities of our sexes (clearly delineated) is one of the many roles of parenting. There has to be a balance of how much we attempt to guide and control, and that balance has to shift as your child ages. This shift has to be one where you assert less control as they age, thus giving them the freedom to exercise the rules and boundaries you established early on. From about the age of 13 (all children mature differently) your job should be light impact and critical adjustments, with an edge toward allowing them to find the truth in their upbringing. My son figured this out at 17, my middle daughter had it nailed at 12, and my eldest daughter seemed to have left the womb with an unnatural common sense, but tied to a strong individualism.

Laura writes:

We essentially agree. However, you refer to “light impact and critical adjustments” from a parent in adolescence. The role of parents is critical through the teenage years and early adulthood in offering guidance and authority.  Some children need less guidance than others.

Jesse Powell writes:

On the issue of whether homosexuals are “born that way”, I think it is important to point out that inherited characteristics, by definition, need to be characteristics that are conducive, or at least not harmful, to passing on ones genes into future generations. Men are sexually attracted to women for the very simple and obvious reason that having sex with women leads them to have children and pass on their genes to future generations. Genetic disorders, especially those that cause illness in people’s younger years, are very rare precisely because those afflicted with these illnesses have fewer children due to the illness leading to the harmful genetic trait dying out very quickly. Spontaneous and new mutations that are harmful do happen occasionally, but rarely, and that is why inherited genetic disorders do happen, but very rarely. 

A “gay gene”, just like the gene for Cystic Fibrosis, would be very rare for the same reason Cystic Fibrosis is very rare, because the “gay gene” would harm the carriers ability to have children in exactly the way a serious illness does. 

One out of 10,000 people may truly possess a “gay gene” from spontaneous and recent genetic mutation but there is no way that widespread and common homosexuality can arise due to inborn inherited genetics because the gay lifestyle is far too harmful to ones ability and desire to have children to allow such a genetic characteristic in the population to persist for long. 

I will add, there are some animal species where bisexuality, or sexual behavior with members who are not reproductive partners, is common; perhaps as a way to increase social bonds; but this makes sense only when bisexuality doesn’t compete with heterosexual behavior and therefore does not harm the animal’s reproductive success. Homosexuality, in the modern human context, is understood as a preference for the same sex; and a preference for the same sex cannot be inherited as such genes would quickly vanish from the human gene pool almost as soon as they spontaneously occurred.

 Laura writes:

It does not make sense to speak of a “gay gene” for the reasons Mr. Powell states, but it does make sense to speak of certain inherited characteristics that given a particular cultural context or certain family dynamics incline people to homosexual desires or behavior. For instance, men who are artistic by nature are more inclined in Western society to experience homosexual attractions. This is related to both culture and nature.  Some women are born with more masculine tendencies and appearance. In a culture that encourages the expression of these tendencies and even the accentuation of them, she would be more likely to be homosexual.


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