FAQs Families of Gays/Lesbians

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Karen Cohen LMFT
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1) Did I cause my child to be gay or lesbian?
Answer:  No absolutely not....There is some research showing a genetic component to homosexuality. Meaning there can be more than a single gay or lesbian member in the same biological family. Parents are advised not to assume so much responsibility for something they did not create or cause.

2) Is this a phase?
Answer:   Some people do experiment in having intimate relationships with both sexes before they identify with being either heterosexual or homosexual. Others feel they have been gay/lesbian from a very early age. There comes a conscious reckoning in an individual's life where he/she instinctually knows their love & attraction is for the same sex. How long and under what circumstances an individual comes to this point is personal and specific to each. 
3)I think my relative is bisexual how would I know?  
Answer:  You would not definitively know.  Again, the most therapeutic way of
approaching these topics is to initiate a NON JUDGEMENTAL and
NON ATTACKING discussion to explore what your relative thinks, feels, has
experienced...It's not up to you to decide if he or she is bisexual.

4)  Did my relative make a choice?
Answer:  No  being homosexual is not a conscious, thoughtful choice..It is a process that eventually solidifies within a person's perception of whom
he or she believes themselves to be.
5)My child was molested.  Is that why he or she is gay?
Answer:  For SOME indivudals who have been molested, they may gravitate towards persons of the same sex out of a sense of safety and security.
However, if they have initimate relationships with same sex partners, they must
eventually decide if they are chosing the same sex for safety or because this is who they are.  Some individuals experiment with same sex partners, and then eventually choose opposite sex partners. Again, to have some sort of discussion as opposed to debate or TRIAL, is ultimately better in building understanding between you and them. 
6) I'm scared that I might have gotten HIV infection or a sexualy transmitted disease. Could this happen?
Answer:  YES it could happen..the best thing for you to do is get tested by your
gynecologist or primary care doctor.
7) My husband and I have close friends of many years.  How do we tell them? 
Answer:  Just be honest including if it is a tremendous difficulty for you to talk
with them.. They  will appreciate your honesty more than your fear of being judged
by them.  If you get a very critical reaction from a close friend, try to put into
words what you are feeling and wait to see thier response.
8) How can I deal with the fact my spouse cheated on me with someone of the same sex?
Answer:  First of all, acknowledging the intensity of shock, betrayal, and
humiliation is important because you are not expected to simply "handle this."
Then, we would suggest you find a competent psychotherapist who is knowlegeable in treating this particular type of situation.  We would strongly recommend the SHIFT multifamily group therapy as a way of coping.

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