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Information for Parents

Topic: Realising your child was same sex attracted

 * All names and ages have been changed to protect the interviewee’s identity

Parent Interview 1: Catalina

Nationality: Chilean

Age: 57

Time spent in Australia: 20 years, came here in 1990

How close are you to your cultural community?
I think I am close to them (unfortunately)

How do you feel about same sex attracted people?
I am trying to understand, it’s something that I don’t understand but I am trying to understand, because it’s not something that’s natural to me.

What were you told as a young person about same sex attracted people?
I was told that it’s something definitely bad. I remember that I had a cousin who had a very close friend who lived 3 blocks from the house, and my cousin would sit there and look her (with special eyes) and my mum would tell her that is wasn’t right. But I never knew if she liked her liked her, I just was told it was wrong.

Do you think same sex attracted people are normal?
I don’t know. I have always thought that maybe it was a mental illness like autism or another illness. That’s what I thought, but I am TRYING to understand it, sorry.

How did you find out your child was same sex attracted?
I don’t know. I don’t remember my child actually telling me. How was I supposed to know when she had a boyfriend at some stage? As far as I remember she never told me. I can’t answer this question because I can’t remember.

How did you feel about it?
I felt like I had done something wrong, definitely. I felt like I didn’t raise her properly or something, I definitely did something wrong – a lot of things wrong.

Do you think that being same sex attracted is a choice?
In some cases yes, and in some no.

Do you think she/he will grow out of it?
No, I have lost all my hope. All my prayers haven’t worked.

Did you think they could be same sex attracted before they actually told you?
No, I had no idea.

What are/were your biggest concerns?
My biggest concern was life in general. I worry/worried that my daughter will have a harder life, in everyway – because there are a lot of people who have a narrow mind just like mine. After seeing other people’s relationships, maybe my same sex attracted girl may be happier in the end.

Have you changed your mind about your concerns?
Yes, well because I can see my daughter is happier, and calmer.

Have you told your family and friends your child is same sex attracted?
I have told my immediate family and friends but I haven’t told anyone else. I don’t think it’s necessary to write a letter overseas to tell them. But if someone asks me, I don’t have a problem with telling them.

Do you openly talk about it?
No.

Why not?
Why do I have do I have to talk about it? I don’t have to go outside and tell people what goes on in my house, it’s our life and it’s not other people’s business.

As a parent do you/did you feel alone when finding out your child was same sex attracted?
When my best friend told me that her son was same sex attracted, I did a lot of reading to support her, so I knew a bit about it. I said we should join a group, but we didn’t find a good one for us.

Parent Interview 2: Mario

Nationality: Italian (born in Australia)

Age: 48

Time spent in Australia: Born here.

How close are you to your cultural community?
Close, I went to an all Italian and Catholic school and all of my friends were Italian.

How do you feel about same sex attracted people?
I’m comfortable with it, same as I feel about others.

What were you told as a young person about same sex attracted people?
Never really heard about it and never really spoke about it, as a young adult it become more public and talked about. I was fine with it.

Do you think same sex attracted people are normal?
Define normal… there is no such thing as ‘normal’… so yes. No one chooses to be different, it is society that labels them and makes them feel like they are not ‘normal’.

How did you find out your child was same sex attracted?
I picked up little signs e.g. dress sense, secretive and some of his mannerisms and then he told me.

How did you feel about it?
I’m okay with it, my only concern was how other people were going to react to it e.g. family members

Do you think that being same sex attracted is a choice?
No, you’re born that way.

Do you think she/he will grow out of it?
Possibly, no one ever knows. I’ll let you know in 20 years.

Did you think they could be same sex attracted before they actually told you?
Yes, by his mannerisms and behaviours.

What are/were your biggest concerns?
Peer pressure (goes both ways, straight or gay friends) and grandchildren.

Have you changed your mind about your concerns?
No, my concerns are still the same.

Have you told your family and friends your child is same sex attracted?
Family yes, but friends no. I don’t go around telling people my other children are straight so why would I feel the need to single out my same sex attracted children. Why should I allow small minded people to judge my family, my family are the only people who need to know.

Do you openly talk about it?
Yes, we talk about it openly at home.

As a parent do you/did you feel alone when finding out your child was same sex attracted?
No, I don’t feel alone. Because I support my child and family, we are all in it together.