We are worried that our only son might be gay. He is over 20 years and still lives with us. After seeing all the publicity in the press about African gay men, we are beginning to think we have been in denial over our son’s lifestyle. He has always been feminine and has a high voice.
We have never seen him crazy about girls, as young men of his age ought to be. His room is always neat and he takes extra care to groom himself. Are we panicking for nothing or should we brace ourselves for the worst?
Beza and Hobe.
Dear Beza and Hobe,
Loving parents always have grand hopes and dreams for their children — dreams of prosperity and happiness in the future.
As a child develops into an adult, and constructs hopes and dreams of their own, conflict arises in cases where these aspirations do not conform to the norm. You have expectations of your son that are not being actualised, and this is causing you anxiety and frustration.
Recent media coverage on an African gay couple that married in the UK, has brought homosexuality into the limelight.
What was once dismissed as a ‘condition’ that only afflicted people in Western countries has quietly been exposed in Africa, and a vibrant gay community discovered to have existed for many years.
Homosexuality is still illegal in most African countries and this has led many individuals to practice this lifestyle secretly.
Some have even been known to enter heterosexual marriages to maintain the facade of ‘normalcy’ as they continue to have gay relationships in secret. Coming out of the closet, seems an impossible feat given all the intolerance and judgment that meets the gay minority currently.
Based on the traits your son displays, it is not possible to conclude whether he is gay or not. Men in urban centres today have been known to give more attention to grooming than ever before, and even schedule manicures and pedicures into their busy weekly activities.
Therefore, to know the truth about your son, he must offer the information himself.
Your son is an adult and his sexual preference is personal. If indeed he is gay, forcing him to change will only alienate him from you.
Your disapproval of his lifestyle if he is gay may also lead him to put up a front just to please you. This will make him live a double life, and have constant internal conflict.
Regardless of your son’s sexual orientation, he will always be your son. As parents, you may have to decide whether saving face in public is more important than acceptance and unconditional love for a son who may be different