How Do You Know For Sure?

Many times over the past year I have been asked how I know that my daughter is actually a lesbian.

I believe her when she tells me she’s a lesbian because . . .

  • when she was seven years old she said, “Mama, I’m gay,” to which I answered “you know you don’t have to figure that out now. In a few years you’ll reach puberty, and you’ll have crushes. There’s plenty of time find out who you are.”  She looked me in the eye and replied, “Mama, I know how I feel, you don’t.”
  • for two and a half years, she has asked my partner and I, “how will you feel if I’m a lesbian?” We always say “we love you regardless of whom you love.” Yet she felt the need to make sure we were still right there with her. Clearly she knows that being a lesbian opens you up to rejection from family, friends, and society.
  • when she describes the girl she likes and her cheeks get flush and her eyes get dreamy.
  • she has told me that she thinks another girl in her class is a lesbian and when she explains why she thinks this the clincher to her argument is, “she has all the awesomeness that I have come to expect from lesbians.”*
  • she knows that being gay in this society makes one’s life much harder. I don’t believe that she would come out to a hostile society unless she was clear about how she feels.
  • Most importantly, I have to trust her to know who she is. I have to trust what I see and hear from her.
  • Lastly, I believe her when she tells me she’s a lesbian because it’s not my place to say who she is or how she feels. It is my place to love and support her because she is who she is. (And she is awesome!)

If when she is older she falls in love with a man, we will love her and support her too. We love her at each place she is in her life. We tell her this all the time.

*Yes, my kid talks like this.

Consider reading In Her Own Words, her message to other gay kids.


6 Comments on “How Do You Know For Sure?”

  1. TJ says:

    Love this post and am thoroughly celebrating your very precocious queer daughter. Another point for all those “How do you know for sure?” naysayers: Sure, this young person’s gender and sexual identity may shift over time. Maybe many times. And her crushes may look very different from day today: femmy girls, boyish girls, bois, queer bio-boys, trans-folk, whatever. I celebrate the wonderful flexibility that comes with being queer and NOT having to pick identity boxes. So proud of your daughter for asserting her queer self so early, and hoping that pressure from conservative straight OR gay communities never stifles her self-expression.

  2. Ana says:

    I am not sure if I ever told you that my daughter also said once, “Mom, how would you feel if I told you that I am a lesbian?” Of course, my response was similar to yours. I think I said, “I would feel the same way if you told me otherwise, because how I feel is not related to who you like,” and then I added, “there is no need to use any label, you know?”

    Eventually she tried dating someone and that didn’t work, not because she tried dating another girl but because it was the wrong person. Now she has a boyfriend and lives with him. But if she comes tomorrow telling me she is in love with someone else, I will be happy if that person treats my daughter respectfully and lovingly.

    I wish all parents could be like you and your partner, supportive figures do not abound. And wonderful youngsters like yours are, lamentably, few.

    • Queer Kid's Mom says:

      Thanks Ana. Your daughter has been so very lucky to have you nurturing her along her journey.

      I agree with you. If my daughter decides she’s in love with a boy when she is older, our relationship won’t change. I love her and I must nurture her for who she is.

      She has spent a lot of time discovering who she is and I cannot do anything but be there with her. Since she has come out as a lesbian in this world, at this time in history, my presence by her side (sometimes just a little in front of her to shelter her the best I can from the hate) is all the more important.

  3. […] experience)—disbelief that it is even possible. (On this, see QKMom’s very important post, How Do You Know for Sure?) I know: up until a few months ago, I didn’t actually believe that it was possible for a kid […]

  4. This is so awesome. I admire and respect all of this. I am not out to my parents yet, I’m 22 and have always known that I am gay. I think it’s my own internalised homophobia which is restricting me more than anything else.

    Keep fighting the good fight. It’s so heart warming to come across blogs like this. So full of love and compassion and understanding.

    Thank you. I wish all the best for you and your family.


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