Chapter 22 » 22.69

Parents and children

The needs of children

Parents will normally expect their children to be heterosexual, to provide them with ‘2.1 grandchildren’ and share proudly in the conventional marriage pattern. Hence the shock of knowledge of homosexuality can be very real, and acceptance and love are not often an immediate reaction.

Yet the gay person desperately needs this reassurance and understanding, and longs for the parents to embrace them, and to extend this feeling to their partners as well; to be accepted and treated in the same happy way that would be accorded to a heterosexual relationship. For the gay person, coming to terms with the knowledge that they are gay in a world that is mainly heterosexual is difficult. The way is fraught with bigoted people, barriers of discrimination, hostility, sneers and even violence. Above all, they need support, love and complete acceptance in a joyful secure understanding from those close to them outside the gay community, from friends and relations, families including sisters and brothers and, in the case of Quakers, from Friends and meetings.

Arthur Hardy, 1989

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