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"One of the things I’ve come to realise about society, is that we push an agenda onto our young people without even realising we do it."

This is one local mother's story...

My daughter is gay. I can say that now without any hesitation or worry. But I suppose it’s not always been that way. They say coming out is a journey, however going through that process with someone is a journey for a parent too. When my daughter was smaller she was no different from other children her age, she enjoyed school, could have studied a bit harder and loved being out with her friends. Being an only child, she was always very sociable outside the house, and always had friends round, I think making up for the lack of siblings. She had boyfriends in her teens and went on to be in long term relationship with a man that she had my granddaughter with.

One of the things I’ve come to realise about society, is that we push an agenda onto our young people without even realising we do it. We say to little girls “did the boys kiss your teeth out” and we constantly plague sons and grandsons with questions about which girls they fancy. It never dawns on us, particularly the older generation that we are reinforcing heteronormativity. HETERONORMATIVITY. Now there’s a word! One of the many things I’ve learned since my daughter began her journey and began an education. I am much more careful about the words I use with my granddaughter, the very worldly wise almost 10 year old.

My daughter ended that long term relationship for many reasons, all of them right and valid and for a while she was single and met lots of new friends. A lot of these new friends were part of the LGBT community. She had a few closer friends and eventually started spending a lot of time with a certain woman who would become her wife. Ha! She honestly thought I had come up the Lagan in a bubble. I knew from early on that this was more than a friendship however it took a number of months before she came and talked to me about this girl that was buying her flowers and whisking her away for weekends. If I am completely honest, I was a little disappointed that she hadn’t said sooner, and a little apprehensive about what the future might hold, for her and my granddaughter, given that we donít live in the most forward thinking of countries.

Anyway, following this revelation, I did struggle with the word gay for a while. She was just in a relationship with a girl, this girl, it didn’t mean she liked all girls, or didnít like men. I even remember thinking the stereotypical ‘it’s just a phase’. However, what happened next was that I watched my daughter gain back the confidence that her previous relationship had stripped from. I watched my now daughter-in-law treat my daughter like a queen, no pun intended, and I watched my granddaughter grow and flourish with the love and devotion of two wonderful mothers.

In short, I didn’t struggle for long, I accepted my daughter for...

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