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Fathers & children 

When you reveal your sexual orientation to your family, it seems as though everything our loved ones thought they knew about themselves and about you is far, far away. Their world is being dramatically rocked and the sooner stability can be found the better---for everyone. They may need to rebuild their sense of identity just as you the gay/bisexual man continue searching for yours. This can be a particularly difficult time for children, and having a close, loving, supportive relationship from their father will help them to navigate these unexpected, rough waters.

You and your family are not alone. In 1994, it was estimated that there were approximately 2 million mixed orientation marriages and roughly 3.5 million children of these marriages (Amity Pierce Buxton, Ph.D. ,The Other Side of the Closet: The Coming-Out Crisis for Straight Spouses and Families. New York, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1994).

There is a great wealth of fathering experience shared by the Gay Fathers Association of Seattle (GFAS) membership. Discussions about “coming out” to children, parenting, and how other families with parents of mixed sexual orientation live often take place at support group meetings.

GFAS members have shared that some children seem to fare better if told about their fathers’ orientation as soon as possible, but that others may need more time. Children can sense how their parents are feeling about a situation. How their parents present their feelings about this new reality can have a significant, long-term impact on their children’s feelings about their father and about gay or bisexual people in general. Many families join group activities to see how other families with gay or bisexual fathers demonstrate healthy relationships and to help them connect with others in similar situations.

Words from a member
“I am new to the group and also just accepting my sexuality. I have two adult children who know about my sexuality and two younger children who do not know and basically I am looking for advice from people who have been in my shoes.”


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