Help for Parents

As Travellers traditionally and culturally we equate having a happy, healthy and fulfilling life with being in a heterosexual relationship, getting married and having children.

 You might have had hopes of arranging a wedding for your child some day, and thoughts of grandchildren.

There’s nothing wrong with being excited about these things. You want your child to be happy and to find love. When a child comes out it’s a time of adjustment.

Suddenly imagining your child in a same-sex relationship and your dream plans for them going out the window can be a real shock. It’s vital to understand though, that although things are different from how you imagined, the one central hope you had can still be realised: your child’s happiness.

Things are different, but they’re no worse or better. Your child can find the same love and fulfilment through a same-sex relationship as they might have had in a straight relationship, and there’s no reason why you can’t be an important part of that.

Of course your son or daughter will likely not have any children of their own, but they might not have had even if they’d be heterosexual. It’s wrong to force our hopes onto our children – they have to work out what happiness and fulfilment mean to them, with your support and acceptance.

It’s a time of letting go, but also a time of embracing a more open and honest relationship with your child.

  • Traditionally Travellers think of a man and woman raising children, but healthy, happy families come in many different flavours in our modern world: single parent families, same-sex parents, people who foster and adopt, children living with other family members etc.

  • It’s love and a positive and supportive home environment that count, not who provides them. Work on accepting your child’s choices in what sort of home and family they create.

  • Your child didn’t choose to be gay. Help them to make the most of who they are.

  • Your child being gay is not a rejection of your values or lifestyle.

  • Much as you might have cherished ideas about weddings and grandchildren, you mustn’t try to force these things onto your child. You didn't have a child purely so they would have their own children.

  • Your child isn’t making a decision to sabotage your dreams, so it’s not fair to resent him or her or make them feel pressured or guilty.

  • Don't assume that because your child is young that they don't know themselves well enough - or aren't mature enough - to know their sexuality.

  • While many people have same-sex experiences but go on to form heterosexual relationships, many also report knowing from a very young age that they were Gay.

  • If you don’t want your son or daughter sneaking around and not telling you about their lives. Talk to them and encourage openness.

  • Be kind to yourself. It can be a big surprise to discover that your child is gay. It’s okay to hurt, to worry and to feel helpless. This is a time of change for you too.

  • Remember that your child has not changed. There's no secret society they've just joined and you know nothing about, nor does being gay necessarily mean that they will be pushed aside and abused by other members of the Traveller community.

  • They are the same child you’ve raised and loved. The only difference is that they’ve been more honest with you than they’ve probably ever been, and told you something deeply personal at great perceived risk to themselves. Your child may be scared of losing your love.

  • You haven't failed as a parent because your child is gay, nor did you make your child gay somehow - so no guilt should be involved.

  • Nothing you did or didn’t do during the life of your child has made them gay, just like nothing a parent does makes their child heterosexual; there was no switch you flicked on by mistake in your child’s mind. So whether you’re a single parent, dual parents or part of a large and close extended family - it’s not your fault.

  • There are many-many Gay Travellers going about their daily lives, happy. Beyond the fear of the unknown and the worry of what others may think or say there is little reason as to why your child can't be numbered among them.