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"My mum talked to me three days ago, once more. She told me to be more masculine because she was afraid that I might be hurt in the future," says Vincent, a new forum member.

Parents have many fears for their gay kids when they come out: fears of violence, illness, and discrimination. These feeling are especially amplified today, when private distaste from some gays has been replaced by open hate. Unfortunately, these fears can also lead to denial.

"You know, he isn't gay," Travis' mom tells a close aunt. "No, he is metrosexual, just like David Beckham."'

I'm a firm believer that the power of support is much stronger than that of hate and the opportunity to be open doesn't always lead to a dead end. Even though a openly gay future at home doesn't seem bright at the moment, Travis has found a friend and confidant in his teacher.

"I came out to my teacher. It felt great. I smiled all day long. I didn't know what was happening around me. I didn't care at all. So, why can't i come out to my own mother?"

It'll take some time for Travis to tell his mom about his sexuality and for her to come around. Right now, she's not ready to listen. Still, this is a chance for Travis to slowly bring up the idea and dispel any fears and generalizations she may have about being gay.

Man Up!: How Expectations of Masculinity Can Lead To Violence

In a sense, it's understandable that some parents experience overwhelming fear for their gay kids. After all, much of what we see in the media surrounding homosexuality is either a joke or a travesty. What's missing are the images—the real images—of stable and adjusted LGBT people that don't fall into the stereotype. Regardless of where fingers point, it's up to parents to see beyond what's been told and kids to share their experiences in order to dispel the beliefs.

Travis will have an easier time talking with his mom as soon as she sees that masculinity and sexuality aren't the same thing. So, when she wants him to be more like Beckham, he can help her realize that even with the nice new threads and six pack, he'll still be gay.

Get more:
Readers give Travis advice on coming out to his mom. Should he butch up or should she bow down? Answer after the jump.
November 10, 2010 at 4:43 pm
(1) Deimos540 says:

I had little choice I guess. My father pressed me into service on the family farm when I was only nine. He had me helping with auto-body work when I was only five. So came the manly trades like mechanics, welding and the big machines. Years later he said he always suspected I was “different” and went to some effort to instill these things in me, just in case. [He said that trying to get me interested in sports was going nowhere.] By then it was too late—I actually had become interested in all that stuff—there was no turning back….I might not have hidden the pictures I cut out of “TV Guide” as well as I thought…..Anyhow, he added that gay issues weren’t covered on TV as much as today, and that he didn’t understand much about it at the time….Fortunately, I have a brother that did take up sports—thus taking the pressure off me. When my father got my brother his own catcher’s mitt I knew I was off the hook….

November 11, 2010 at 10:14 am
(2) Dan says:

As someone who tends toward the feminine in my demeanor, I never really had a choice in appearing (so-called) masculine. Yet, even if I have always been rather effeminate, I still managed to remain in denial about my homosexuality until I was in my mid-thirties. I chased after the (so-called) masculine ideal — women, sports, interests — and kept coming up both short and so-very, very bored. If there’s someone who will offer support and love and understanding, grab it!

November 11, 2010 at 8:02 pm
(3) David says:

I can relate to the story told by Travis and others – it is basically the story of most of our lives. Yet that does not excuse the ignorance our parents purvey in their statements to us. I grew-up many years ago on a farm in Washington State – my father regularly called us some horrible names and I instinctively knew I could never say to him, your son is one of those that you commonly mock. Still most of their comments are meant to disuade us from becoming that thing they have warned us about, since we were children. My only wish is they would understand this is not a mutable choice in who we are – I know there was never one for me and from conversations with others the same holds true for them.

We are born to a world that in many ways still practices barbarism and when confronted with things they do not understand, returns to a time that should be long gone in the world.

In my life, I did not realize that things would change, as I grew older – I tried to take my life in 1971, when I graduated from high school. Life has become so much better since that early time in school – I would learn valuable lessons from that time, so many years ago, now. I scarcely believe it happened, yet it did. One of the most important things I learned is no matter the bad things that happen in life, things will improve, we often just need to see it through to its logical conclusion.

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