Question: My 17 year old son recently came out to his closest friends at school and wrote us a letter with some of his feelings but did not specifically say he was gay. He ran away from home the same day that he left us the letter. We are so hurt, and so confused as to his behaviour as he has always been so kind hearted and loving and has really not caused any issues including very minimal arguments. He is so angry with us and we do not understand why. We feel we are his family and love him unconditionally but he refuses to see this 😦 We just want him home and safe.
[please note this question has been edited to protect the identity asker]
Thank you for sending in this question, it sounds like this must be a difficult time for you. Your son sounds very important to you and it seems like you are trying to make sure he is okay. Coming-out can be really difficult for both the individual and the people they come-out to. It can take a great deal of time to figure out what this means for each person involved. It’s also a situation we can rarely prepare for.
Each individual’s coming-out process is very different. There are many reasons he may have felt that he had to leave which may or may not be directly related to you. It seems he has found a safe place to be for the time being which seems to fit with your desire for his safety and happiness. It may mean being patient and ensuring he knows you do care and what to learn how to be the support he needs right now.
It may be helpful to read some materials geared at parents of LGBTIQ2-identified teens. There are great resources on the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) website. There are also numerous books on the experience of coming-out at Out On The Shelf, a Queer resource library in Guelph.
Further to this, it may be helpful to access some professional assistance such as a counselling service. The Family and Couple Therapy Centre at the University of Guelph is open to the community and offers a short intake period, sliding scale fees and operates on a model that focuses on all kinds of relationships. If you want to talk about this situation with a person, the Community Torchlight operates a distress line that anyone can access anonymously. Trained volunteers keep the lines open 24/7 and are available to talk about anything, including coming-out.
You can also give us a call if you want to talk further. Our number is 519-836-4550 and our hours are Mondays from 3:30-6:00 pm, Wednesdays from 6:00-9:00 pm and Fridays from 1:00-3:00 pm.