“I’m having trouble understanding why my daughter posts so many pictures of herself with her girlfriend on Facebook. In my opinion, her private life should stay private. I worry about her being so public about her sexuality. Please help!”

Question Submitted Anonymously
Answered by Alyse Knorr

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Alyse Says:
Thanks for sending this question in to My Kid Is Gay! I want to start off by reflecting on how differently each generation views social media. My mother, my younger students, and I all use social media, including Facebook, in very different ways, and we all seem to have different beliefs about what kinds of things we do or don’t share online. These beliefs vary from person to person, too! All of this makes make me think that your question might be answered in large part simply by the fact that every person uses social media differently, including you and your daughter.
But perhaps the bigger issue at play here is that you seem uncomfortable with the very idea that your daughter would post pictures with her girlfriend on Facebook, which implies that you might think her girlfriend–or her sexuality–is something that should be kept hidden. This is definitely something worth exploring in yourself. Are you embarrassed of your daughter? Are you afraid of others knowing she’s gay? Would you have this same reaction if your daughter had posted a picture of herself with a boyfriend? In other words, are you upset by her sharing with the world that she’s in a relationship, or that she’s in a same-sex relationship? I encourage you to discuss these questions with a therapist, spouse, or other close friend to get to the bottom of them.
In the meantime, remember that some people usually use their Facebook page to stay in touch with friends and share fun updates about their lives with the people they care about. For many individuals, their significant other is an important part of their life that they want to share with friends. That’s all your daughter is doing here. She doesn’t see her girlfriend as something to hide or keep private, because her sexuality is not something she feels she should be ashamed of. Your daughter’s sexuality and her significant other are both crucial parts of who she is, and that means she’s going to share them with the world, including on social media.
In the end, your daughter’s sexuality is not something for you or for her to hide. It’s something to embrace. I invite you to keep reading and learning here at My Kid Is Gay, at your local PFLAG chapter. The more you learn, the more comfortable you will feel the next time you see a photo of your daughter and her girlfriend on Facebook. Who knows–maybe you’ll even “like” it! 🙂

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Alyse Knorr is the author of two books of poems, Copper Mother (Switchback Books, forthcoming 2015) and Annotated Glass (Furniture Press Books, 2013), as well as the chapbook Alternates (dancing girl press, 2014). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Caketrain, ZYZZYVA, Drunken Boat, and The Southern Poetry Anthology, among others. She received her MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. She is a co-founder and co-editor of Gazing Grain Press, an inclusive feminist press, and teaches English at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

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