“Okay…my daughter came out as bisexual a few years ago, and seems to date boys and girls in equal amounts. But when she’s dating a boy, I find myself getting my hopes up that maybe he will be ‘the one’ and that will be that. In some ways I wish she was either gay or straight, so at least I knew what to plan for. But now… is it so wrong that I hope she ends up with a man?”
Question Submitted Anonymously
Answered by Kristin Russo
A key part of this question is this kernel: “…so at least I knew what to plan for.”
Think about that little clause for a moment, hidden amongst the other feelings, because I think it contains very important truths once you pull it apart. How would you “plan” for her relationship with a woman differently than you’d “plan” for her relationship with a man? In both scenarios your daughter will have chosen an individual who will come with a billion nuanced personality and identity bits. She could be with a kind, compassionate man who teaches fourth grade and always forgets to clear the dishes. She could be with a smart, forthright woman who works as a firefighter and buys her a bouquet of sunflowers every Sunday. She could be with a woman who works too much and who has a quick temper. She could be with a man who cleans the dishes every night and drinks heavily. Maybe she will have children, maybe she will have a dog, or maybe she will have children and a dog and a chinchilla. She might find that she falls out of love with that smart, forthright firefighter and that sunflowers make her heart ache for years after their split. I could go on with these scenarios for hours and hours, dear parent, but I am listing just a few to underline the very simple fact that, as a parent (as a person!), we cannot plan for life. Life is never what we imagine it will be, and often times it is so, so much more than we could have ever pictured!
What I believe you are hoping for—what I think almost every parent hopes for—is your daughter’s happiness. You want her to get those sunflowers on Sundays. You want her to roll her eyes at you about those dirty dish piles, communicating in an instant that she is full to the brim with a love that has room for all the dirty dishes in the world. You want her to feel complete. Complete in who she is and complete in the life ahead of her. Her journey toward that feeling of fullness is rooted entirely in her being able to live her truth, and to be loved fiercely as the person that she is: a bisexual woman.
Now, yes, bisexual women—and indeed queer people overall—do have to face certain truths about this world in harsher ways than their cisgender, heterosexual peers might (though a million other factors like ability, race, religion, and class also play into this equation!), but by no means is your daughter’s possible pairing with a woman going to mean that she has less of a chance at happiness than if she were to partner with a man! We love who we love, and if we are lucky that love is one that lifts us up and helps us understand pieces of ourselves that we might have otherwise missed.
As a parent to your bisexual child, you are also going through a learning process. It is okay that, right now, you have a pulling feeling that wishes she’d marry a man someday. You’ve had years upon years of seeing that image played for you in media the world around! You are more familiar with what a pairing might look like between a man and a woman (though, as I mentioned above, that pairing can look oh-so-many ways!). You likely have very few ideas of what a queer pairing might look like, and starting to learn more about the LGBTQ community will help you form these new pictures of potential happiness.
I have been with my wife for almost eight years. We were married four years ago, and my mom sewed 200 checkered green napkins and made 200 satchels of homemade granola for our wedding favors. We danced all night and drank whiskey and my sister gave a toast that was so hilarious that people who didn’t know her still bring it up to this day. We moved from Brooklyn to California in 2015 so she could work more in music writing, and we adopted a kitten named Sam this year. We fight sometimes because we both carry conflicted histories with us, but we are working hard on dialoguing in a way that helps us grow. This year, my parents are coming to California for Christmas for the first time ever, and I am so so so so excited to get a giant tree for the front window!
That’s just one picture among millions, and you can learn about so many more, whether it is here on My Kid Is Gay, reading books, watching movies, talking with people in your community, or all of the above. I would also suggest connecting with your close friends or other parents of LGBTQ kids, whether it be online or at a local PFLAG meeting, so you have an outlet for some of those feelings you are working through. It’s much better to give your daughter love and support as you journey, and to lean on others as you work through those complicated feelings!!
I want to end by saying thank you. You sought out My Kid Is Gay and you are asking big, important questions because you want to stay close to your daughter and remain a part of her life. That is an incredible gift of love. Keep asking those questions, keep challenging yourself, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. We can never know what lies ahead (no matter the sexuality of our children!), but when we keep love as the guiding force, we are able to move with the many bends and twists that life has in store.
Kristin is the CEO & Co-Founder of both Everyone Is Gay & My Kid Is Gay. She also hosted & produced the first season of First Person, a video series on gender and sexuality from PBS Digital. She co-authored the book This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids (Chronicle, 2014), is the co-director of A-Camp, and holds a Master’s in Gender Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan.