How to handle denial of a sensitive subject in a support group
Please dont answer if all you have is condemnationÂI deal with enough hatefulness living in a small town in the Midwest, IÂm not here shopping for more.
I got involved in our areaÂs fledgeling PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) group a year ago, after my son told me he was gay. This actually has nothing to do with him. It has, in a round about way, a bit to do with his ex-boyfriend.
IÂve seen all kinds of stunned, scared parents show up at our meetings. Considering this area is extremely religiousÂfundementalist Baptist, some of whom sound like Landover Baptist but for realÂwe have several who really want to change their kids and one in particular who is also a part of her churchÂs anti-gay prayer group. By the way, IÂm not looking to slam religious people eitherÂitÂs just that IÂve had a year of dealing with one specific church who protest us, and the kidÂs GSA meetings regularly.
Anyway, IÂve been working on getting this one set of parents to come to the meetings almost since the day I joined. Their son, IÂll call him Brad, has been out longer than mineÂin fact, was one for the first kids who formed the GSA group at their high school. ItÂs not that we went them to acceptÂitÂs that you can see the stress itÂs putting on them and their marriage and we want to help! Theoretically, they accept that their sonÂs gay, at least thatÂs what they say. I think a large part of it is that BradÂs quite militiant and doesnÂt give them the chance to go into denial, which is the river they really want to go swimming in!
Anyway, my sonÂs ex-boyfriend, IÂll call him Scott, is/was dating their son, "Brad". I donÂt know Brad that well, but ScottÂat one point his parentÂs threw him out and he was living with us for almost a month. It actually helped me deal with the fact that my son is gay, Âcause this was a really nice kid! They broke up, but remained friendsÂit was never all that serious between them in the first place and now ScottÂs dating this other kid. BTW, although Brad may have been out longer, be older and be more vocal about it, this is the first time heÂs dated.
At the meeting last Saturday, this BradÂs mother, IÂll call her Cleo, told us that sheÂs forbidden Scott and Brad from seeing each other because ScottÂs "sexually aggressive." She really, really hates him, that much is clear. Brad, BTW, is two years older than my son and Scott, is a football player and weightlifter with a reputation for getting in fights (mostly having to do with not taking it when harrassed). While ScottÂs hardly a saint, it really bothered me because it didnÂt sound like the kid IÂve known for the last couple years. He might be obnoxious at times, but she painted it to the group like Scott was basically forcing himself on her son.
So, I asked him. Apparently, after a night spent watching movies at his house, she caught them kissing goodbye before Scott left. According to Scott, "she made a really weird noise" and ran back inside. Anyway, like I said, I know this kid. I let him live in our house because he said he doesnÂt want to have sex until heÂs in a serious relationship. Given what I know about the various people involved, I believe the boys.
HereÂs my problem: she elicited a good bit of sympathy last Saturday, and I donÂt think she deserves or needs it. WeÂre talking about a 16 and 18 kissing goodnight, not an
attempted rape or an orgy. What do you do when youÂre in a support group and you want to tell one of the people youÂre suppose to be supportive of that theyÂre acting like an idiot? I think CleoÂs basically bad-mouthing one kid because she got slapped in the face with the fact that her son is, in fact, gay. I know IÂm having a maternally reaction, but I still think of Scott as kind one of mine, and this is an adult bad-mouthing a 16 year old, whoÂs already had a lot stacked against him. How do I go about proventing slander and pointing out that sheÂs over-reacting? Is she over-reactingÂor am I just expecting too much of her? Who should I be supportive OF? My gut says not Cleo. But IÂm the main one dragging her to these meetings. Can I have non-involved other oppinions?