Q: We are worried about our 15-year-old son. He tends to be "dramatic" and enjoys singing and the arts. He also gets teased at school and got into a fight, then on the bus boys burned his leg with a cigarette lighter. He's affectionate toward us and we love him dearly, but we find his flamboyant behaviour difficult to handle. He's been raised a Christian, but we think he is showing signs of homosexuality.
A: You've raised a difficult issue—one that's too often avoided in Christian circles. The issue of homosexuality is controversial, with some thinking it is a matter of choice and that homosexual people choose their sexual orientation. This implies that a homosexual can choose differently, which many Christians feel they should. Others are of the opinion that sexual orientation is determined before birth and is not under a person's conscious control. The evidence makes me realise we don't know enough to make firm statements, and certainly not enough to judge or criticise.
Remember your son has to assume his own identity. He may merely be experimenting with different ways of “being,” so don't label him just yet. Many creative people find it hard to fit into the boxes that society creates for us, yet our world would be dull without them.
Your son's interests aren't usually considered masculine and this means he will have difficulty fitting into an environment where sport is more highly prized than art. Yet, if that is where his talents lie, it would be wrong and ultimately damaging to force him in directions that don't appeal. However, it is important he is exposed to a range of activities, hobbies and interests so that he has opportunity to explore the many options life offers.
Discuss the teasing and bullying with him and help him work out a method of dealing with it. Being 15, he's unlikely to want you to raise the alarm at school, but it will have to done if it escalates.
This life-task of finding one's identity is exciting yet confusing. Be available to talk as parents, keeping an open mind to what he's saying and how he's acting, as this may be the best way to help him sort through the issues he confronts.
Adopt a non-judgmental attitude, showing you love him unconditionally. Long-term, this is a decision your son must make, and if you value your parental role and relationship with him, keep the channels of communication open.