A concerned mother turned to an LGBT Reddit forum for advice after she discovered her 15-year-old son was gay and using the gay ‘hook-up’ app, Grindr.
Reddit user Grindr_mom shared the following message asking for help and advice:
It’s not really a shock to (kind of) find out my son is gay. I’ve kind of had my suspicions. What I don’t know is what to do now. On the one hand, I don’t want to force him to say anything to him until he’s ready, but on the other hand I don’t want him using Grindr (I have nothing against it, I use online dating sites myself, he’s just too young).
I’m going to have to say something about it, but I’d appreciate any advice about how I should go about this.
One user offered this piece of advice: “if you haven’t already, begin by discussing on-line dating apps, both the positive and negatives. include that most of them require the person using them to be at least 18 years old and that there is a reason for that. treat him as if he is getting close to adulthood (which he is) and that he needs to understand that his actions have consequences – not only for him but for any men (or women, if he is str8) who message him thinking he is 18+.i would suggest not searching his phone. especially since you may not want to see what he has on there. if your gay friend is at all close to your son, ask your friend to have a conversation with him. it will be easier and much less embarrassing for you son and you.”
Another wrote: “If he’s sharing explicit photos of himself he could find himself in a whole world of legal trouble. He could be charged with making and distributing child pornography. Anybody who receives those images could find himself in a load of trouble. If he actually meets anybody, that could be a legal nightmare for the person too. Those are only the legal issues. Others have already pointed out the other dangers. If your son is gay you need to give him a different kind of sex education. He needs to be educated about the importance of condoms, about the dangers of hooking up with people he meets on apps, and about the risks involved in messing around with older men. You might try PFLAG for resources.”
“Grindr_mom – no matter how this works out, goddamn – you sound like a badass mom any man would be lucky to have as his own,” another user wrote. “I’m sure your son will be fine and you’ll do the right thing. :)”
A few days later, Grindr_mom shared this update post:
We went for lunch and I started my talk about dating apps. He asked what brought this on. I lied, badly. He accused me of looking through his phone. I denied it. He didn’t believe me. I blurted out that I’d heard what I’d heard and I knew what it was and I didn’t want him having it. He mumbled “OK, fine” and changed the subject. When we finished he said he wanted to walk home and would see me later. I got home and shortly after got a text saying “I guess you know then. I’m gay. I’m sorry.” I replied saying “You have nothing to worry about. I love you.” and then a load of “I’ll always love you, I just want you to be happy” cliches that I had promised myself I wouldn’t do but I couldn’t think of anything else.
He got back, went to his room for a bit, then came out for dinner and I reiterated all the cliches again and we chatted about stuff. Eventually I get back to the topic of dating apps and say he’s not allowed it. There was a bit of protestation that he only talks to people his age and that “everyone has it” but I put my foot down and said that it’s not safe and that I can and will check the phone anytime I feel like it. I offered my compromises, i.e. that I will happily lat him go to any LGBT event/group for people of his own age and it was begrudgingly accepted.
I kind of screwed this up. I should have waited longer and dealt with it with a clearer mind. That said, I think it could have been worse.
“You are being hard on yourself,” one commenter wrote. “Seems like it went fine to me. When my mom confronted me about being gay, she did it with a bible in hand, spewing fire and brimstone. Even after all of that we are close again and she accepts me. He’s lucky to have a good mom, and he will see that soon enough. You did well, I think.”
Do you think mom did the write thing? Share your own words of wisdom below in the comments section.