Yesterday evening, as I was driving my 13yo daughter to handbell practice (with her 10yo brother in the back seat), she tells me that she wants to tell me something, but she’s afraid I’ll get mad about it. I tell her that there’s no way for her to know that without telling me. She then announces that she’s bi, and she has a crush on a girl at school… Since little bro’ was in the back seat, and obviously didn’t understand what she was talking about, I just told her that I wasn’t mad, and that maybe we should talk about it later.
Today, when I picked her up from school, she was all bubbly about the fact that she has a Girlfriend, and the whole school is talking about it.
Okay, now, here’s the Great Debate…
First, I really don’t have a problem with this if she really is bisexual. I have known a lot of gays and bi’s in my life, and I don’t see that their feelings are any different from what my husband and I feel for each other. (I really don’t mean for that to sound prejudicial in any way, but I don’t know how else to phrase it.)
However… She is only 13yo. I have to say that when I was that age, I didn’t have a clue who I was, sexually or otherwise. She’s also VERY mature for her age, and she’s in an AP program at school that includes primarily girls. The few boys in the program are boys that she has known for years, and it goes without saying that she is much more mature than they are. (For that matter, she’s much more mature than most of her female friends are.)
She is currently in her last year of Middle School (eighth grade), and she will be in high school next year. In addtion, because of the way the school system works here, she will probably NOT be with any of her current friends at school next year. (She’s applying for magnet programs that none of her friends want anything to do with, and since she’s an A+ student, she probably will get her pick of schools.) However, she’s been with the same group of kids for three years, and she decided back in sixth grade that the boys are just plain jerks (except for one who she wanted to date in sixth grade, but who transferred to a different school in seventh grade.
The Great Debate here is… How likely is it that she is just going through an experimental phase, especially since reasonable male candidates are currently inaccessible? And, how far should we let this new relationship develop? y gut says that we shouldn’t let her go farther with a girl than we would let her go with a guy, if only because she needs to build up her self esteem, and not rely on someone else (regardless of gender) to make her feel good about herself. (I should add that she has been hospitalized for depression with suicidal ideation twice in the last six months, but now we’re wondering how much of that is because she was afraid to tell us how she felt about other girls…) We have also openly supported gay relationships around her. In addition, we proudly belong to the Episcopal Church, so this topic is not unfamiliar to her.
For the record, DH and I have decided to let things run their course (with reasonable restrictions just as we would put on a male/female relationship) for now. We believe that if this is the Real Thing, we wouldn’t be able to stop it without damaging DD’s self-esteem, and if it really is just experimentation, it will fade with time and eventually turn into nothing more than a very close friendship with a girl.