And my daughter announces... [that she's bisexual].

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.

Let me say, as a gay man, that you’re handling it just about perfectly already from what I can see. Don’t treat it any differently than you would if she were seeing a boy. If you would chaperone “just them” dates with a boy, chaperone them with a girl. If you wouldn’t let a boy “sleep over”, don’t let this girl “sleep over”.

I wish more parents were like you, actually.

Basically what jayjay said. I’m not sure if she should be having a serious relationship at all right now, but not because it’s with another girl. Just because she’s only 13. So treat it the same way you’d treat a girl-boy relationship. Now, how do you treat a relationship between 13 year olds? I think that’s almost a completely different debate.

Well my first question would be, “How old is the other girl?”

I think you should try to make sure that she’s not being taken advantage of from the get-go.

It sounds like they’re both in the same middle school.

:smack: Don’t mind me

Many of my girlfriends identified as bi (some of us still do) as teens.

All of us are married (to men), most of us with kids.

Dan Savage had an advice peice to a college student who was going through angst over whether to tell her parents she was bi. His take - most bi college girls turn out to be suburban, mini-van driving, Target shopping moms.

The majority of bi women I know have chosen a straight lifestyle when they’ve picked their permanent partner.

Christ… you’ve gotten into a hard situation. Still I don’t blame your daughter from thinking “boys are jerks”… especially at her age. Or being attracted to girls… I still wonder what women see in us men ! Teenage men are the lowest form of life on the planet… I know … I’ve been one.

I think its a temporary thing… its some kind of female empowerment thing. I agree with the advice given until now. Support her no matter what, take it easy. As soon as she gets a male boyfriend you will be just as shocked… he will probably have horrible piercings or zits. Plus he only wants to get your daughter into bed…

Sorry if I have a horrible view of teenage life… :slight_smile:

For the “how likely” portion of your Debate, I’d say just as likely as any other girl - the difference is that she feels safe enough in your relationship that she’s telling you about it. Most of us just got confused and ashamed and messed around with our girlfriends without Mom and Dad knowing what was up.

I also think whether or not it’s a phase is irrelevant. She’s entering this relationship right now, so right now she’s bisexual. You must therefore treat and protect her as if she is bisexual (because she is. For now. At least.) Respect her girlfriend, set the same sexual boundaries you would with any potential partner (and realize that they will ignore them at every opportunity, just like any teenage partners) and be there to pick up the pieces and buy the ice cream and give her lots of love after the inevetable breakup. And be prepared to do it all over again in 6 months after another love interest who may be male or female.

For what it’s worth, I think you rock! :smiley:

Of course i have no isse with homosexuality or bisexuality (as it appears niether do you), my concern if i were in your shoes however would be that she is falling into the rising trend/fad of “bisexuality” in middle schools everywhere. I was shocked to learn in my human sexuality class just how big this trend has become as a way for traditionally “good” children to be different or garner attention. That is not to say of course that some girls don’t genuinly develop these feelings at that age, just to a lesser degree…you know that young teenagers are burdened with more social issues and pressure than they are ever likely to face. So please be thoughtfull of that.

The reason this fad exists among middle school aged girls is because of our culture’s strong emphasis on homosexuality one way or the other (being gay is cool/being gay is evil). So natrually the thing to do is to not make a very big issue out of it one way or another, make your stance that you are not angry then treat it as any other realationship your 13 year old daughter would enter into. If she doesn’t get a strong reaction at home, only an assurance of support, then she will not be embaressed if it turns out it was a “phase”…and it she maintains steady female relationships throughout her teenage years then keep raising her freedoms as would be done anyway…simple.

You seem like a wonderfull parent, I just know that if it were me in your daughter’s predicament i wouldn’t tell my mother…Just invite my girlfriend over for sleepovers…

Or maybe, just maybe, more people are coming out or experimenting because it’s less likely to get them beaten than it used to be. Perhaps bisexuality and homosexuality are far more common than previously acknowledged.

I’m more than willing to accept that for the general population, but when dealing with middle school aged children there are certain social factors to take into consideration. I notice many of the young girls claiming to be bi are the same girls who are cutting their arms for attention. I am not in any way saying that some girls arn’t bi or that somearn’t really suicidal…but you have to consider what it’s like to be a teenager today. Maybe i should start a thread on this topic…I’ll end this hijack here.

You didn’t know who you were sexually by the time you were 13? Are you sure? It does not sound like your daughter’s choice is precocious at all - fairly typical development, in fact.

IMO, a minority of human beings are definitely heterosexual. If we are talking basic physical attraction, there’s no reason to assume that this is a phase.

I think that quite a lot of girls goes through this phase.

Facinating. As a former bi teen with former bi teen friends, none of us were cutting ourselves.

Girls have always formed close friendships with other girls - particularly around this age (young teen years). Victorian letters and literature are filled with love notes to each other. While its unlikely that most of these were sexual relationships in Victorian society - in our sex centric society it is not unbelievable that simply the barriers have been dropped (and the knowledge is there).

Twenty-odd years ago (when I was a teen), most of us kissed our best friends in private and wouldn’t be caught dead holding hands in the hallway at school. But twenty odd years ago, one of my girlfriends (who is now a minivan driving, Target shopping mom) took her girlfriend to the prom - in an obviously “more than friends” sort of way. I’d expect, in the intervening twenty years, that it has simply become more common.

Yes, there are girls who do this for the shock value. At least the “coming out and taking my girlfriend to prom” part. But that doesn’t explain the ton of us that did it and never let anyone know.

But part of it is that girls are ready for an intimate relationship at 13, and boy’s aren’t - they are ready for casual sex. So girls go looking for someone who will return intimacy - another girl.

First, I want to say that you give me hope. Sure, we’re here on the very liberal SDMB, but your handling of this was perfect.

Second, I think it’s just as likely that she knows that she’s bi as that any other 13-year-old girl would know that they’re straight. When I was 13, I knew that I liked girls. I imagine if I’d liked boys, I would have known that just as easily. It’s possible it’s just for the shock value (or the popularity she mentioned)… but, well, if you don’t get shocked, what does that hurt? It would hurt much more if she really is bi (or gay), and you think she’s just fooling herself.

What That Guy said.

Only, at least you can put your worries about underage pregnancy on the back burner for a bit O_o

A lot of people struggle with their sexual identity throughout their lives, and many may change early or late based on who they are around, or other factors… no reason to pressure one way or the other, I think.

Well, there are cliques, and there are cliques. Some of them overlap.

Some more psychologically depressed youths may cut and lash out by being gay/bi. Others are just naturally gay/bi and don’t cut (cutting isn’t just for getting attention). Hell, you can point out that there is a strong correlation between homo/bisexuality and paganism, specifically Wicca. And a correlation between that and “goths”… they just all float at one end of the spectrum, and overlap frequently.

You can give personel examples all you want, i readily admit that there are real bisexual thirteen year olds and have been all throughout history…but there are ALSO many girls who use it as a label to create shock or attention. I wasn’t insinuating this was this case with the OP but it IS something that should be taken into consideration if you’re a parent.

I believe youre right.
But,when are guys ready?I haven’t experienced that yet!