My Boyfriend's Homophobic Parents Won't Let Him See Me, What Can I Do?

Two teenage boys studying in a school
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Question: My Boyfriend's Homophobic Parents Won't Let Him See Me, What Can I Do?

What can a gay teen do when his boyfriend's homophobic parents prevent the couple from seeing each other? A boy in this situation tries to find solutions to this serious problem.


A gay teen writes:

"Me and my boyfriend have had a pretty complicated relationship from the beginning. I am completely out to my friends, classmates and parents. And while my mother is writhing with disapproval, I still enjoy a relatively high level of autonomy. He, on the other hand, does not.
Because of a close relationship with his mother, he would never disobey her, which I don't mind. The problem is that, while his mother knows he is gay, it is not something they talk about, and like my mother, she does not approve in the slightest. Because of this, he is closely guarded. And while she likes my personality, she cannot get over my homosexuality.
We are, therefore, not allowed to see each other outside of school. And since I graduated in the spring, we haven't seen each other in months.
I was wondering if anyone could point me to any articles or had any advice from experience with a similar situation. Or maybe just life experience that would either help me convince her that I might be a good thing for her son or just help us keep that little ember we have from completely going out."

This is so tough, and sadly, also pretty common. A lot of gay teens are kept from seeing their partners by homophobic parents. (Of course, though the motivation is typically different, some straight teens are kept from seeing partners by parents as well).

So what can you do? Though it sounds like neither of you have the support at home that one would hope for, it seems like your boyfriend's situation is more difficult. So here are some ideas that you can pass on to him:

  1. Have an Honest Conversation. In a respectful manner, calmly explain how you feel to your parents. Ask them why they are preventing you from seeing your boyfriend. Educate yourself on GLBT issues so that if they have misconceptions and believe myths about what it means to be gay, then you can clear them up.
  2. Find an Advocate. Often times parents will respond better to someone who is not their own child. Get an adult whom your parents trust and respect to speak to them on your behalf. Is there a relative, friends, community or religious leader, or teacher who supports you and who you think they would listen to? If so, you can ask this person to talk to your folks for you.
  3. Arrange Introductions. Ask your parents if your significant other can spend some time with your family so that they see that he / she isn't the worst person in the world. Often parents assume the worst. For example, they might think that your partner will turn up in a crazy outfit, or will try to make out with you in front of them, or even that he is a predator trying to "convert" you. One way to help them get over these assumptions is to actually let them get to know the person you are dating.

It is also important to ask yourself if your parents don't like your partner simply because he is gay, or if they don't like him for a concrete reason. If they have seen him be disrespectful, rude or abusive towards you or them, or if he is significantly older, or uses drugs or alcohol, then they might actually be on to something, and you should consider whether they are seeing something that you are not.

But if this isn't the case, and you are committed to the relationship, then you might find it worthwhile to try to get them to come around. Unfortunately, however, if you are a minor, your parents often get to make decisions for you that seem, or are, unfair. Hopefully, you can work through this, but until then it might be really tough!