What Is It Like When Your Child Comes Out?

Posted by Julia Rappaport on August 20, 2014

“I think my daughter is one of the most remarkable people I know. I would do anything in the world for her,” Facing History Cleveland office director Mark Swaim-Fox told the Cleveland Magazine blog last weekend, after participating in the 2014 Gay Games in her honor.

Held every four years, the Gay Games is an international sporting and cultural event that is open to all adults regardless of sexual orientation or athletic ability.

GG9 Mark Swaim 2"She knew she was gay in the 7th grade, but she came out to us toward the end of her 8th-grade year,” Swaim-Fox told the blog. “We were sitting down together and she said, ‘I’m gay, but I’ve told you already.’ She was dropping these hints that she was noticing girls, and we weren’t picking up on it. I cried, not because she was gay, but because I missed it; because this is so important and it’s part of her identity, and because we love her and we’re so close.”

One of Swaim-Fox’s biggest concerns was for his daughter’s physical and emotional safety. “I know there’s still homophobia out there,” he said.

“We’re really being conscious about our language and really asking about her love interests like we would with our son. Nothing is really different. We’re just making sure on a day-to-day basis she knows that we love her.”

Facing History has resources about bullying and ostracism and how to create safer dialogue among young people, and our library has recommendations for films that can be helpful when talking about issues of diversity, gender, and sexuality, such as Straightlaced: How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up. You can also get an inside look at how one high school is standing up against homophobia in this video produced by Facing History students as part of our collaboration with Radio Rookies.

Learn more about Facing History’s work in the Cleveland area, and read the interview with Swaim-Fox on Cleveland Magazine’s blog.

Topics: Cleveland, Bullying and Ostracism, Choosing to Participate, Human Rights, Identity

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