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"Supportive" parents who stop parenting their gay kids — for fear of seeming homophobic — aren't doing their kids any favors.


I am the father of a recently out 18-year-old gay boy. My son is in a relationship with a 31-year-old guy. I'm not OK with that. Yes, my son is a legal adult, but he's still in high school. His mother argues that to be supportive, we can't object to this relationship. I don't think this is a gay-versus-straight objection. If I had an 18-year-old heterosexual daughter in a relationship with a 31-year-old man, I would have the same concerns. But even if it's OK to have an objection, I don't know what I can or should do. What say you?

One Concerned Dad

Your wife is wrong.

Homophobic parents are bad for gay kids. But "supportive" parents who stop parenting their gay kids — because they worry about seeming homophobic — aren't doing their kids any favors, either. Your son, despite what he might tell you, needs his parents to meddle in his affairs, even object and interfere.

Here's what I would do. I would take my son's boyfriend out for a beer and ask him a lot of pointed questions: How did you meet my son? Are you having sex with my son? Are you using condoms? What is your HIV status? How old was your last boyfriend? And, finally, do you realize that I will tear you gay limb from gay limb if you hurt my kid?

As for your son, tell him that you realize gay guys his age sometimes date older men because there aren't a lot of boys his own age to choose from. (If you didn't already know that, now you do.) And tell your son that this gay dude you know — that would be me — told you that when a 31-year-old is dating a teen-ager, something's usually wrong with the 31-year-old. There are exceptions, and maybe his boyfriend is exceptional. Maybe he's not a jerk who pursues naive boys because gay men his own age can see through his shit. But his age requires a higher degree of scrutiny.

Finally, tell your son that you know he's an adult and free to date whomever he wants. But you're his dad and he has to hear you out — whether he wants to or not.

I'm 16 and an openly gay boy. My first boyfriend and I broke up recently. Now I don't even have a hint of anything on the horizon, and it's driving me insane. The out gay guys here are nice, but most are sassy stereotypical caricature flamer types and I'm not attracted to them. I just hate thinking I'm alone for the foreseeable future. I know the logical thing is to wait, but is there any alternative?

Whiny Angsty Sad Teen Entreats Dan

Sorry, WASTED, but you're gonna get the same advice I give to hard and hard-up 16-year-old straight boys: Worry less about getting your 16-year-old self laid and more about getting your 20-year-old self laid. Get out of the house and do shit, get books and read shit, volunteer for a political organization and change shit. You'll have more boys to choose from in a few years and you'll be a more interesting, more informed, more attractive guy. Beat off in the interim, remembering to vary your masturbatory routine (firm grip, soft touch; with toys, without; lots of lube, just a drop; etc.), and try to cultivate your erotic imagination. (Translation: Don't jerk off to internet porn exclusively; use your imagination once in a while.)

I'm not telling you that you should wait until you're 20 to date. But you'll find the next few years less aggravating if you take the long view. And who knows? You might meet a nice boy while you're out there doing shit.

As for those "sassy stereotypical caricature flamer types" ...

Some boys react to the pressures of being young, gay and out by dialing it up to 20. It's a force field — it's a fierce field — that many SSCFTs eventually drop. You may have already met your next boyfriend, but his fierce field was up. You might want to give 'em a little time.

My 13-year-old nephew was in a play last year. It was a very positive experience. But one of the theater group's fans, who is 50 and gay, befriended my sister and seems to be fixated on my nephew: He posts to my nephew's Facebook page, he's constantly asking my sister to allow my nephew to spend the night at his apartment, etc. Other family members share my suspicions, but we're afraid to say anything to my sister because she has a temper. Should I tell my sister that I think the guy is attracted to my nephew?

A Worried Aunt

Thanksgiving, 2019: "I'm so sorry you got raped when you were 13. I thought something was off about that guy. But I didn't say anything because I was afraid your mom would yell at me. So, um, pass the yams?"

Unless you're looking forward to making an apology like that, you should speak the fuck up. Talk to your sister and your nephew, too. Your sister could be prone to rages and incapable of seeing red flags, and it's possible that your nephew already told his mother that this man makes him uncomfortable and got yelled at himself.

Firmly raise your concerns, but don't make accusations. You may not have all the information. It's possible this man has no sexual interest in your nephew. It's possible that your nephew is gay, recently came out to his parents but wasn't ready to come out to his extended family, and this man is mentoring him at your sister's request. But fiftysomething gay men do not invite 13-year-old boys to sleepovers, for the same reason fiftysomething straight men don't invite 13-year-old girls to sleepovers: Suspicions will be aroused, even if nothing else is. In my opinion, the invite itself is a mentor-disqualifying display of piss-poor judgment.

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