What Bec may not yet realise is that in many ways her life is only beginning. Musician/songwriter Megan Washington, who experienced terrible bullying in high school, wrote in Don’t Peak at High School: “As far as I’m concerned, my life began at 18”.
“I am kind of excited about next year,” says Bec. “It’s a mixture of anticipation, dread and curiosity. Dread perhaps among the stronger of those emotions. However I am looking forward to new people, places and experiences, and to learning new things. I expect heaps of change over the next few years. I want to see how I turn out!”
“Overnight we went from being a very average suburban family to having your child in a minority group that isn’t universally loved”
As Bec heads out into the adult world, her mum carries a few fears.
“Almost overnight we went from being a very average suburban family to having your child in a minority group, and a minority group that isn’t universally loved. There’s hatred, and overseas there are people beaten and bashed to death for being homosexual. Overnight you’re thrust into this different culture and world. And you really have to educate yourself as a parent.”
It was unfathomable to Ann and Chris that they would not support their daughter, regardless of her sexuality.
“Their sexuality is just a small part of who they are … to not accept them would mean you’re throwing something so valuable away”
“For me I would hate to lose the relationship I have with my child – their sexuality is just a small part of who they are,” reflects Ann. “It’s obviously massively complicated when that sexuality is not what you’ve been anticipating, but to not accept them would mean you’re throwing something so valuable away.”
Related article: ‘Mum, Dad… I’m gay.’ What happens next?
Further resources: PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays) is a non-profit voluntary organisation whose members have a common goal of keeping families together. PFLAG exists to give help, support and information to families, friends of all gay people. Visit PFLAG at www.pflagaustralia.org.au