Unqualified With J. Harvey: Help, My Son Likes Boys!

April 15th, 2008 // 17 Comments

Hey kids! Welcome back to the worst advice column you’re ever going to read. Seriously, I must have caused at least three divorces, five incidents of parents returning their newly adopted children back to the orphanage, six catfights and a suicide by now. This week we have a situation near and dear to my heart – a Mom trying to help her son come out of the closet. Christ, my advice is going to cause him to run to one of those ex-gay organizations before he’s even gay. Keep reading…

My youngest son, about to turn 18 and a senior in high school, has been dropping some pretty broad hints to me lately. I think he may be trying to tell me he’s gay. I love him no matter what, but it’s going to be a problem with my husband, his dad.

So, any advice for families going through this sort of thing? Should I keep letting him drop hints until he is ready to flat out say it? Should I take the hint that this means he wants me to ask him? What do you think is the best way to present this to his dad? Is it shameful to ask that he keep this a secret from his old-fashioned grandmothers? Or is that just “picking your battles” and deciding that discretion is the best for them?


Hey Pam,

You’re in luck! I’m gay and I have a Mom and I came out to her! Ri-Ri Harvey is one of the best Moms in the world. If you want, have your boy come out to her first as a dry run. She’s really good with that stuff. She even bought me my first cock ring! I’m totally kidding. No, really. I’m not big enough for a cock ring, I’m Irish.

Anyway, when you say broad hints do you mean like he said that he really liked RENT or do you mean that he mentioned that his rectum has been full up with men lately? Cuz’, my straight brother liked RENT and that guy likes drunk 18-year-old chicks in thongs. The latter probably means, yeah he’s into the D.

The best thing you can do for your kid is let him tell you. Don’t interrogate his ass. And just make sure he knows that you love him, and he can tell you anything. Stress unconditional love in a casual manner if possible! It will make him feel safe and like you won’t judge him when he does come out with it.

I came out to Ri-Ri Harvey while we were watching a re-run of Married With Children. This is the lamest coming out story ever. I mentioned to my Mom that Marcy D’Arcy was a dyke in real life. And she was like, oh I didn’t now that! And I was like yeah, I have something to tell you. And she was like ok. And I started crying (yes, J. Harvey sheds tears) and told her. And she was like, no shit we’ve known since you were six. And I was like no way. And she was like, how many six year olds do you know that are dressing up like Monica on General Hospital and wielding a Barbie in a sequined evening gown? Point taken, Ri-Ri.

As for your husband, that can be a rough one. It sounds like he wouldn’t be very happy about it. Is it a religious thing? A homophobic thing? An insecurity about what being a man means thing? All of the above? Remind your guy that this is his son. And protect your boy. He hasn’t done anything wrong except be truthful about who he is. Your hubbie doesn’t have to agree, or even understand. But it doesn’t change the fact that you’re still a family. Check out P-Flag or something to fill your man in on what the deal is. It’s 2008, everyone’s gay. It’s not a big deal. He’ll come around, and if he doesn’t – it’s his problem, not your son’s. Withhold sex from him until he accepts that Junior likes other juniors.

As for the grandmother situation? Leave it up to your son. It’s not really something to stress about. Why? Because they’ll be dead soon! They’re old!

Good luck, Pam. And tell me how it goes. Please continue sending me more stories of gayness in your households to harvey.advice@gmail.com! I LOVE YOUR E-MAILS!

Note to our readers, J. Harvey is in no way a counselor, advisor, professional, priest, or in any way qualified to be giving out advice. Please take it with a grain of salt and a sense of humor. In other words, don’t sue.

By J. Harvey

  1. Bird

    Good call on the grams. It’s true. Old people really shouldn’t care about much.

  2. Loob

    “I love him no matter what, but it’s going to be a problem with my husband, his dad.”

    If your husband ACTUALLY has a problem with this, how can you even love him?
    Seriously. If I found out my husband was a homophobe, I would be completely disgusted and disappointed and dump his ass. Life is way too short to spend ANY time with bigoted assholes.

  3. Eyes of Green

    J – that was the best column you’ve done yet! Funny yet very sincere. Your mother sounds like a hoot!

    Loob – unconditional love is generally used in marriages also. No one is perfect. Kinda like you’re really being judgemental.

  4. Loob

    Green, If the husband turned out to be a BIGOT, then that would mean that he was never the man I had thought he was.
    And it would mean he had irretrievably SERIOUS character flaws in his heart and mind. That’s not something you just overlook, if you take such things seriously.
    We’re not talking about a difference of opinion on where to leave dirty socks.
    I suppose you would also say “Never mind, he’s just a Nazi, and he just kills puppies, I’ll overlook all that.”

  5. Jeanie

    First off, J. In my experience the Irish are well-hung. All the Irish men I’ve been with were hung-like horses, even my step-brother. Well, I was never with my step-brother (gross) but I happen to know he was well endowed, please don’t ask me how I know this.

    Secondly, people surprise you. My step-cousin waited to come out until he was 25. We were all shocked at how well his Catholic parents took it. He was one of those manly gays who dated women for appearance so we were all caught off guard. So, hopefully the dad will be accepting.

  6. Helen Skor

    Excellent advice.

    Pam, you sound like a wonderful mother, and your son is lucky to have a mom like you. Maybe if you can convince him (without being pushy) to come out to you, you can help him come out to the rest of the family. And the Grams? Yeah, they don’t really need to know.

  7. AA

    I agree that you shouldn’t interrogate his ass. My mother sat me down for several heartfelt, sensitive talks about how it would be totally ok to tell her that I’m a lesbian. Except I’m not. She just made herself look stupid.

    If the kid has something to tell you, he will.

  8. Helen Skor

    Loob – I’m sorry, but I totally disagree. Most parents would prefer that their children be straight, and if her husband doesn’t take the news that his youngest son is gay with a smile on his face, that doesn’t necessarily make him a bad person – it makes him normal. The majority of parents, no matter how hip they are, understand how badly gays are treated in this country and don’t want their children to have to deal with the prejudice and hatred. And yes, Pam’s husband may very well be a bigoted asshole, but I don’t think it’s our place to jump all over her and try to shame her into divorcing her husband just because he may have trouble accepting his child’s homosexuality. Tolerance Lane is a two-way street, my friend.

  9. b.SophiaLoren

    My mother is SUPER nice (like the fav mom) to everyone but me & my gf. I have had to bring up the subject “Im lez” conversation several times with her & she keeps brushing it off, so I got her liquored up & we talked about it.
    The point is- sometimes it still bothers me that my mom doesn’t accept it. Its not a personal affront against the parent, its like something I’ve known for a loooooooong time. Make sure your husband knows that, it might help. Letting the boy help you with Thanksgiving when he was 8 did NOT make him gay, I promise.
    Anyhoo, I could never top J. Harv’s advise because he’s a genius or something like that, but I hope the insight helps.

  10. krystyn

    ok, first off, excellent advice my man. I hope the father can get past his uneasiness and learn to fully accept his boy for who he is.

    Secondly….nice new background pic! I feel it suits you better, because really, what Irishman doesn’t do his best thinking surrounded by booze? Word.

  11. laraine

    I would have to say that u were very on point and though may could see it as harsh(granny dying)it’s all true.. its all about your son!!! U are a riot and im not just saying that!!! :)

  12. Bleecker

    Just when I think you’re going to give straight up good advice, you throw in a zinger like “withhold sex” and “grandma will be dead soon anyway.” Hilarious, as always.

  13. 2 Old 4 This

    I have to agree w/Jeanie

    I’ve no experience with the Irish curse – thankfully(married to a mic).

    A friend from Galway once told me that he suspected “The Irish Curse” was a rumor started by the lassies to keep other girls away from their boyos. I think he was also trying to infer that he wasn’t cursed & I just had to end the conversation there….ew

  14. JaneSays

    Ri Ri Harvey sounds like a helluva woman and definitely someone I’d like to have in my corner if I were a gay child coming out to my parents. As for Pam’s husband, I realize most men want their sons to be straight but it’s not HIS life. You’ve heard the old saying what’s good for the gander may not be for the old geezer-bird gander (OK, so I flipped it around a bit but you get what I’m saying). Dad is entitled to have his fears and reservations about this bit of news but he may as well buck up and get over it; privately worry about it (as most moms do) but still show your child that you love him no matter what. Seriously, how can any HUMAN forget how much they loved that same child as a baby but not as an adult solely because of their sexual orientation? If my son ever comes out, you can best believe I will be the most pro-active PFLAG mom in the world (which would just be an extension of my “haggery” anyway)!! I can’t imagine abandoning my child EVER. I may not agree with or like every aspect of his life but the love I have for him is infinite and indestructible! Great advice, Jay, as usual!

  15. deb

    Hee, hee. The comment you made about the grandmas- really cracked me up dude. I would like to add that perhaps being old they will have short term memory problems and might not be able to remember that he’s gay anyway.

    Luv ya

  16. Pam

    I’m the mom who originally wrote in and I have an update. He finally had “the talk” with me. He says he’s known he was gay for about a year and a half. He’s not effeminate at all and says he doesn’t plan on starting to speak with a lisp or sashay when he walks. (No offense to anyone, just trying to keep a sense of humor about it all.)

    He’s told his two older brothers and they are very supportive of him. He’s told his straight best friend (a guy) and he’s very supportive of him too. He says he’s still a virgin (he would kill me for posting this!) but has kissed a few boys. He’s had the “safer sex” lecture from both his brothers, so I didn’t go into all that.

    Hubby still doesn’t know. He wouldn’t be violent to our son or anything like that, but it would definitely put a strain on their relationship. I think he would eventually be okay, if he didn’t have a stroke or heart attack at hearing the news.

    As for the grandmas, we aren’t telling them. Let them live out their final years in blissful ignorance of anyone’s sex lives.

  17. Ben-Yehudah

    Monica? Well, at least you didn’t dress up as Amy, or worse, Georgia.


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