Some parents report problems with their sons and daughters in their late teens or early adulthood. Rosie’s elder son, for example, has experienced mental health issues and is still on medication. Lesley’s son was drinking heavily at one time. Sadly LGBT young people are more likely than their straight counterparts to experience this type of problem (Department of Health, 2007).
Gay men are four times more likely to suffer from depression than straight men. The reason? According to therapist Alan Downs, it’s a toxic cocktail of anger and rejection, which he calls “velvet rage”. Here, he discusses his controversial self-help manual – plus, starting right, we hear five very personal “coming out” stories
Paul Flynn and Matthew Todd
Sunday 20 February 2011
Mercedes’ son experiences anger: ‘My son is very angry and remains very angry. He is particularly hostile towards my husband and I am very hurt by this. I feel that my son’s anger and hostility are misplaced and relate to feelings of self-worth and self-loathing. I look forward to a time when my son accepts himself, and, hopefully, with self-acceptance would come harmony for our broken relationship. His rejection and hostility have scarred us, and I look forward to a time when he realises that he should not continue the relentless abuse as it is very destructive. I feel a sense of hopelessness and despair about my son’s attitude towards my husband and me. I also understand that, faced with my family’s wholesale rejection of him, he would be feeling very bad. I have tried to protect him from some of my family’s venomous comments, but I am powerless to protect him from much of the negativity from them and also from the rest of society – here and in other parts of the world. However, my anguish as a mother remains because of how my son treats me and my husband with contempt; this hurts as we have always been supportive and caring parents’. The relationship with my son has not changed dramatically. I now understand the source of his anger towards me instead of speculating about the reasons. He remains a very angry young man. I never had an issue with accepting my son’s sexual orientation as I had shed negative views about Gay people long before my son was born.’