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ADDED ON: 04/04/2021

Support group shows Hong Kong parents struggling to accept that their children are LGBTQ, they are not alone

4/3/21 | South China Morning Post

Eric* recalls the day in 2009 when he received the long-distance phone call from his son as if it were yesterday. James*, in his early 20s and working overseas for more than a year, told his father he was gay and in love with another man. The news proved hard to bear for Eric, in his 50s at the time, and his wife. Although they had suspected their elder son might be gay, as he did not have a girlfriend, the confirmation stung. “I became really unhappy,” recalled Eric, a professional at the time and who has since retired. “I felt it was some kind of punishment for me.” Describing himself as a traditional person from a middle class background, Eric said that as it sank in that James would not marry or have children, he began to think his son was “abnormal”. For months afterwards, he and his wife did not know who to turn to, and kept their secret to themselves. “We were so dejected, both my wife and I cried,” he said. It took almost a year before he found out about a support group for parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) children run by the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association (BGCA) of Hong Kong, a non-governmental organisation. At its meetings, where parents expressed their feelings and supported one another, he learned to accept that James was gay, although it took two more years before he could show his son that he understood. Eric’s experience in coming to terms with his son being gay was not an isolated case. The results of a survey released by the BGCA last month showed that nearly half the Hong Kong parents with LGBTQ children who were polled struggled too.

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