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Gender confusion, questioning, depression - my 15yo

Community Member

My 15yo son has spiralled into a deep depression and has started self harming himself.  Today he asked if I would support him if he was gay/bi/whatever via email and I said that I might struggle with it but I would always love him no matter what.


I think he is going to say he is trans - but I'm not sure if he is or not.  You see, his greatest and best friend came out as trans mtf about a year ago and has been sooooo much happier.  I have never considered my son may be trans too (?I don't even know what I would think I'd be seeing).  I feel like my son has been depressed for some time and I wonder if perhaps he's taking on some of the 'happier identity' of his best friend to try to help him feel happier too?  So maybe questioning? Maybe asexual? Pansexual?  Gay/bi???  I am hoping that he's not been influenced to try to feel a particular way by his best friend as I want my son to be true to himself, and to be happy again.  I don't care if he's trans or not but I worry that maybe he's either 'taking on' the friends identity or even that his best friend is encouraging him to 'try to be trans' when he is just depressed and lost at the moment.


I've probably put this all wrong, and been horribly offensive but I just want him to find a way out of his depression (with qualified help of course) and to be true to himself no matter who he is.  I am trying to think of it in a different way too - so, would someone who was depressed and possibly gay maybe be influenced by a best friend who is straight and happy?  Would the depressed person maybe 'try' to be straight in order to try to be happy?  Am I just totally full of rubbish here?


I'm so genuinely sorry if this hasn't come out right, but my child is hurting horribly and I just want them to be supported to find their own path.

5 Replies 5

Hi _Lee_,

Thanks for posting tonight and welcome to our forum! We hope you'll find great support, advice and kindness from our beautiful community, and that this will help you to find some peace for your troubled mind.

Very concerning here is that your child has spiralled into deep depression and started self harming. You've mentioned that you want to navigate this difficult time with qualified help, so we're hoping that means they already engaging with professional supports. We're assuming this means that a psycholgist has already been appointed, but just in case one hasn't we'd like to make sure that we stress the importance of this. First step in engaging with professional support is visiting your GP and/or your local hospital (should self harming have already taken place). This advice is just as much for you as it is for anyone else who may be reading this post, _Lee_, so if you have already started the ball rolling in this area, please just disregard this part.

Another source of support for both you and your child that may be helpful is QLIFE. It's well worth giving them a call, having a look at their website. It would be great if you could generally go with your child's exploration/s into their indentity in as much a positive and supportive manner as you can without questining your child too much around this curiosity. It really is important to allow the exploration and self expression without any fear, as this really is a matter that could be crucial to your child's wellbeing (physical, emotional, social and spiritual), and all they need is your love, trust and support, no matter what the exploration may uncover.

Please note that Qlife are available every day from 3pm to midnight. They have both a phone line (1800 184 527) and/or online chat option - if you have any questions/worries/concerns, they have heard them all and can help you with a non-judgemental, kind and experienced/knowledgeable support base.

Kind regards,

Sophie M

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Lee, sometimes as a parent we seem to worry about what our kids are doing, isn't that being a loving parent, I think so, and yes it probably never ceases, then it's transferred over to our grandkids, that's the care instilled into us and then ourt kids will do exactly the same.

I understand your concern, but at times our kids are encouraged by their friends, it happened with us, so why doesn't it happen with our kids, it will, and a reason why hemay be depressed is because he's thinking about changing how he wants to be.

Along the way there will be people, perhaps friends who alienate themselves from him, because of this, and this is going to make him feel lost and with this comes a form of depression, although I'm not a doctor to qualify this.

If he has a close friend who is straight then questions will be asked and may be some type of criticism may be directed towards him, so this will upset him with the fear of losing this friend, but remember there are many gay/bi/trans who have many straight friendship's, it's just about adjusting.

Your son can contact Qlife on 1300 555 727 or Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 by phone, web chat or online and this doesn't stop you from contacting them as well.

You have every right to worry about what is going on and please don't feel as though you shouldn't.


Life Member.

Community Member

For what it’s worth, I don’t think you’re full of rubbish. As for your son’s friend influencing him to transition, this is probably very unlikely (from my personal experience and observation, queer kids tend to bunch together, even if none of them know they/their friends are queer). My suggestion is to be as supportive as possible, be as loving as you would want your parent to be if you were in this situation - and obviously, a professional is very important and a private confidential space to speak would be appreciated on the part of your child. 


If he is LGBTQ+, know that it’s still the same child you know and love. It may be a part of his distress, though coming out isn’t an immediate fix it. Coming out (to a positive reception by family) creates a sense of honesty and could be an opportunity to show you are on his side. 

Community Member

Hi _Lee_,


I'm not LGBTQ+, however I am a young adult with an eating disorder and experience of feeling judged/discriminated for that, so it may help me to understand a bit of how your son may feel.


So he emailed you to ask if you would accept him for being LGBTQ+? Is email his normal method of communication? For example, if he normally talks on the phone, it could be that this feels really hard to say in person for him. If he is finding this hard to talk about with you it is probably more likely the truth he is telling. As a young person with an ED, I always felt so ashamed of my food rituals so if I did find the courage to talk about them, it was 100% the truth.


I think it is good that you were honest in saying you might struggle but would still accept him. That is better then just saying you are 100% okay with it.


QLife looks like a great resource Sophie_M has recommended. I wonder too if it would be helpful to have an open discussion with your son about why you might struggle and also too asking him if there is anything you can do to support him or make this topic easier to talk about.


Warm regards x



white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Lee


You've had some great replies here.


I do think your sons friend has likely had some influence on him to some degree. We see in the entertainment industry for example the commonality of LGBTIQ in that community and it seems much higher numbers than elsewhere in society. I'd guess that its a environment that has such high numbers that some members in that industry would end up questioning their own sexuality.


However, when, after pursuing this new found inclination into trans or other route, if he doesnt "feel" comfortable in that identity then he will switch back or go another way. What I'm eluding to is that I think it is entirely healthy and "normal" for him to seek out his comfort zone with the view of finding himself. With you supporting him (not necessarily without disappointment/concern) you would be a wonderful friend and thats exactly his need. 


However, he also needs to understand other people and their perspectives. In a very subtle manner you can, at the appropriate time, mention the reasons you have had experiencing the transformation from son, male, with expectations he'd one day be a partner with a female. Such expectations are normal so it takes time to alter these.  In the big wide world he is best served by accepting why such expectations exist and the time factor in that process. 


I often use the analogy of an astronaut walking on the moon. That once home he tells all his friends of what it was like. However, can any of us that have never walked on the moon get a real feeling of his experience? No. Such acceptance goes both ways. 


I'm certain you are a very good mother. You wont however say everything right with a sensitive son but your support and involvement in your sons pursuit of happiness will be his greatest asset.