Ren Wheeler - LGBT role model

Workforce Development Officer

My Role

I am a Workforce Development Officer. I am a registered Social Worker and my main role is as a Practice Educator for Step Up Students and NQSW’s on the Assisted and Supported Year in Employment. I also oversee training pathways and facilitate training in Social Work related areas.

My Identity

I am a mother of a Bisexual daughter

My story

I have always prided myself in being very open minded and non- judgemental. However when my 19 daughter told me she was Bisexual I was confused by my reaction - I did not want her to be. I would have been Okay if she was Gay or Straight but I could not quite get my head around her not being one or the other. This confusion led to acceptance very quickly but I did reflect on my initial reaction. I think I was concerned about how my daughter might not “fit in” with any particular group and would have confusion about her own identity. How could I help her? How could she find “acceptance”? Would she ever be happy?

I reflected and discussed with friends and colleagues and my husband (who was immediately accepting). I realised I had made it about me and not my beloved daughter who just needed to be accepted and allowed to go on with living her own life – something she would probably say I don’t do very well generally anyway!! I was angry with myself for a while as I did not react how I would have wanted. I accept my reaction now as probably quite a usual reaction.

Three years on, my daughter does not make an issue or have deep discussions about her sexuality. She is an independent young woman of 22. She is single and has a great social life and her close friends are a diverse group of people from all walks of life. She seems happy; she works full time and still lives at home. We laugh and cry together but rarely do we talk about her sexuality. She is open about who she fancies, both women & men - It is now just part of life.

Why it is important to be a role model

I realise that other parents may not respond the way they believe that they would do. We as parents should allow ourselves time to understand that it is your child’s journey that is important. If more parents of LGBT+ people were visible then others would know that they are not alone and they can maybe find someone to share their feelings with.

Ren Wheeler