As a gay person myself, I feel as though I have some authority to react to this advertisement. Upon first glance this ad is certainly homophobic. And although ads are rarely constructed to be broken down and analyzed by their audience, a rereading of this advertisement seems to suggest truth. Most parents don’t anticipate gay children. Most are heterosexual, and have no concept about the real pressures, anxieties, and occasional dangers of being a gay person. That unknown space is terrifying for a parent. Parents often prepare for child’s distant future for more than a decade of their child’s life before those forethoughts are shattered by an unfamiliar revelation at puberty. A parent’s love for their child is exactly what can make their child’s comingout so shocking and difficult at first.
In some ways I think this shock mimics Julia Serano’s notion of experiential gender, which is fluid and changes with life events and different life experiences. Just as gay people have to come out, their moms and dads have to come out as the parents of a gay child. This can lead to its own ostracization, and is in many ways a confrontation with a new part of the parent identity. Though Serano’s experience as a trans woman feels quite particular, her model for experiential sexual identity is one that can be translated into other feminist/queer contexts in a positive way!