CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today CLICK HERE

Ricochet founder Colette Hill

PUBLISHED: 15:50 10 February 2016

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto


Colette Hill, founder of Ricochet a support group for parents of gay children, reveals how despite a more relaxed attitude towards same sex relationships some still struggle

When I tell people I run a support group – Ricochet - for the parents of gay children, their reaction is generally one of surprise. They wonder why it matters to people if their daughter is a lesbian or their son is gay. Surely, in this day and age, we are all relaxed about the whole business?

It is true that we have come a long way in the first few years of this millennium. In 2001, the age of consent for gay men was lowered to 16. In 2002, equal rights were granted for same-sex couples wanting to adopt. In 2003, the infamous Section 28 was repealed and a new law came into force protecting gay people from discrimination at work. In 2004 the Civil Partnership Act was passed, followed by the Marriage Act in 2013. In London, in 2016, young gay couples wander the pavements hand in hand and no one bats an eyelid. Maybe it’s all bit a bit fast for you? In which case you are not alone.

These are some of the responses members of Ricochet have to deal with when they come out (as they say) as the parent of a gay child: ‘I don’t understand why so many young choose that kind of lifestyle,’ (it’s not a choice); ‘he’ll change his mind when he meets the right girl,’ (as I say, it’s not a choice); ‘there are treatments, I think,’ (it’s not a disease); ‘I’m so sorry for you,’ (it’s not a problem, unless we choose to make it one).

The fact is that even in the UK there is still much to do. Homophobic hate crime rose 22 per cent last year. Nine out of ten teachers reported homophobic bullying in class. And, of course, the people who come to Ricochet meetings don’t all start out as open-minded as they become. Many are devastated that they won’t walk their daughters down the aisle (they may, of course, though not in a church) or become grandparents (they may do that, too). They admit to disgust about the how gay people make love (straight people have some pretty funny habits too).

We could learn a thing or two from our ancestors. In most early civilisations, same-sex loving was an everyday affair, acceptable, often admirable. Did you know that all but one of the first fourteen Roman emperors, were known for their love of men? The same can be said of the ten emperors of the Western Han in ancient China which has an recorded history of same-sex loving covering 3000 years, from the Zhou dynasty to the last century. Among the Azande, living in what is now the south-west of Sudan, there is evidence of men taking a younger lover throughout history until the beginning of the twentieth century and of lesbian relationships between the wives in the tribe’s polygamous marriages.

Sex between two men or two women was once a fact of life all over the world. We need to come full circle. Until we get there, Ricochet will continue to meet in Hamworthy on the first Saturday of the month to help us on our way.

About Colette Hill

Colette and her husband, David, moved to Dorset from London where Colette ran a PR company specialising in corporate communications on behalf of major employers. They have a son and two daughters all of whom still live in London. Colette founded Ricochet in 2012, initially starting with a helpline and website. The support group, which she runs from her home near Bridport, is for parents, family and friends of gay and lesbian children. They hold meetings in Hamworthy on the first Saturday of the month. Newcomers are very welcome.

For more details visit


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Dorset visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Dorset staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Dorset account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Tue, 10:39

From festival director to an internationally acclaimed artist, meet some of the remarkable people working behind the scenes to enhance what historic Sherborne has to offer

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hosted by Martin and Philippa Clunes, this year’s event drew people, ponies and dogs from far and wide to raise funds for Dorset County Hospital Charity Cancer Appeal

Read more
Friday, July 27, 2018

Martin Clunes and his family have called West Dorset home for over two decades. Here he shares some of their favourite local places

Read more
Monday, July 9, 2018

Calling all self-professed Clunatics! Test your knowledge on Doc Martin with our quiz.

Read more
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fanny Charles meets some of the residents and businesses owners who are proud to call Dorset’s newest town the place where they work, live and play

Read more
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Donna and Harry Mosley have brought the taste of their world travels to The Paddle in Highcliffe, where brunch and lunch is a deliciously leisurely affair

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Here we turn the spotlight on some of our county’s most successful and discover what makes them tick

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Human rights lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith has brought the plight of detainees at Guantanomo Bay into the art rooms of local schools

Read more
Friday, March 2, 2018

Rural communities throughout the UK could be eligible to receive funding via the Calor Rural Community Fund from energy provider Calor

Read more
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

His extraordinary physique made Chang Woo Gow famous, but this well educated family man sought escape from the limelight in Boscombe

Read more
Thursday, February 8, 2018

Retired drama teacher turned film director and producer, Rosita Clarke tells us about the ghostly Dorset love story that has just won her an award at an international film festival

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

We’ve been lucky enough to speak to some of Dorset’s best known over the years. Here’s what they love most about this beautiful county

Read more
Monday, January 29, 2018

A world-renowned explorer, a palaeontologist and futurist, and a butterfly conservator reveal the importance of the past for the future of mankind

Read more
Monday, January 15, 2018

AFC Bournemouth’s Jermain Defoe tells Andy Greeves how having a virtually vegan diet has helped to keep him at the top of his game and why beetroot helps him run faster

Read more

Local People

Tue, 10:39

From festival director to an internationally acclaimed artist, meet some of the remarkable people working behind the scenes to enhance what historic Sherborne has to offer

Read full story »