Consenting Adult is a 1985 gay themed TV movie. Jeff Lynd is a young man attending college in Seattle. He is majoring in pre-medicine. His family lives about an hour away. His dad Ken Lynd has just been discharged from hospital after suffering a stroke. Jeff could not make it to the homecoming party due to school commitments but he calls.
Jeff writes a letter to his mother Tess Lynd explaining that he has something to talk about. He goes further to write that he cannot put it off any longer. He asks the mother to call him. Tess calls and they agree to meet next day at lunch. Jeff hesitates but goes ahead to say "mom, I am a homosexual". He goes on to say how he has fought against it for long. He also says that he has never had sex with anyone yet. Tess is shocked but she insists they will get help. She cries on her way back home.
Tess goes to Dr. Mark Waldo to explain Jeff's situation. She blames herself that she might have been overprotective of Jeff thus causing his homosexuality. Dr. Mark explains that there is no conclusive cure for homosexuality he knows for sure and that he cannot make any promises on recovery. He refers Tess to a psychiatrist who is known to treat homosexuality. Meanwhile Tess frequents the library to read all she can about homosexuality.
Tess goes to see the psychiatrist who claims he has turned 25% of his patients from homosexual to heterosexual. He asks Tess about Jeff's history. He then asks Tess not to come anymore as Jeff might feel as if he is being reported on.
Back at home Ken Lynd can tell Tess is not herself. He insists on knowing. Tess explains to him that their son Jeff thinks he might be gay. Ken is shocked and says that if it is true it will remain true. He goes off to lock himself in the room and sobs.
Jeff goes for his appointment with the psychiatrist. Jeff talks about his life of denial and his struggle with homosexuality. The psychiatrist insists he can turn him straight if he is willing to work with him.
Jeff's sister Margie eventually tells her mother Tess that she is pregnant. Tess and Ken are excited but Jeff's homosexuality still occupies a big part of their thoughts negatively.
Tess plans to have dinner with both Ken and Jeff to discuss the gay issue. Jeff comes home but dad cancels his attendance claiming he has a big deal selling cars that might go for hours. Jeff and Tess know he is avoiding. At dinner Jeff tells mom how he has no feelings for girls even when they touch or kiss him. He talsk of this guy in his swimming team who he is totally attracted to and dreams of.
At home Ken and Tess get into an argument when she insists he is avoiding his son. Ken insists he cannot handle seeing him. He says how hard it is for a man to find out his only son is queer. The argument gets heated with dad saying homosexuality is unnatural.
Jeff is one of the best swimmers in the college team. Ken refuses to attend a match and opts to listen to it on radio. Margie and his husband Nate who are in attendance ask Tess why Ken missed it. They can tell something is off. Tess refuses to tell them the truth.
Ken talks to Tess about a gay man who worked for him but later committed suicide. He goes on to talk about AIDS among gay men and the idea of never having children. Jeff comes over for Christmas and his dad only says hey. Tess organizes for a girl next door named Sue to have a date with Jeff during new year eve party. Sue has always had a crush of Jeff. She makes her approach on Jeff and kisses him. Jeff is however unresponsive to her advances. Jeff later tells Tess that the date flopped. He tells Tess that he is not sick with a disease and that the therapy is only meant to brainwash him to be what he is not. Ken finds Jeff as he is arguing with Tess and he also gets into the argument about the morality of homosexuality. Jeff storms off upset after Ken declares he will not waste any more money on him.
Jeff goes to his sister Margie's house. He explains to her and Nate that he is gay. They encourage him saying he can even move in. They also tell him it is nobody's business who he is. Margie later confronts Tess to accept Jeff for who he is.
In college Jeff's roommate finds out about his homosexuality. He is shocked and throws a tantrum asking Jeff to leave. Jeff leaves and goes to stay with Stewart his boyfriend who is also majoring in pre-medicine.
Tess gets Ken a watch for his birthday. Ken shows him a letter he has been writing to give Jeff but yet to finalize.
Ken later passes away. Tess hands over the letter to Jeff. In the letter Ken apologizes and insists he is not ready to leave his son. Tess later comes to terms with Jeff's lifestyle fearing she will loose time with him as Ken did. She calls Jeff for Christmas and asks him to bring Stewart his gay boyfriend along.