What you can do, say and research to make your LGBTQIA+ child feel loved and
Being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community does NOT mean that you have a social, emotional, behavioral, or mental challenge. Unfortunately societal stigmas surrounding the community can impact mental health, especially the mental health of LGBTQIA+ youth.
These are tips from members of the LGBTQIA+ community about what they are glad their own parents did, and what they wish they had done when they came out to protect their mental health.
What to do as soon as your child comes out to you.
There will be things you don't know; don't panic. Tell them that you will learn what you don't know and you will be there for every step of their self discovery.
Tell them that they are in charge of who they come out to and when they decide to do that.
Reassure them you are always on their side.
Let them know this only changes what they want it to change.
Remember this is the same child you loved yesterday, and last week. Continue to love them as you always have.
They may not be asking you to understand, they are asking you to accept and love them. Don't panic and let them get their thoughts out before you ask questions.
If you tell them anything in that moment back it up with actions. If you told them you would find them a therapist to talk to? Find one. If you told them you would research? Start it that night.
Thank them for sharing their authentic self with you.
Use the correct terminology
Terminology in the LGBTQIA+ community is ever evolving and as an ally it is import that you stay up
to date. Respect your child and every other member of the community by continuing your research and
making it a priority.
When your child comes out to you and tells you how they identify make sure to use the words they do. When other people in your life use the wrong term correct them - every single time.
Do's and Don'ts
DO ask your child questions such as their preferred pronouns or how they identify rather than assuming.
However DON'T use your child as an LGBTQIA+ encyclopedia. Go to Google right away and start searching. Find the correct terminology to use, look for support groups for both you and your child if either of you
feel like you need them. Research and learn from the LGBTQIA+ community.
Check out some great blogs on this topic
Find Resources for the LGBTQ+ Community
Trans Student Educational Resources is a youth-led organization dedicated to transforming the educational environment for trans and gender non-conforming students through advocacy and empowerment. Click here.
Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, the Transgender Law Center employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation. Click here.
"Trevor provides valuable resources to young people nationwide who may not have anywhere else to turn to for help. That's why their work is so incredible—thanks to Trevor's programs, LGBTQ youth are not alone." Marisol C. Click here.
For over four decades, PFLAG has provided support to families and allies who are in need, through peer-to-peer meetings, online outreach, and telephone hotlines. PFLAG National also offers a huge variety of resources and programs that provide support for those in need. Click here.
Parents can often feel isolation and loneliness throughout this experience. Establishing TransParent support groups around the country creates safe spaces for parents to be open about their feelings; breaking free of the stigma society puts on the trans community. In doing so, we stabilize parents and give them strength and confidence to become advocates for their children. Click here.
The Human Rights Campaign represents a force of more than 3 million members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community. Click here.
Family Acceptance Project uses a research-based, culturally grounded approach to help ethnically, racially and religiously diverse families learn to support their LGBTQ children. Click here
Family Equality’s mission is to advance legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Click here.
Other LGBTQIA+ related resources:
Advocating for LGBTQ Students with Disabilities - This guide for educators, parents and guardians outlines the rights of LGBTQ+students with disabilities and offers concrete strategies for supporting LGBTQ+ students who have an IEP or 504 plan.