What to Do When Your child Comes Out As LGBTQ
So your child just came out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. What do you do?
The best initial response from parents is to “give their child a hug, to say that you love them,” said Kathy Godwin, board vice president for the organization PFLAG, which supports the LGBT community and helps to educate parents, families and friends.
“And then you can follow up and say, ‘You know, I don’t know everything I need to know, so give me a moment and some time, and with your help we’ll both go through this journey,’ ” Godwin says.
While each situation will be different, a parent should first reassure a child “that you have their back and that you love them unconditionally,” says Elijah C. Nealy, author of the new book Transgender Children and Youth: Cultivating Pride and Joy With Families in Transition.
This should happen “whether you understand everything or not, whether you are OK with them being LGBT or not,” advises Nealy, a transgender man and clinical social worker. “Because more and more, we’re understanding that that kind of acceptance and support from family is the critical mediating variable in terms of risk factors.”
“How you react to your gay or transgender children has a deep and lasting impact on their lives,” the Family Acceptance Project says in an information guide.
Advice for Parents
Be a good listener
Reassure in small ways
Learn the terms
Seek professional help if needed
Remember that your feelings are valid
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