Parents and Carers

How to support your Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer or Questioning child?

Many parents have contacted us to find out how they can best support their child when they are ‘coming out’, when they questioning their sexuality and/or gender identity or when you have a ‘feeling’ about their sexuality and/or gender identity.

By making it to this page its a sign that you really want the best for your child.

 

Seven ways you can support your child

(click a tip below for further details)

1) Be open-minded and respect and accept what your child tells you
If your child tells you they are feeling a certain way, accept it – that is how they are feeling and that those feelings are valid at that time. It can be hurtful when people doubt or question LGBT*Q+ young people about their feelings and identities. Accepting and using people’s preferred pronouns and identities is also important. If your child prefers to be called ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian or that they prefer to be referred to as ‘he’, ‘she’ or neither then respect their wishes and refrain from using other words or pronouns to describe them.
2) Be sensitive when asking questions
Just because your child has come out to you doesn’t mean that they will want to or will be able to answer all of the questions you may have. Reading about LGBT*Q+ people, their histories and cultures and attending LGBT*Q+ events are effective ways to learn more about LGBT*Q+ people and great ways to show your support.
3) Don’t 'out' your child to other people
If your child has come out to you they may not want anyone else to know, they may want to tell others in their own time – or not at all. Unless they ask you too, it is not your responsibility or right to tell others.
4) Try to use gender neutral language
By assuming people are heterosexual, it can make it difficult for your child to talk about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity or partners if they are not heterosexual or out about their sexuality and or gender identity.
By rephrasing questions, for example ‘are you seeing someone’ rather than ‘do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?’ or words such as ‘partner’ and ‘other half’ can show people that you are open and accepting, it allows LGBT*Q+ people, should they wish, to feel comfortable speaking about their sexuality/gender identity and partners and avoid awkward explanations and discussion.
Gender neutral language is also best practise to use in your every day as it isn’t always clear what pronouns a person uses to identify with. By using gender neutral language, we minimise the chance of misgendering people.
5) Confront your own views and opinions
Addressing and reflecting on stereotypes, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and prejudice, though sometimes may be uncomfortable,  can help you to understand common issues affecting your LGBT*Q+  child and perhaps highlight things you can do differently to become a better parent and great ally.
6) Show support
The most important thing to do is to show your child that you will support by telling them that you are there if they need someone to talk or reach out to.
7) Take things at your child’s pace
Having shown your support,  it is important to take the lead from your child. Do not try to force conversations about being LGBT*Q+  and or push the idea of support, as this can often make young people feel uncomfortable, it’s often a good idea to wait for them to raise then subject or ask about it.
You can still support your LGBT*Q+ child indirectly by making idle conversation, for example, talking about an LGBT celebrity in a positive way, or mentioning a LGBT*Q+ family friend. This allows you to show you are open and accepting, something many LGBT*Q+ young people feel the people around them are not.

 

How can we support you?

We are available to speak to you about the issues your child might be facing.

We would also encourage you to learn about the issues LGBT*Q+ young people face and engage with different LGBT*Q+ events and happenings.

The links page of this website can be found here. This shows some useful links to helpful sites from around the web.

The FFLAG website (Friends and Family of Lesbians And Gays) is a helpful place to look for support and information. (link)

 

Supporting Trans*, Gender Variant or  Non-Binary children

Over the last 10 years we have seen an increase in the number of Trans*, Gender Variant or  Non-Binary young people contacting us for support.

We understand the complexities and challenges faced by Trans*, Gender Variant or  Non-Binary young people and their parents/carers and families.

In response to this we are in the process of establishing TRANS* FAMILIES – a support group for the parents / carers 0f Trans*, Gender Variant or  Non-Binary children under 13 years.

Involving parents and carers of Trans*, Gender Variant or  Non-Binary children, the group offers a warm and emotionally supportive environment for parents / carers, with the chance to share highs and lows of supporting a Trans*, Gender Variant or  Non-Binary child, supporting siblings and wider family.

We want it to be a place  where parents/carers are able to talk, learn valuable information, and share their stories.

While their children and young people meet and make friends with other Trans*, Gender Variant or  Non-Binary people their own ages.

Parents/carers will need to remain on site for the Trans* Families sessions.