My daughter came home last week and said she thinks she is gay, or rather she said she is bi-sexual. I like to think I’m a fairly aware and open person, and if this is how she identifies then I want to support her. However, I’m at a complete and total loss of what to do. Right now, I left it at, “Okay, thanks for telling me. Can I have some time to think about it?” What do I say? What do I need to do?
One out of four families has someone in it who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Even more may have kids who question their sexuality at various points.
I have worked with many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning kids and their parents to come out and transition. I’ve witnessed the feelings parents experience and their responses when a child says, “Mom. Dad. I have something to tell you.” I’ve seen shock, denial, guilt, blame, grief, suspicion, religious confusion, and more. I’ve also seen overwhelming love and even relief with parents expressing, “Phew, now I know what’s been on her mind,” or for some, “It’s about time!”
While most LGBTQ youth face the same growing-up and teen challenges of their peers, they also have to cope with tremendous bias and judgment because they are not straight. Many of these kids fear that they will lose your love and support.
Without any doubt, our LBGTQ kids need to know that we will love them — no matter what. They need our help to be safe and find their way in the world. Here are three ways you can begin to offer support, empathy, and love.
Remember that this is a journey. Sometimes the journey is smooth-sailing while other times you may hit some choppy waters. Keep expressing love for your child - and yourself - as much as possible. And, if you are feeling isolated or nervous, please reach out and connect with other parents or families through pflag.org or right here. I’m are always here to support you.