There is a huge difference between acceptance/tolerance and invitation/encouragement/support… So I can be a voice that helps assure the latter becomes the norm and not the exception.
Mother of a transgender son
Definition: Ways parents or allies can speak and act that let their community and their child know that they hold an inclusive view of LGBTQ people.
Why: This is showing support, whether you have an LGBTQ loved one or not, whether your child is publicly out or not. These actions help any LGBTQ person know it’s safe to talk to you.
Timing: Any time
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE
1 – Be a Non-Participant
- Refuse to participate in subtle or overt LGBTQ disparagement.
- Do not use negative language, tease, or make disrespectful jokes.
- Walk away from disparaging conversations.
2 – Express an Inclusive Attitude
- Make proactive efforts to discuss LGBTQ people and ideas.
- Avoid silence. Silence makes LGBTQ topics seem taboo.
- Find opportunities to talk about LGBTQ people or issues in positive ways.
- Talk about LGBTQ individuals you know and what you admire about them (co-workers, friends, relatives, etc.).
- Discuss news stories or current events around LGBTQ issues (same-sex marriage, bathroom bills, discrimination, health issues, news, etc.).
- Comment on celebrities, politicians, or advocates who are or who support LGBTQ and why that matters.
3 – Outreach
- Establish relationships with LGBTQ people in your community.
- Encourage LGBTQ youth that you encounter through sports, friendships, school, etc. Be friendly and normal to these youth as you would to any others.
- Extend invitations to shared activities such as inviting an LGBTQ neighbor to dinner or a movie, or asking someone to join a league or group activity (sports, music, gardening, cooking, etc.).
4 – Take a Stand
- Confront others’ negative word/actions.
- Object to derogatory comments or jokes (“That’s a hurtful comment”, “That’s not funny”).
- Correct your child (or siblings, or relatives) for negative comments.
- Criticize negative examples of such behavior in movies, TV, news stories, etc.
- Be a public advocate.
- Donate to organizations that promote LGBTQ rights.
- Participate in demonstrations in your area.
- Vote for inclusive office holders.
- Encourage your church, temple, or mosque to support LGBTQ members.
5 – Come Out Anonymously
- Learn all you can.
- Get factual information, resources and suggestions from supportive websites such as strongfamilyalliance.org or pflag.org/transgender.
- Read about others’ stories of being a parent of an LGBTQ person (e.g., Family Stories at strongfamilyalliance.org, the excellent documentary ”Anyone and Everyone”).
- For an informative and encouraging article about transgender youth and their families, visit the YouTube video How Parents Can Best Support a Transgender Child: Research Study
- Share your own story in a private, confidential way.
- Find confidential, private support.
- Work with an affirming knowledgeable therapist.
- Talk with supportive, accepting clergy.
- Join a support group such as PFLAG.