Parents face transition and work for family acceptance
As we began to share her truth, with her blessing, we learned what the important part people in our lives think - and the majority of them reacted in love to the news.
Briefly describe how your child first came out to you and your initial reactions.
Our son came out to his dad, first, as bisexual in February of 2017. A few days later, my husband told me. We both assured him of our unconditional love. And, a few months later, on that same child’s 18th birthday, we assured HER of our unconditional love, when we learned that we had a daughter, rather than a son.
What concerns did you experience over the first weeks or months? How did you deal with them?
Our biggest concerns were for our child’s safety, ( these concerns remain), and what would people think. As we began to share her truth, with her blessing, we learned what the important part people in our lives think – and the majority of them reacted in love to the news. We discovered that we no longer cared so much about what the non-supportive people think.
Has your child come out to other family members over time?
Yes. She has asked us to share her truth with all of our family and close friends. With the exception of one aunt, all of the family have been kind…even if they don’t really understand. When we told people, we added reference material about suicide rates for those without support, along with medical studies that point out that people are, indeed, born this way.
What is the hardest thing about knowing their LGBTQ identity?
There is a sense of loss, as the hopes and plans we once held for their future changed drastically. And there is some guilt that we didn’t recognize the signs earlier so we could assure her of our support, and spare her years of inner turmoil. And, there is concern for her safety, and her livelihood. She may not be afforded the same opportunities as her cis-het sibling.
What are some challenges have you faced concerning your LGBTQ child? How did you deal with these?
Our biggest challenge, right now, is with insurance. Many insurance companies refuse transgender-related care. Ours even has language limiting care for those living with AIDS. As one of us works for the insurance company, our hands are rather tied on this.
We also had a lack of social and support activities in our area for people our daughter’s age, and their parents. So, we started some groups. We also started a PFLAG chapter.
What is the best thing about knowing your child's LGBTQ identity?
Knowing who our child really is, has allowed us to be better parents. We are better able to love and support her.
Knowing what you know today, would you want your child to “stay in the closet”? Why?
Absolutely not. No one should have to hide who they are. In a perfect world, everyone would feel love and acceptance, no matter who they are.
What would you say to other parents learning the LGBTQ identity of their child?
Just Love. This amazing child of yours has not really changed. With your love and support, you will witness your child blossom into the beautiful creation they are.
What would you say to youth coming out to their families?
Stay brave and know there are people who support you. If your parents cannot, right now, share this website, seek out a PFLAG chapter, or check out Freedhearts.org. Both of these organizations have resources to share with your parents, and can help you find support.
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