“When my daughter was little I spent so much time fussing over how she looked. I should have been concerned about how she felt. We didn’t know about transgender – but I know how sad and depressed she got right before middle school. The school helped us find a counselor and that’s when we found out how hopeless she felt. I wanted to make sure she wasn’t rejected by others, but instead, I was the one who was rejecting her. I’m so grateful I could change things before it was too late.”
Brianna, mother of a 12-year-old transgender youth
LGBT young adults who reported high levels of family rejection during adolescence (as compared to peers from families with no to low levels of rejection) were:
- 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide
- 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression
- 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and
- 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse.
Ryan et al., (2009), Family rejection as a predictor of negative health outcomes in white and Latino lesbian, gay and bisexual young adults, Pediatrics, 123(1), 346-352
Families with LGBTQ kids no longer face the kind of isolation they did, even twenty years ago. We know so much more about how our LGBTQ children can be supported to grow into healthy, self-loving adults ready to enjoy full lives (including marriage and family if they choose) and to share their talents with the world. Parents can also find help with any conflicts or struggles of their own, including faith-based questions, as many faith traditions are becoming more affirming of LGBTQ people.
- App for parents to help their child with bullying: The Know Bullying App
- Book: Bullied, what every parent, teacher and kid needs to know about ending the cycle of fear. by Carrie Goldman. It includes a chapter regarding LGBT issues
- A Practitioner’s Resource Guide: Helping Families to Support Their LGBT Children
- Our Trans Loved Ones: Questions and Answers for Parents, Families, and Friends of People Who Are Transgender and Gender Expansive
- Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family
- The transgender child: A handbook for families and professionals
- Family videos: “Families Are Forever” and “Always My Son.”
- Crisis: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay In America
From 2015 ALA Rainbow List:
- We Are the Youth: Sharing the Stories of LGBT Youth in the United States
- Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition
- The Gender Book
Discussion Questions for Parents:
- When you first learned that your child was LGBTQ, what were your fears? What has helped you with them?
- Did you have protective wishes that your child not come out, in the hope of keeping them safer? Is there a chance that might have come across as rejection, or lack of acceptance, and do you feel like you could address that directly now?
- Now that you know your child is LGBTQ, are there particular hopes that you have? What can you do to help those come to pass?
- If you were a parent or family member of a LGBTQ teen, what might you say or do to make the teen feel supported, safe, and valued? From what the teens on this program mentioned, what are two or three specific things you might do?
- If you were a parent or family member of a LGBTQ teen, what information, resources, or help might you need to support this teen?