Your daughter or son may have just told you that she/he is lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). You might have been wondering about their sexuality for a while, or the announcement might have come as a bolt out of the blue. Perhaps they have yet to ‘come out’ but somehow you know that they are gay and want to offer your support
Not a choice
Why does this happen?
“You wouldn’t go and see a comedian and ask why are they funny? Or [ask] is it in their genes?” Parents often have ideas as to how their children will turn out, but more often than not things don’t quite turn out that way! Asking why someone is the way they are is indeed a big philosophical question. However simply accepting people for who they are is a necessary part of human existence.
Supporting your child
• Emphasise to your child that you will always love them, no matter what, and their sexual orientation or gender identity doesn’t change this.
• Reassure your child that their sexual orientation or gender identity is as much a unique part of them as their eye colour or height. It is not something that they choose or can change.
• Listen to your child – they will be experiencing a range of feelings as a result of telling you about their sexual orientation or gender identity; be there to hear them, and reassure them, when they need to talk.
• Help them find extra support. It’s important to recognise that sexual orientation and gender identity aren’t problems. However, your child may need support around them outside of the family, particularly if they are interested in exploring the gender reassignment process.
The organisation Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLAG) offers the following advice for parents.
• Although you might be surprised or shocked by your child’s news, try and remember how vulnerable they are feeling.
• Remember that they are still the same daughter or son that you have always known and loved. Their sexual orientation or gender is part of who they are, not what they are.
• Your child has shared an important part of who they are with you. Accept their honesty and support them.
• If you have a positive and supportive attitude to your child’s news, family and friends are likely to take their lead from you.
• Don’t conceal your emotions. If their news was a surprise or a shock that you were totally unprepared for, it is best to tell your daughter or son this. Say you still love her/him and that nothing has changed that, but that you will need time to adjust.
• Get in touch with a parents’ support organisation where you will be able to talk through your emotions and listen to other parents’ experiences. (See useful links)
Rainbow Youth is a local youth group that offers a place where young people can express themselves in a safe environment.
The group offers;
• Safe space to be yourself
• Social Events
• One to one support
• Support in coming out to friends, family, work or college
For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org
FFLAG: Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Gendered Intelligence Online Parents Support Group Support and discussion space for parents & family members of young trans people.
Stonewall – Coming out LGBT Guide
Rainbow Youth Group email email@example.com
School Nursing Telephone: 0800 0199 951 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org