If your child comes out to you as LGBTQI+, it can be a confusing and overwhelming experience. You might have questions or concerns, but it can be an even more daunting step for them to take and your support can make all the difference in the world. Here is a beginner's guide on how to support your LGBTQI child:
1. Listen without judgment
One of the most important things you can do is listen to your child without judgment. Allow them to express themselves and their feelings without interrupting or offering your opinion unless asked. Make sure they know they can talk to you openly and without fear of rejection. Feeling accepted and understood at home can also give your child more confidence to be themselves with others.
2. Create a safe environment
Creating a safe environment is crucial for your child to feel loved and supported. Let them know that your love is unconditional, and they will not face discrimination or prejudice in their home. Make sure to use the appropriate pronouns and show respect for their identity.
3. Educate yourself
Educating yourself is another important step in supporting your child. Learn about what being LGBTQI means and what challenges your child might face. You can attend workshops, read books or online articles, and even watch movies or documentaries that shed light on the subject. Educating yourself will not only make you more knowledgeable, but it will also make your child feel more comfortable discussing their experiences with you.
Some resources around parenting and LGBTQ+ children
4. Advocate for your child
Advocating for your child can be as simple as correcting people when they use the wrong pronouns or standing up to those who discriminate against the LGBTQI community. It can also mean advocating for inclusive policies and procedures at their school, college or workplace. Be their voice when they need it and help them to navigate any challenges they may face.
5. Seek support
As a parent, supporting your LGBTQI child can be emotionally challenging. It's essential to seek support for yourself and your child. Consider attending support groups or therapy sessions together or separately. It can help you better understand and navigate the challenges you may face.
The journey of supporting your LGBTQI+ child may not always be easy, but it is an important one. It takes love, understanding and, at times, patience. Remember, you are not alone and it is ok to not have it all figured out straight away. The main thing is working together to create a world where everyone can love and be loved for who they are.