One of the most amazing things about the last decade or so is the fact that children, in general, have become more accepting.
They know that people come in all shapes and sizes. They know that sexual orientation isn’t something someone can choose. And they’re willing to befriend a diverse group of people. Kindness is one of the most important traits to pass on.
That said, there are still plenty of important resources that you should utilize if your child comes out. The LGBTQ community is loving and accepting. But it can still be very hard for children to come to terms with their sexuality and gender identity.
And it may be hard for you, too. A parent always envisions where their children may end up, and for many parents, it may be initially hard to view their children with a same-sex partner.
But having a child who identifies as LGBTQ doesn’t mean there will never be grandkids, or that your own mother or father will disapprove. Times have changed, and we need to let go of the idea that these things are in our control. They’re not. The last thing you want to do is make your child feel as if they’re isolated and have nobody to talk to. Be the ally they need, and recognize that they’ll struggle more without your support.
If you need some additional information and support, here are seven wonderful organizations. All of them have the capability of teaching you everything you need to know.
PFLAG is one of the biggest and most established resources for parents of LGBT kids. There are well over 400 chapters, and the organization has been providing support and serving as activists since 1972. “PFLAG National speaks out on issues critical to creating a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed,” the PFLAG website states. If a local chapter doesn’t exist near you, you can start one up to connect with people who will be supportive and understanding.
2. Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood does so much to educate people about sexual health and sexuality.
Planned Parenthood offers education, support, and referrals if need be. Many locations also offer hormone therapy for transgender patients. By visiting a local branch, you can learn a lot from people who are friendly, approachable, and well educated on whatever topics you need assistance with.
And, for the record, the organization also offers affordable health care for women. So if you need birth control or just a routine checkup, Planned Parenthood is there for you.
3. Family Equality Council
The Family Equality Council was actually created as a supportive organization for parents who come out to their families later in life. But as far as the LGBTQ community and family resources go, the nonprofit provides great help.
This year, the organization turned 40. Originally founded back in 1979, it got its start at the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. If you’re struggling to know how to approach an LGBTQ teen, it’s possible you can connect with an adult who had to overcome the same obstacles. The more people you talk to in the LGBTQ community, the more you’ll realize how accepting and helpful of a group they are.
4. LGBT National Help Center
The National Help Center has hotlines for both LGBTQ youth and seniors, as well as a general hotline if there’s anything you need to discuss or need help with. Founded in 1996, it strives to help people with peer-support and community connections. All of the volunteers are in the LGBTQ community and are wonderful to talk to if you’re looking for ways to show support for your child.
5. Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign, also known as HRC, is the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization — so it’s one you’ll want to familiarize yourself with. Topics range in everything from adoption to hate crimes, and HRC offers a wealth of information.
On its website, you can learn everything you need to know about LGBTQ youth, coming out, and even transgender issues within younger children. If you’re unfamiliar with the topics, HRC is an incredible place to find information that’ll help you connect and communicate better with your child.
6. Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educators Network
Also known as GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educators Network is a great place to find information. While its main focus is to make sure that every student can experience an LGBTQ-friendly school environment, GLSEN obviously knows a lot about LGBTQ children and teens. So if you’re looking for ways to be an activist, especially if your child feels uncomfortable at school? This nonprofit can help you out.
GLSEN is great at creating and upholding policies for places of education to make every student feel safe and welcome. It was founded by teachers back in 1990, so you know it values children and their education.
7. Lambda Literary
While all of the organizations above are excellent places to explore, it’s also important to remember that there are many places that support creatives in the LGBTQ community. If your son or daughter is a talented writer, they should look into Lambda Literary. It is a great resource.
“We believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published, and read,” the Lambda Literary website states. It’s also possible for you, as a parent, to read works created by LGBTQ kids to better understand your own. The website includes plenty of links to sites the organization approves of, such as YA Pride.