Family acceptance is the number one factor that helps transgender, non-binary, gay, and bisexual young people thrive. So if your child and/or their friends identify as LGBTQ+ — or are questioning or simply discussing matters — it’s time to get informed.
Whether you want to know more about how to support transgender youth and the LGBTQ+ community in general, or you feel out of the loop when your teens talk about non-binary or gender fluid identities, ParentsTogether has got you covered with these easily digestible guides. Even if you already consider yourself an LGBTQ+ ally or part of the LGBTQ+ community, there’s always something new to learn.
Also be sure to look for informational books for LGBTQ+ kids and their parents and check out other trusted community resources available for parents and teens.
Educate yourself on basics of the LGBTQ+ community
During LGBTQ+ Pride Month and really any time of year, there’s a lot to learn about the diversity of culture and identities around us. Gay pride goes way beyond waving a rainbow flag, so study up!
LGBTQ+ identities are nothing new, but some of the terms might be unfamiliar to you or your family members.
And if you’re wondering if kids are too young to be discussing gender and sexuality, know that there are many other aspects of the LGBTQ+ community that kids can benefit from being more aware of.
If you’ve heard controversy about hormone or puberty treatments used for some transgender kids, make sure you know the facts.
Create welcoming spaces for LGBTQ+ community and your own family
You might not know whether someone (your child, their peers, neighbors and families that you meet) identifies, or will identify in the future, as part of the LGBTQ+ community or not. It’s always a good idea to use inclusive language and show kids you’ll always be there to love and support them.
You can start at any age, and in any setting, by using language that normalizes diversity in family structures, rather than assuming that everyone has a mom and a dad.
There are plenty of other subtle language swaps you can make that could help open up the lines of communication and trust within your own family and community.
Even if your teen is too embarrassed to talk about gender and sexuality with you, there are ways you can begin to lay down a supportive foundation so that they’ll be more likely to feel comfortable talking in the future.
Helpful scripts for LGBTQ-supportive parents
No matter how great your intentions are when it comes to supporting transgender, non-binary, gay and queer kids and families, sometimes it’s hard to know the right words to say. Read through these suggested scripts and adapt them to your family or situation.
It can be really powerful for kids to see their parents stand up to homophobia and transphobia. These responses will help you model the behavior you want to see in your kids.
You can also talk directly to kids (no matter their own gender identity) about why it’s important to listen to and respect people’s preferences when it comes to gender identities.
From a young age, kids might ask you curious questions, like “What does gay mean?” and you’ll want to answer honestly while using language simple enough for their stage of development.
If your child is gender-nonconforming or has come out to you as gay, queer, transgender or non-binary, you’ll need to get comfortable standing up for them. It may not come naturally at first, but you can practice! The more confident you become, the more love and support they’ll feel to be able to advocate for themselves in the future.
If anyone ever tells you that your kid’s gender identity or sexuality is “just a phase” or that transgender or queer identities are “just a trend,” listen to these responses.
These questions are great conversation starters and can help your family learn more about the origins of LGBTQ+ Pride, the gay pride flag, and other important history and current events.
More ways to be an LGBTQ+ ally and/or support your LGBTQ+ kid
You don’t have to be a perfect parent to be a loving, supportive parent. It’s normal to have a range of thoughts and emotions throughout the coming out process and beyond.
There’s a lot you can do to help your child have a positive experience when coming out or expressing their true selves. The world might not always have their back, but you can.
When it comes to attending a Pride festival or Pride Month event in your area with kids, here’s what to consider.
Even if you and your family members don’t identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, you can still be an active supporter, rather than silent and neutral, during these polarizing times.