Parents and Other Allies of LGBTQ Children and Teens
As a parent, if your child has come out as lesbian or gay, or has questions, concerns, or problems related to sexuality or sexual identity, you’ll want to know how you can be as supportive as possible. You’ll need to understand about the societal forces your child is up against, and also (maybe) about your own biases, fears, and assumptions. We all have a lot to learn.
And, if your child isn’t experiencing any of these challenges, that you know about, you’ll want to know how to teach your child to be fair, fearless, accepting, embracing of diversity, and able to take appropriate action to combat fear, bias, and hate. A good place to start, always, is to be open to learning more.
There is a great deal of information online. As a start, check out www.PFLAG.org. You can find local support groups, and also look at the information about being an ally.
Another website worth exploring is the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) at www.GLSEN.org. There you’ll find, among other things, a curriculum for elementary classrooms to teach children about difference, and how to accept them. It’s called Ready, Set, Respect. This is the work of thoughtful, creative educators. If your child is experiencing bullying in the schools (and most do—it’s everywhere!) you’ll want to know what’s in this curriculum, and what your child’s school is doing to teach tolerance, respect, and a positive embrace of people’s differences.
A very helpful publication, for parents who want to support their diverse children, is Coming Out as a Supporter: A Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Americans. It includes a glossary of terms, basic facts, and a listing of some of the many helpful organizations. I downloaded it from https://www.hrc.org/resources/straight-guide-to-lgbt-americans
There’s much more. I did a search on this question “How to become an LGBTQ Ally.” It led me to a rich collection of sites to explore. Try it yourself!
[this page was last updated by Robert Needlman, on 11-25-2018]