Raising an LGBTQ+ child: A guide for supportive parents

Filed under: Social Issues

3 Min ReadNovember 23, 2023

Teen wearing LOVE hoodie

Parenting is a journey filled with love, challenges, and the opportunity to nurture a happy and healthy child. When your child comes out as LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, or any other non-heteronormative identity), it can be a significant moment for both of you. As a parent, your love and support are paramount in helping your child navigate their unique path. Here, we offer advice to parents raising LGBTQ+ children to ensure they feel loved, accepted, and empowered.

Educate Yourself

One of the most important steps in supporting your LGBTQ+ child is educating yourself about their identity and experiences. Read books, watch documentaries, attend workshops, and engage with LGBTQ+ organizations to gain a deeper understanding. Familiarize yourself with terminology and concepts such as gender identity, sexual orientation, and pronouns. This knowledge will help you communicate with your child and offer meaningful support.

Listen Actively and Without Judgment

When your child comes out to you, the most critical thing you can do is listen. Create a safe and non-judgmental space where they can express themselves openly. Understand that their journey may be different from your own, and their experiences are valid. Ask questions, but be mindful not to be intrusive. Show empathy and let them know that you are there for them.

Use Inclusive Language

Respect your child's preferred name and pronouns. Using the correct name and pronouns is a fundamental way to show your support and acceptance. If you make a mistake, apologize and correct yourself. It may take time to adjust, but your efforts demonstrate your commitment to their well-being.

Connect with LGBTQ+ Communities

Encourage your child to connect with LGBTQ+ communities and support groups, both online and in person. These spaces can provide them with a sense of belonging and the opportunity to share experiences with peers who understand their journey. As a parent, you can also benefit from connecting with other parents who have LGBTQ+ children to share experiences and advice.

Be Prepared for Challenges

It's important to recognize that your child may face challenges, such as discrimination, bullying, or rejection from others. Be prepared to offer emotional support and guidance when these issues arise. Encourage them to report any instances of discrimination or bullying and take appropriate action to address the situation.

Advocate for Inclusive Education

Support inclusive education in your child's school. Advocate for policies that protect LGBTQ+ students and ensure they have access to resources and support. Be proactive in addressing any instances of discrimination or bullying within the school community.

Celebrate Their Achievements

Celebrate your child's achievements and milestones, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Encourage their passions and interests and let them know that you are proud of who they are becoming. Your support and positivity can boost their self-esteem and confidence.

Seek Professional Help if Needed

If your child is experiencing mental health issues, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor with experience in LGBTQ+ issues. Mental health support can be crucial for your child's well-being, and it's essential to provide them with the necessary resources.

Raising an LGBTQ+ child is a journey that requires love, acceptance, and education. Your role as a parent is to provide a safe and supportive environment where your child can thrive and be their authentic self. Remember that your love and understanding can make a significant difference in their life, helping them embrace their identity with confidence and pride. Educate yourself, listen actively, and advocate for inclusivity to ensure that your child's journey is filled with love and acceptance.