I asked this question in several Facebook groups this week. Some are for parents and some are for the LGBTQ community.
Supporting our LGBTQ kids should be easy. The answers were almost universally about love and acceptance, about how LGBTQ kids are kids, human beings, the same as any kid. One thoughtful reply was to ask them how they want to be supported. I like this answer and think some kids won’t know or won’t know how to articulate it. But they do know love and they feel it when it is there. Saying I love you is important but the words aren’t nearly as important as the feeling.
For some parents, it’s hard because while they absolutely love their child, they have so many other feelings come up when their child comes out. They are afraid for so many reasons. Some feel a lot of guilt and some feel shame. With all that going on, it can be hard to feel the love we know is there. So, then what?
I always tell parents to reconnect to the first time they held that child and felt that overwhelming feeling of love, that feeling that you would do anything to protect that child. Close your eyes and put yourself back there. Focus on the feeling of love. It is there and it will be always be there. Sometimes we just have to call it forth.
It isn’t that you should shy away from those other feelings. They are real and will have to be experienced to get past them. But while that child is standing in front of you in the most vulnerable place they’ve ever been, remember that they trusted you enough to tell you the truth about who they are and they trusted your love for them. That’s because they’ve felt that love all their life. It is there. Share it freely with your child now when they need it most. That is the best way to support an LGBTQ child.