What is our role in parenting an LGBTQ child? When do we sit back and let them figure it out and when do we intervene?
I think a lot depends on the age of the child, obviously. When I was growing up, there was no bullying – only teasing. I know. I was bullied but it was dismissed as teasing and I should be able to take it. I was told that those who bullied me were just jealous of me. I couldn’t see anything for them to be jealous of. It doesn’t matter what it’s called, it hurts. The old adage “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me.” is just not true. At least it wasn’t for me. Those words stung and damaged my already fragile self-esteem.
When my sons were growing up, we didn’t even talk about bullying. There were no anti-bullying programs. I didn’t know until my son was well into adulthood that he had been bullied. I don’t think I would have handled it very well if I had known.
Today, as parents of an LGBTQ child, we advocate in ways we may never have expected. We intercede in school issues, we talk more to parents of their friends. Sometimes, we become the safe house for friends who are LGBTQ and don’t have the support or are not out to their parents.
Some of us become very vocal and public advocates. My friend Jim says parents of LGBTQ kids are the bravest people he knows. I have to agree. You are the bravest people I know.
I didn’t have to navigate half the things today’s parents of LGBTQ kids do and certainly not even close to what the parents of transgender kids have to navigate.
I’m in awe of these parents, how they take a stand and put their kids first, before anything. You really are heroes in the truest sense of the word.
Your kids will grow up and become amazing adults. They will grow up knowing how much they are loved and knowing they have people they can always count on. This will create healthy adult relationships for them. I’m so proud of the men my sons became and I marvel at the life they have created. You will have that too. I can’t wait to hear about it!