lifestyleMore and more kids are coming out and more and more parents are reaching out to me for support. I’m so happy I have a safe place to offer them where they can get the support they need from other parents of LGBTQ kids.

Many of them are using the term lifestyle when talking about their kids. They don’t mean anything by it and they are not yet educated. The dictionary defines lifestyle as the way in which a person or group lives.

Lifestyle implies choice. My lifestyle includes walking every day, playing Mah Jongg and things like that. My son, who is gay, says his lifestyle is going to the grocery store and doing laundry!

Who one is attracted to, who one loves, ones gender and how they choose to express that is not a lifestyle. It is who they are.

So how do we gently correct someone who uses lifestyle? Perhaps remind them that the term has been used to minimize their existence. Religion uses it to tell them they are wrong. If it’s a lifestyle, they can choose to be someone or something else. Those of us who love people in the LGBTQ community know this to not be true.

Our children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends are perfect just the way they are. They didn’t choose to be LGBTQ any more than I chose to be cisgender and straight. It’s just who I am.

To parents whose children may have just come out, please don’t refer to their sexual orientation or gender identity as a lifestyle. Embrace them for who and as they are.

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