Resources for the parents of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth...

My Child is GAY! Now What Do I Do?

presented and maintained by Scott Bidstrup

Helping your child thrive

Here are a number of things you can do to help your child live comfortably in a not-very- accepting world.

First, it is important for you to understand how lonely your child may feel, particularly if he or she is still attending public school. Many youth suffer in silence, feeling like they're the only gay kid in the world, and not knowing there are many others around them going through the same thing.

Lonliness is such a serious problem it can even lead to suicide. Here are some resources to help your child find new friends that will help ease the pain of being different. The "someone to talk to" section of the Cool Page for Queer Teens! has many ways to help your child find company.

Jason Hungerford, a remarkable 19-year old, has created two carefully moderated email lists, where only gay youth can subscribe, and they can talk to each other about their problems. This can be enormously helpful to a young person who thinks he or she is the only person in the world fighting these problems.

There are other problems to deal with as well. You'll probably have to deal with discrimination and bigotry directed towards your child, and your child may well have problems with self acceptance. It sounds formidable, but there are many things you can do. You're treading a well-worn path. Many parents have already learned what they can do to help their child. A few have generously contributed their stories to help you help you understand your child so he or she can overcome these problems.

Read what Liz Armstrong has done to help her son.

Laura Siegel has written a beautiful story that tells how learning about her son helped her to understand herself.

Jason has written of what he has gone through as a gay youth activist. His story is a particularly poignant one.

It's important to become informed and educated. There's nothing more dangerous than an uninformed activist! There are many books in the bibligraphy section of this page that can help.

Helping your child with problems at school

If your child is still in public school, it is vitally important that you get involved in demanding that school officials put a stop to acts of harrassment and discrimination when they see them. Read how Rhea Murray found herself battling the misperceptions, not just of a school district, but of a whole town, and how it made a difference, not only for her own son, but for others as well.

Kids today are far more aware of homosexuality than were their parents at a comparable age. The result is more teasing, harrassment and meanspiritedness towards gay kids or kids percieved to be gay, than occurred during the schooling of their parents. It is no longer uncommon for public school students to be harrassed so severely that they are forced to drop out of school or even commit suicide! This is why it is so important for you to get involved in the educational process.

There is an organization called The P.E.R.S.O.N. Project specifically designed to help facilitate this improvement in the educational climate of gay, lesbian and transgendered youth. Their web page has a lot of resources that will help.

One of the best resources for helping fight homophobia in the public schools is the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Teachers Network

A remarkably mature 19-year old named Jason Hungerford has established an email list for those wishing to involve themselves in the problems of gay youth at school. Parents of gay youth are invited and encouraged to subscribe and participate, and help kids whose parents aren't supportive.

Join PFLAG. One of PFLAG's missions is to advocate for a safer, more comfortable world for your child to live in. Here is a list of local PFLAG chapters.

If there isn't a local chapter nearby (or even if there is), consider joining PFLAG's unofficial "virtual chapter" here on the Internet.

Get involved in your local gay youth group. To find out if there is one near you, check the Queer America database for resources in your area

Have your child check out the Cool Page for Queer Teens, a resource page on the web for gay youth.

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Copyright © 1996, 1997 by Scott Bidstrup. All rights reserved

revised 1/21/97