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

Bewildered? Confused? Angry? Feeling guilty? Worried? Believe me, you're not alone. As the gay community comes out of the closet, parents by the hundreds of thousands are discovering that they are the parents of gay youth.

This can be a crisis or an opportunity, it's all up to you!

Part I. Your Questions Answered
Part II. Helping Your Child Part III. Learning and Helping Out In The Community Part IV. Additional Resources

Part I. Your Questions Answered

  • What is happening to me? And to my child? What's happening is that you have found out something very important about who your child is, and your child has revealed a basic fact about him or herself to you, and like it or not, you have begun a process.
  • Why did my child have to tell me this? Your child has been taught to be honest with other people. He or she has carried around an enormous burden of guilt and shame in trying to be something he or she is not.
  • Is it my fault? Wondering if you did something wrong? Wondering if there is something you didn't do right? Why has this happened to you?
  • Who recruited my kid? Nobody. Your child was gay from a surprisingly young age, and never made a conscious choice to be gay, so no-one could have recruited him/her. Here are the facts about how homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism arises.
  • What about the law? In the United States, about 21 states have laws that prohibit gay sex. a few of these criminalize gay sex as a felony. While the laws are rarely enforced, they are commonly used as an excuse for discrimination.
  • But I want some objective information! Here's what the American Psychological Association says about homosexuality, and some of the current scientific understandings of what it's all about.
  • But the bible says this is a terrible sin! Not so fast... Biblical scholars aren't quite so quick to rush to judgement as are many local preachers and televangelists. Here's what the bible experts have to say. It just might surprise you!
  • But isn't homosexuality an unnatural perversion? Homosexuality is a normal part of human behavior, apparently biological in origin, and can't be changed. It appears with about the same frequency in all cultures. Homosexuality is more about love than it is about sex. Here you can learn what motivates your child to behave as he/she does.
  • But I'll never have any grandchildren! Don't count your gay child out! Many options are available to gay, lesbian and transgendered people for raising children, both their own and children they adopt. If your gay child wants children, he/she can have them, and that makes you a grandparent!
  • I'm desperate to talk to somebody! You're in luck! There is a wonderful, loving support organization for people in just your situation, and there's most likely a chapter near you!
  • What about AIDS? This is the bad news. But there is hope. Here's what you can do to ensure that your child doesn't become a victim.
  • Special help for the transgendered Being transgendered creates a special set of unique problems for your child. Here are some resources and a list of frequently asked questions.

Part II. Helping Your Child

There are a number of things you'll need to do to help your child. If he or she is still in public school, you need to be aware of problems he or she may not be discussing with you. You also need to ensure that he or she doesn't feel like he or she is the only gay child around. Lonliness is a very serious problem for gay youth, and when not dealt with, can even lead to suicide.
Being gay means your child is sensitive to issues you may well not be aware of, and it is important to understand what those issues are. How you behave may have an impact on children you don't know are gay, and by extension, even your own child. Here's an article that discusses the importance of being sensitive to homophobic behavior. Liz Armstrong's article on how homophobic behavior affects children and youth.
Helping your child with problems of loneliness, isolation, harrassment and discrimination is vital. Many gay youth suffer in silence. Here are some resources. Help in the community
Many gay youth, even those 'out' to their parents, fail to inform parents of chronic harrassment and discrimination problems at school. If your child is in the public school system, it is vitally important to ask how he or she is being treated at school. Otherwise, you may have a serious problem you don't know about! In the United States, there are now legal remedies available to you if the administrators drag their feet on solving these problems. Here are resources for fighting these problems in your child's school. The LLDEF Legal Handbook on Violence and Abuse of Gay Students in the Public Schools

The Washington (state) Fourth Annual Safe Schools Report and Resource Guide

The increased visibility of the gay community has created other problems for gay kids in the public schools, too. Here's where you can find help for these other problems. Help with other problems at school

Part III. Helping Out In The Community

Helping your child and helping in the community just naturally go together. Here's some folks who have been helping in the community and have made a difference. You'll meet people who have been a great help not only to their own friends and family, but who have been a big help to the community in general, and have become great sources of information and ideas.
The premier opportunity for helping in the community is through Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, known as PFLAG. PFLAG's Home Page
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network is fighting to make the public schools safe and free of harassment and discrimination for all sexual-minority youth. The GLSEN homepage
The Human Rights Campaign has been in the forefront for many years in fighting for the civil rights of gays and lesbians. Their principal focus has been in politics. Human Rights Campaign
Here's the home page of the webmaster for this site. Write to him for additional help and resource suggestions. Scott Bidstrup's Home Page
Write to Scott

Part IV. Additional Resources

This page obviously doesn't have all the answers. No page can. But here are some other Internet sites you can check out that might have answers you haven't found here. And if you find some that you think would be of use to others, please write me and let me know so I can add them to the list. Thanks!
The premier gay youth resource page on the internet is this one. It has lots of information you may find helpful. The Youth Resources Page
For issues related to the emotional health of gay youth, particularly as related to suicide, here's an excellent list of resources: The Youth Suicide Problems page on gay youth
If you need to ask someone who's been there before you, here's a great place to start. The "PFLAG virtual chapter" is an email list that functions much like a PFLAG chapter; a place where parents can talk to each other about their questions and problems. The PFLAG-talk Support Page
If you don't want to send email to hundreds to get your questions answered, the PFLAG-Talk Helpline is for you. Just three parents will get your emails, and you can feel comfortable asking questions you'd never dream of asking in public. The PFLAG-Talk Helpline Page

Source URL: http://www.bidstrup.com/parents.htm

Related URL:
http://www.bidstrup.com/cool.htm for support of pre-college GBLT youth
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revised 3/5/2000