June is Pride Month! To celebrate, let’s take a look at how you can support LGBTQ youth in our community. Coming out as LGBTQ is difficult for any individual, but especially teens. Adolescents may feel intense shame or fear how their family and friends will react. LGBTQ adolescents are also at a much higher risk of suicide, homeless, and parental neglect. Should a teen come out to you as LGBTQ, consider the ABCDs of allyship during this vulnerable conversation because allyship is for parents too!
ABCD’s of Allyship
Assure your child that you love and accept them for who they are, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Acknowledge that coming out takes a great deal of courage and thank them for being willing to talk to you.
Believe, & Be Calm. Don’t express shock, panic, or anger. Rather, give them a safe space to express their emotions, concerns, and experiences. Let them know that their feelings are valid and important.
Child Talks. Encourage your child to share their thoughts, questions, and experiences with you. Be willing to have honest and respectful conversations about their identity. Respect their privacy and allow your child to come out to others on their own terms. Respect their decision regarding who, when, and how they disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Determine needs. Ask your child how you can support them practically, whether it’s helping them find LGBT-friendly resources, accompanying them to support groups, or assisting them with any challenges they may face. Take the initiative to learn more about the LGBT community, including terminology, common challenges, and experiences. This will help you better understand your child’s perspective. Connect with local LGBT support groups or organizations where your child can meet others who share similar experiences. This can provide them with a sense of community and support.
For further information on how to support your LGBTQ teen, take a look at the following resources:
- LIVE ON: is a suicide prevention helpline that is free of charge! If your child is struggling reach out by texting or calling 988. You will be connected to professionals who can help you.
- Encircle: Is a Utah-based organization that provides safe spaces, essential services, connections, and support that improve the health and well-being of queer youth. Check out their website to find a location near you!
- The Trevor Project: Provides mental health help for LGBTQ teens as well as educational resources for parents and a space for youth to connect.
- Follow us! We’ll be sharing tips and tricks on our social media about supporting your LGBTQ teens. Click here to find us on social media
What Matters Most
Ultimately, the most important thing you can do is love and accept your child as they are. Show them that you are there for them, no matter what, and that their happiness and well-being are your priority. Coming out can be a process, and your child may need time to fully embrace and explore their identity. Offer patience and support as they navigate this journey.