Do you have a child who is questioning their own sexual or gender identity? Or are you just curious to learn more about what LGBTQ+ means and how it may impact your child? Whatever the case may be, you ended up here for a reason! Here I will do my best to provide information, advice, support, and maybe you will even get something out of this post that will help you in your life and relationships. We will explore the risks, the coming out process, stereotypes and stigmas regarding the LGBTQ+, as well as some of the things you may experience as parents.
It unfortunately goes without saying that children or teens that start expressing their own sexuality or gender, which may be out of the norm, will get weird looks, rude comments, or even just a slight double-take from someone walking by. Therefore, it goes without saying that yes your child may experience some discrimination or bullying from their peers at school or just from random strangers at the supermarket. Here are some quick facts of some of the risks:
However, times are changing and the opinions of others are also changing. As a parent, you want to protect your child from all the different dangers that your child may run into; although that is not always going to be possible!
UGHHH let me tell you, this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done for myself. And yes, that is correct. I did it for myself. I didn’t do it for the acceptance of others, for others to view me differently, or even just for people to know that one thing about me. I did it for myself because it is something that can be so freeing and such a relief for that kid who’s stayed in the “closet” for so long. As parents, here is my message to you: Your child is absolutely frightened by how you will respond, how you will react, and worst of all if you would still love them for who they really are. There is so much going through their heads that they may not even understand, so for someone with authority like yours, for someone who has been with them since day 0, they are only hoping for support.
It may be helpful to support your child with their journey to finding out their own identity. As parents, you can be the ones providing the information for your child with the security of it being accurate. There are a few stages to coming out, though primarily the stages of self-discovery, coming out, as well as positive self-identity do have a major impact on the everlasting impact on your child. You can read more about the stages of coming out here: The Stages of Coming Out.
As parents who just discovered or found out their child identifies as part of LGBT+, there may be a few different emotions and stages you go through yourself. This is just like any other transition in the family, it is something that is obviously going to cause some shock or take back. Below are some of the stages you may experience as parents, but remember you may not even experience any of these!
There is so much more that can be said within this guide. Always try to be the supportive, kind, gentle parent that you intended to be when your child was born. This Fall, Suffolk Family Therapy will be hosting a support group for parents with LGBT+ youth. Throughout this group, you will be able to garner support from other parents, gain knowledge on LGBT+, as well as learn how to best support your child on their journey.
As LGBTQ Affirming Therapist in Suffolk County, NY we take an approach to therapy that embraces a positive view of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) identities and relationships. We also are intently aware and proactive in addressing the negative influences that homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism have on the lives of our LGBTQ clients.
All of our therapists are extremely interpersonal. They want to know you: Your story. Where you came from. What happened to you. We pride ourselves in being a practice of “above and beyonders” who really want to know our clients and understand them. Part of being an LGBTQ affirming therapist in Suffolk County, NY is being a therapist that does not make assumptions about our clients but being open to hearing their stories and experiences. Every coming out story is different. Everyone’s level of comfort and openness about their sexuality and gender expression is different. We won’t put you in a box because you are part of the community. Your experience as a member in the community is still uniquely your own. We wholeheartedly believe and understand that your sexual identity and gender expression is no where near the only thing that defines your you-ness.
Being affirmative means we strive to treat all of our LGBTQ clients and their families with the respect and dignity they deserve. Our role is to support you, to uplift you, to empower you to make the changes you would like to see in your daily lives and heal from past hurts. We want you to know you are absolutely fine just the way you are.
Contact us now to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our amazing affirming therapists. We truly would love to help you through whatever is bringing you to counseling. Our providers have a range of expertise including: couples, trauma, grief & loss, anxiety, OCD, depression and BPD. There are also many modalities used within the practice including: EMDR, TF-CBT, mindfulness, CBT, solutions-focused, and strengths-based counseling. Our administrative assistant will match you with a therapist who is not only affirming but can also address the underlying concern that has brought you to seek treatment.
Sending Love & Light,
For starters, someone’s own gender identity is a process that may come naturally to some, though for others it may not be as easy. Whether it be exploring your own gender identity, sexual orientation, or even just working through your own curiosities, everyone should have a support system to help them along the way. Here we will discuss LGBTQIA+, the different sexual orientations, gender identities, as well as how seeking therapy can support you in this process.
● Gender Expression – the outwards expression of gender, typically expressed/observed through people’s names, pronouns, clothing, behaviors, body characteristics, and more.
● Gender Identity – invisible to other people, one’s internal definition of their own gender. Some people may feel comfortable with the gender that they are given at birth, though others may not.
● Sex – oftentimes confused with one’s gender, but someone’s sex identity is more-so biological than anything else. Someone’s sex is the combination of body characteristics (hormones, chromosomes, reproductive organs, etc.), thus being more than just two sexes.
There is a wide range of gender identities that people fall under and identify with. It is crucial to validate the feelings of someone who may be uncomfortable with their gender identity, as it is a significant life event that causes stress. Whether you already know your own gender identity, or if you are currently exploring that area of your life, seeking support can be helpful!
● Asexual – someone who experiences minimal to no sexual attraction, though may still experience romantic attraction.
● Bisexual – someone who experiences an attraction to others of the same gender as well as people of another gender.
● Gay – someone, typically a male, who experiences attraction to someone else of the same gender.
● Lesbian – a woman who is attracted to another woman, ‘lesbian’ and ‘gay’ are sometimes interchangeable.
● Pansexual – someone who experiences an attraction towards another person regardless of their gender
● Queer – an umbrella term for anyone who does not identify as heterosexual or cisgendered.
Even though these are just a few definitions, there are many more sexual orientations that people feel attached to. Some people may question why there is a need for so many orientations or why there is a necessity to bring about awareness to this subject. However, it is so crucial to spread the word and to educate on these matters to increase the inclusivity of this community. Many people find plenty of comfort in connecting with one of the above, or many other, sexual orientations. Something as simple as “putting a label” to what one may be feeling can offer a sense of freedom as well as offer someone answers they didn’t have before.
Walking on the path of self-discovery at any stage of life can become too much for some to handle at times. Seeking mental health treatment is a great way to support yourself on this journey. Historically, the LGBTQIA+ community has faced discrimination as well as prejudice which is why our mission here at Suffolk Family Therapy is to be a guide for those who may need it. We believe that therapy should be a place of comfort and safety, therefore we will do our best to ensure that we offer the best support that we can. There’s no reason to change who you are, only a reason to find out who you truly are on the inside!