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Straight Parents, Gay Children

March is LGBT Health Month and since lately I have been talking to a number of people about mental health and physical health, especially among LGBT folks.
An interesting topic that came up is not so much about the struggles we face due to sexual/gender identity but the struggle our parents face.

Some of us may be aware of the frustration of being gay; of coming out to parents, but many might not have thought deeply about how parents cope or not cope.
Sometimes religious teachings make it hard for them; sometimes societal pressure makes it hard for them but what thought process do you think they go through when coming to terms with the reality that one of their child may be gay or transgender?

Why should they have to deal with something, of which they have no first-hand experience? This is a legitimate question where were are not necessarily dismissing the pain of being ‘rejected’ but actually acknowledging the remorse from ‘rejecting’…

To some extent, we could match the first few years of coming out ‘to ourselves’, to those first years of coming out ‘to our parents’… what was it like for us? What was it like for them?

For instance, I may not be able to fully grasp the mental process of a parent that sees his/her child come out in a deeply homophobic society.
Sometimes parents share their own insecurities, at other times they just don’t want to deal with it…

Their inability to cope may play out in anger or rejection… but how do we know when they are being protective and actually do care or just willfully destructive?

There are some parents who cannot cope with the idea that his/her child may be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender; who may not know how to respond and who should be able to get help. PFLAG is a national organization that offers peer support for families and friends of LGBTQ individuals with regional chapter meetings in Norwalk and Hartford.

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