Parents and family may respond differently to their child or family member coming out and to learning of their sexual and gender identity. Some parents and family members may already be well-versed and familiar with the coming out process and members or straight supporters of the LGBTQ community themselves. Other family members may be less familiar with experiences related to the coming out process and may need further education. Regardless of previous experiences, some family members may experience a degree of grief after finding out that their family member is gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and/or transgendered. Despite the degree of love and acceptance felt towards their family member, parents and others may experience loss associated with their dreams and expectations for the lives of their gay son, daughter, niece, nephew, granddaughter, grandson, brother, or sister. Parents and other family members may also experience grief or anxiety relative to their expectations of society’s response to persons within the LGBTQ community. This grief or anxiety does not have to remain long-term and often varies among family members. It is important to remember that it is natural to have questions and differing emotions that may change frequently. You are not alone and there are many resources available to parents and family members of LGBTQ loved ones.
Staff at the Counseling Center is available to consult with parents and family members and to provide counseling and other resources for students. Additional resources related to lgbtq issues are located on this website. Visit the main Counseling Center website for information related to counseling and psychological issues.
As specified in their mission statement, “PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.” Visit the PFLAG website for a host of information. Some of the many useful topics and information from PFLAG follow:
Straight for Equality outreach and education program