Friends & Family of LGBTQ Youth

 

This page is for friends and family of LGBTQ youth. Not only is your friend whom came out to you as LGBTQ going through changes in their life, your relationship with them might go through some changes too.  Above all else, it is important to continuing to support the LGBTQ youth in your life. Coming out is often a time of feeling alone or isolated in a LGBTQ youth’s life and the negative reactions they receive can be a trigger for behavioral health problems such as depression or addiction, or even make some teens feel like committing suicide. If you know a teen who needs support while coming out or you think is suicidal, please call or go online to chat with The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386. The Trevor Project is a 24/7 hotline to support LGBTQ youth and can help you in supporting them.

Here is a great list of Do’s and Don’ts adapted from PFLAG:

Do

Don't

Do listen to what your loved one’s life is like, and what kind of experiences he or she has had in the world.

Don’t blame your own feelings on your loved one.

Do take the time to seek information about the lives of LGBT people from parents of LGBT people, friends of your loved one, books, websites, and, most of all, directly from your loved one.

Don’t rush the process of trying to understand your loved one’s sexuality or gender identity.

Do get professional help for anyone in the family, including yourself, who becomes severely depressed over your loved one’s sexuality or gender identity.

Don’t assume that your loved one should see a professional counselor or encourage them to participate in "reparative therapy."

Do accept that you are responsible for your negative reactions.

Don’t criticize your loved one for being different.

Do try to develop trust and openness by allowing your loved one to be who she or he is without pressure.

Don’t try to break up loving relationships.

Do be proud of your loved one’s ability for having loving relationships.

Don’t try to force your loved one to follow to your ideas of proper sexual behavior.

Do look for the hurt feelings underneath the anger and respond to them.

Don’t blame yourself because your loved one is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
Do defend him or her against discrimination. Don’t demand that your loved one live up to what your idea of what a man or woman should be.
Do support your loved one's individual goals, even though they may  be a lot different from your own. Don’t force your own life goals on your loved one.
Do say "I love you." Don’t insist that your morality is the only right one.
 

There are many resources out there for friends and family members of LGBTQ youth. The largest and best known is Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). PFLAG has parent support groups across Alaska and the US. Their website has many resources about how to support a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender youth in your life. PFLAG has been in existence for over 40 years now and is seen as a trusted source for friends and families. To get support no matter your relationship to the LGBTQ person in your life, please visit PFLAG article Get Support.