Parents and caregivers of LGBTQ+ youth want the same thing that all parents want — for their children to live healthy, fulfilled lives. Research shows that family support of each child’s authentic self is key to a child’s ability to thrive. It is important to note that research also shows that when a child experiences family and peer rejection due to either their sexual orientation or non-conforming gender identity, it can contribute to depression, suicidal ideation, and other negative health outcomes. The resources and information on this page are intended to help area schools, students, parents, and caregivers in their efforts to support gender inclusiveness and sexual orientation diversity so that all youth can live healthy, fulfilling lives.
Families Connected Resources
Expert advice for parents and teens
For parents and family members of LGBTQ+ youth, from Linda K. Reeves, LMFT
For LGBTQ+ youth, encouragement from Linda K. Reeves, LMFT - it gets better.
Featured Families Connected parent and expert blogs
Why is family acceptance so important?
Your child’s well-being depends on it. Extensive research shows that transgender youth with supportive parents “report higher life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and better mental health, including less depression and fewer suicide attempts than those without strong parental support”. Parents will naturally have many questions and deep emotions around a child’s coming out. Seeking information and support for themselves will better equip parents to be the most effective supporters and advocates for their LGBTQ loved one. (source: MAP - Movement Advancement Project)
Understanding Gender Identity
While our gender may begin with the assignment of our sex, it doesn’t end there. A person’s gender is the complex interrelationship between three dimensions:
– Body: our body, our experience of our own body, how society genders bodies, and how others interact with us based on our body.
– Identity: our deeply held, internal sense of self as male, female, a blend of both, or neither; who we internally know ourselves to be.
– Expression: how we present our gender in the world and how society, culture, community, and family perceive, interact with, and try to shape our gender. Gender expression is also related to gender roles and how society uses those roles to try to enforce conformity to current gender norms.
Each of these dimensions can vary greatly across a range of possibilities. A person’s comfort in their gender is related to the degree to which these three dimensions feel in harmony. Let’s explore each of these dimensions in a little more detail. (Source: Gender Spectrum)
Related resource pages on the Families Connected website
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Recommended National LGBTQ+ Resources
Gender spectrum helps to create gender sensitive and inclusive environments for all children and teens. Explore topics, access resources, and download the parent handbook. Great articles, including Affirming Parenting Practices.
The Trevor project provides extensive support to LGBTQ+ youth. This link will take you to a comprehensive resource page to find answers to frequently asked questions and explore resources related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
It Bets Better Project is a not-for-profit which offers thousands of free It Gets Better© videos shared with them by LGBTQ+ youth, along with their original content series.
Launched by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the Biden Foundation, and Gender Spectrum, “Advancing Acceptance” raises awareness of the importance of family and community acceptance in the lives of transgender and gender diverse youth. You will find helpful resources on this website including an outstanding parent guide entitled, Talking About Family Acceptance and Transgender Youth. They also recommend the Family Acceptance Projects Guide “Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender Children” available in Spanish and Chinese.
Getting the support you need
With over 400 chapters nationally, there is bound to be a PFLAG support group near you. Click on either the logo or image below to go to the PFLAG website and access their chapter finder. Confidential support is available for both parents and teens.
Recommended Gender Identity Video Series
View this National Geographic video series, hosted by Katie Couric.
Online Community and Support
TheTrevor Support Center offers a 24/7 Life line, online instant messaging with a TrevorChat counselor, and TrevorText support.
The Lounge is a space for teens, parents, and professionals to connect with one another. Members can form their own groups and participate in our broader online community. Meet new people and connect with friends and colleagues online. The Lounge also offers peer support.
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Additional Resources and support for parents in the South Bay
The South Bay Families Connected not-for-profit aims to connect families and schools around the numerous teen wellness challenges we face individually and as a community, and to provide resources and support to help youth thrive.
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