As a parent or carer you may have some questions if you think that your child might be lesbian, gay, bi, trans or queer/questioning and any other gender/sexuality minority (LGBTQ+). This is completely understandable.
You may have already known for years or it may have come as a surprise to you and your family. Its important that you support your child through this life changing time.
Many children may try to hold in their feelings to try and fit in, or even to avoid upsetting their parents or families. They may be overwhelmed by all these feelings. Having a supportive and helpful environment at home will help them manage these feelings and go on to have happy and healthy lives.
I Think That My child Might Be LGBTQ+
Until your child comes and tells you that they are, or might be LGBTQ+, there is no way of knowing for sure. Try not to make assume and let them come and tell you in their own time. You can try and make sure your child feels able to talk to you about it by creating a positive environment at home. For example, say positive things about LGBTQ+ people when they’re on TV and don’t allow others to say negative things when around your child.
Some children may feel upset if you ask them if they are LGBTQ+ without them speaking about it first. Approaching the subject gently can be a good way to start.
You could begin by talking to your child about sex and relationships. You could tell them that you want them to be happy and that you will always support them no matter what decisions they make. Give them the space to let them tell you in their own time.
Many young LGBTQ+ people have negative experiences when they tell their family or friends about their sexual orientation or gender identity. For others it can be an exciting phase of their life and having a supportive family can make all the difference.
If you child has recently come out to you and your family;
Your child may fear being rejected and they may feel they have had to hide a part of themselves away from you. Facing rejection from their family and friends can be really upsetting for a child.
Don't forget, it shows a great deal of trust and bravery for your child to come out to you. It’s important to say that you believe them and that what they’ve told you won’t change how you feel about them. Show that you’re going to be there to support them no matter what.
Supporting Your LGBTQ+ Child
You may be unsure how you feel about your child being LGBTQ+ or how to respond. It’s okay to be honest and tell them that. You will probably not get everything right. The most important thing you can do as a parent or caregiver is remember that they are still the same person you have always loved and cared for. Letting them know that you love them will go along way in making them feel supported and respected.
If you find it hard to come to terms with your child coming out, you may need some support for yourself before you feel ready to support them. If you have mixed emotions, or worries about how this may affect your child or the rest of your family you can contact FFLAG on their confidential helpline. They can provide reassurance, information and support. They can be contacted on 0300 688 0368.
Norfolk LGBT+ Project is a registered charity, providing support, information and advice to all age groups that is relevant to the health and wellbeing of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Norfolk and Waveney since 2007.
Fflag are a national organisation who support families and their LGBTQ+ loved ones.
If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.
For adults Qwell provides free, safe and anonymous mental wellbeing support for adults in Norfolk and Waveney from a professional team of qualified counsellors.
For 11–25 year olds Kooth is a free, confidential and safe way to receive online counselling, advice and emotional well-being support.
Childline - Children and young people under 19 can call 0800 1111 for free support.
Young Minds Parents Helpline - Call 0808 802 5544 for free Mon-Fri from 9.30am to 4pm.
To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.