Supporting your child through the coming-out process can be an adjustment for you as a parent as well. It is a transitional time for both your child and your family. Each child’s experience and process is unique and educating yourself can help you feel confident in supporting your child and meeting them where they are on their journey.
First, it is helpful for adults to be familiar with some basic terminology. Here are some important terms to know:
- Cisgender: A person whose gender identity and expression are aligned with the gender they were assigned at birth.
- Cisnormativity: The assumption that cisgender identity is the norm, which plays out in interpersonal interactions and institutional privileges that further the marginalization of transgender people.
- Gay Straight Alliance (GSA): An organization that provides a safe space for LGBTQ youth in middle schools, high schools, and colleges.
- Heteronormativity: The assumption that heterosexual identity is the norm, which plays out in interpersonal interactions and institutional privileges that further the marginalization of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.
Gender Spectrum provides additional terminology in their document
As a parent, equipping yourself with information can be essential for knowing how to best support your child. The links below have information and local resources:
- Gender Identity, Transgender or Gender Nonconforming Issues: For information on gender identity, gender nonconforming issues, or transgender issues, check out Gender Spectrum in Oakland, CA: www.genderspectrum.org/resources/parenting-and-family-2/
- 2018 GLSEN Model School Policy on Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students: https://www.glsen.org/article/2018-model-school-district-policy-transgender-and-gender-nonconforming-students
- GLSEN – Gay, Lesbian, Straight Educator’s Network for K-12 Education: https://www.glsen.org/
- To find out if your school has a Gay Straight Alliance, or if you want to help start a Gay Straight Alliance at your school, check out the GSA Network of California: https://gsanetwork.org/gsa-network-of-california/
If you’re interested in seeking additional help and support for yourself, Wellspring’s BJ Douglass, LCSW specializes in supporting parents and families through the transition process and is available for therapy or consultation.