President Obama has declared June as Gay Pride month. Events are planned across the United States, from San Francisco to New York and all states in between, to celebrate the achievements of the LGBT population and show solidarity not only with these groups but also their straight allies.
Yet, as the straight mother of a gay adult, I confess that I only marched once – at an enormous rally in Manhattan that coincided with the passage of gay marriage in New York State in June 2011. While quite excited about the new prospect of same-sex marriage in my favorite city, I would have been just as ecstatic to view the parade, with its floats and rainbow banners waving, from the sidelines.
I do admire those who have marched for civil rights and social justice not just the more famous names such as Martin Luther King, Jr. but a Queens housewife, now deceased, named Jeanne Manford who marched with her son and later founded the organization now known as PFLAG (Parents for Lesbians & Gays). However, I don’t feel compelled or shamed into thinking that I have to emulate these visible marchers.
Let Me Count The Ways You Can Support
Maybe you don’t feel like marching too. Nor does you GLBT child. No worries. There are other ways you can support your child:
- · Most importantly, love your child unconditionally, not just for the month of July, but always.
- · Show an interest in their LGBT friends and “significant others” and make them welcome in your home.
- · Join organizations such as PFLAG to learn how to support your child.
- · Follow organizations such as Human Rights Campaign, GLSEN (GayLesbian Straight Education Network), Lambda Legal, Joe, My God to name a few to keep abreast of legislation being considered for the LGBT population.
- · Write to your senator to encourage him/her to pass a gay rights bill.
- · Ask your child how he/she would like to be supported.
Gay Pride, Your Way
YOU are your child’s greatest straight ally. Whether you write letters to evoke change toward more GLBT-friendly laws, volunteer at a PFLAG event, or have a dialogue with your priest, your involvement does make a difference to your child’s life. It shows your Gay Pride.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.