HRC Foundation and University of Connecticut’s report “Black & African American LGBTQ Youth Report,” released last February, details the experiences of Black and African-American LGBTQ youth. Nearly 1,700 young people, ranging in age from 13 to 17, took part in this HRC’s online 2017 LGBTQ Teen Survey.
What they shared was dismal:
· They have heard their own family members say negative things about LGBTQ people.
· 80% usually feel depressed, down, worried, nervous or panicked.
· Nearly half feel critical of their LGBTQ identities.
· 90% of respondents have experienced racial discrimination.
· Only 19% of Black and African-American youth feel completely comfortable in their households.
Many of these youth are not only dealing with sexual harassment, but also racial basis. What can parents do to lighten their children’s burden? Here are some suggestions:
· Make your home a safe haven where your child feels accepted. Try not to judge! Open up discussions about other LGBT people to get your child to open up about his/her/theirs sexual identities.
· Ask your LGBTQ child the same questions you ask your heterosexual child: his love interest, what’s happening with that special person. If you have your cisgender child’s boyfriend/girlfriend to dinner, also invite your LGBTQ child’s boyfriend/girlfriend as well.
· Don’t avoid the topic of dating and relationships.
· Share the same information you would with family members and friends about your child being gay, including his dating life as you would with them about your straight child.
· Ask the child how he wants to handle letting relatives and close family friends know.
· If you feel that having a happy child is more important than having a child who fits a certain mold you will be more likely to accept having a gay child than those who hold firmly to preconceived beliefs.
If issues are holding you back from accepting your LGBTQ child, there are more tips in Wesley C. Davidson’s and Dr. Jonathan L. Tobkes’s co-authored book http://www.WhenYourChildIsGay: What You Need To Know (Sterling: 2016)
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.