I’m not a therapist or a trained mental health professional in any way. And when I find those resources and they help me, I’ll share them.
What I am is an LGBTQ+ mom with at least one LGBTQ+ kid. And I’m not here to actually give you advice, I’m here to share and also hear from you. I’m here to start the conversation.
First, thank you for even asking yourself this question. It means you’ve truly internalized your child’s identity. If you thought it was a phase, this event would feel like it happened to “others”, it would feel distant and not so immediate.
But for those of us in the community, it’s very immediate. It’s right here. There is a mix of anger, sorrow, and fear. This emotional cocktail is normally squashed, we don’t allow it to take up much rent in our brains. When we do, it feels like we’ve let them win.
But waking up yesterday to the news of what happened in Colorado Springs, magnified…everything.
The reality of this violence feels big, it feels too heavy to give voice to, especially with the ones who will always be our babies.
As parents, we think “What if my kid hasn’t heard the news yet? What if telling them will scar them in a way?”
Hearing it while scrolling social media alone in your room, really sucks. Start the conversation.
As parents we might think, “I’m straight. My kid doesn’t want to talk about it with me.”
Coming from an LGBTQ+ mom of four, please understand… whether your kid has matured enough to recognize this or not, hearing from our Allies that they can see the violence against us and it’s not okay with them, is CRUCIAL to our mental health.
Full stop. Tell them. Start the conversation.
As parents we think “Talking about something so horrible when there are no solutions, no way to resolve this…it feels impossible.”
Let’s be frank. As Gen X’er’s, we are ashamed we let the world become THIS PLACE for our kids. We don’t know how or when it happened and now it feels too big to fix. And now our kids’ lives are in danger on multiple levels. We are just as scared, hurt, angry, and frustrated as our teenagers are.
That’s not a moral judgment, that’s just reality.
Talking about the state of our world might bring up questions that we have NO answers to. And we, the parents, have relied on having the answers for a long time.
In this conversation, our kids are not asking us to know how to solve the problem. They’re asking us to explicitly recognize the problem exists.
If they see adults in their life avoiding the conversation, the only conclusion they can draw is that this violence isn’t even worth mentioning.
We can’t let them think that. We have to push through our own feelings and talk with them. Start the conversation.
Doing so tells them:
Finally, ask them. Would they appreciate an appointment with an LGBTQ+ therapist to talk about things?
Parents, have you had this conversation with your teen? How did it go?
LGBTQ+ friends, what do you wish you could hear from your parents today?
About the Author:
Elena Joy Thurston is an inspirational Diversity & Allyship speaker, trainer, and author through a lens of LGBTQ+ inclusion. Elena Joy inspires her audiences to learn how Inclusive Leadership can improve company morale and productivity, changing members' lives in a practical way. A Mormon mom of four who lost her marriage, her church, and her community when she came out as a lesbian, her viral TEDx talk on surviving conversion therapy has been viewed more than 45,000 times and landed her media and speaking opportunities with ABC, CBS, FOX, Penn State, University of North Texas, Michael’s, Logitech, and more. Elena Joy is also one of the subjects of the feature film documentary Conversion.