Brief thought/PSA of the day: you’re not helping

A little pet peeve of mine is when parents respond to their child coming out as LGBTQ+ (i.e. gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, asexual, etc.), or simply exhibiting non-normative behaviours associated with these identities, by being worried about how their child’s difference will “make the child’s life harder”.

I get that to some extent this is a natural reaction. Of course (or at least, hopefully!) you want what’s best for your child. You want their life to be full of good things and free of badness. And I can’t tell people what to feel. I get that.

But here’s the thing: when you say that you would rather your child not be [X: fill in your own blank here] because people who are [X] have harder lives, your priorities are way off base.

For one thing, when you tell your child you feel that way, whether you want to or not, whether you mean to or not, you are telling them that you wish they were someone else. So no matter how much you may think or feel this way, the kindest thing you could do is not tell them.

Instead, redirect that worry into something productive!

It’s important that you understand that the hardship in your LGBTQ+ child’s life will not be directly because they are LGBTQ+. Or rather, it is not a natural consequence of being LGBTQ+.

It is a consequence of being LGBTQ+ only in the context of a society that harbours anti LGBTQ+ biases. And it’s toward those biases that you should be directing your energy and your worries.

If you don’t want your child’s life to be harder than it needs to be, put action where your worries are and try to make the world a place that is safe for them (instead of wishing that they were the kind of person who is relatively safe in this world). Get involved, speak up.

Actually, do those things regardless of whether you have a child who is LGBTQ+.

Stop wishing for fewer LGBTQ+ people. Start working toward reducing the number of bigots in the world instead.

2 comments

  1. Oh yes all of this. The real problem is thinking it at all because teenagers and adult children are receptive to what their parents feel and you need to both bite your tongue and try to reframe your thoughts asap so that when your kid is trying to gauge how you feel about them being gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, asexual, or one of the other rarer gender or sexuality (/romantic?) minorities, there is nothing frustrating and hurtful for them to pick up on. You want to be a parent who is a great ally, who educates themselves as much as possible, who stands up for these identities in general wherever possible, who respects that only you should be outing yourself to further extended family, probably, but maybe ask your kid as every person who comes out to parents has different priorities and expectations… Who respects their kid, period!, and isn’t disappointed by things the kid couldn’t change about themselves even if they wanted to, and maybe get on board with the idea of why people with that identity don’t want to change anyway, typically. Try to put yourself in their shoes and then be supportive and awesome. :) you can do it. Plenty of parents have succeeded in these areas. It really isn’t always a struggle for parents.

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