Of course it's far worse for our children. They have been mulling this over for months, possibly years. How could they say what they are feeling? They expect rejection - although statistics are difficult to substantiate this, anecdotally it is fairly common - see Albert Kennedy Trust. People's reactions are to distance themselves initially, mainly because of a lack of understanding. Why? Society repeatedly fails to really grasp what it is like for the LGBT community to live, to work, in our society of today. Yes we hear and read of the celebrities who apparently flourish but what is it like to walk down the road as a trans female and get abuse directed at you, because you are 'being yourself'? But thankfully people are still 'coming out' and being just that - themselves.
Just like @PFLAG, @OfficialFFLAG and @newroadparents we want to be there for parents, to help them gain an understanding of the language, to remain in contact with their children and support them as their journey unfolds. We want to enable them to rebuild their lives with their families.
The parents say that they are pleased that they are not alone. In this day of mass social media this may come as a surprise. 'We are always connected'. We may be connected but maybe not supported.
- Listen. We feel that they often have not told their story to many people (if at all). As they do so they can process the information and start to put it into some sort of order. This may take some weeks (months for us) but is a great start when confusion reigns.
- Show we care. We don't seek subscription to join this group - surely that's the last thing on anyone's mind! We want to be able to #WalkAlongsideThem. We needed such support when we started and we want to offer that to others now.
- Refer. We are not an authority for referring so perhaps signposting would be a better title. We can listen and consider, based upon our and other people's experiences , who people might like to contact or even books they could read to gain more understanding.
Lastly we meet up as a group to just be together - again social media is one thing but the face to face chats over lovely cake and coffee is something else!!
We have had some great support from @lisajonesdesign, a local artist who has provided us with so much support. These A5 sheets have been so helpful to describe what we do.
May we thank you for supporting us this past year and wish you a very happy New Year and let's hope, pray and work for even more breakthrough's for the LGBTQ+ community in 2016.
Bob & Mandy