The Big Questions

Finding support for yourself is a first step in supporting your loved one.

This may involve exploring your own reactions, feelings and beliefs about sexuality and gender.

PFLAG Geelong is made up of volunteer parents, family members and friends who have all had similar experiences to yours. We are not trained counsellors or professionals, and we may not have all the answers to your questions, but we are here to offer you social connection and confidential support in a friendly and welcoming environment.

Tips for Parents

Language used to describe sexuality varies and can be confusing, there are many acronyms. Here we will use SSAGD (same sex attracted and gender diverse), however you may also hear quite regularly GLBTI or LGBTI (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex).

  1. Praise your SSAGD child for talking to you. Encourage them to continue to keep you "in the know." But don’t force them to talk to you.  Telling you about their sexuality takes a lot of courage. Some young people feel like they are taking a major risk as they could be rejected.  If you are sad or angry or don’t approve, above all else your child must know that you love them and will be there to support them along this journey together.  It is okay to not be okay with this, but as one mother has said to us “words are very powerful and you can’t take them back”.  
  1. Engage with your child. Your SSAGD child requires and deserves the same level of care, respect, information, and support as non-SSAGD children. Ask questions, listen, empathise, share and just be there for your child.
  1. Do some research. There is a lot to learn about sexual orientation and gender identity. Challenge yourself to learn and to go beyond stereotyped images of SSAGD people. If you have concerns try and find out as much as you can. There are a lot of myths out there that can cause unnecessary stress. Explore the internet. There is a lot of excellent information on the internet that connects people with support and materials on these important topics. Check out the following:
  1. Find support for yourself. PFLAG Geelong is a support group for parents, family and friends of SSAGD young people. They meet on the first Wednesday of the month at 5.30pm. Many parents say that their connections with other parents of SSAGD children made a world of difference in their progress toward understanding them. Finding another person you can trust to share your experience with is invaluable. Many people have gone through similar things and their support, lessons learned, and empathy can be very valuable. Do you know any "out" people, or their friends and loved ones, to whom you can turn to for information?
    (Before speaking to someone, refer to tip number 6 below! Ask your child if it's okay for you to "come out" about them.)

    For more details about PFLAG you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call 5272 4688 and ask to speak to a GASP project worker.

 

  1. Don't make it ALL there is… just because your child has come out as SSAGD does not mean their whole world revolves around sexual orientation or gender identity. It is big part of who they are, especially during the process of figuring it all out, including what it means to be SSAGD, however it is definitely not ALL they are. They are still all the other things that you know and love them for, a son, a daughter, a brother, a sister, with all the interests, passions, likes and dislikes that they have always had. This is just one part of their rich and wonderful lives. It is vital to encourage your child in other aspects of life, such as school, sports, hobbies, friends, and part-time jobs.
  1. ASK your child before you "come out" to others on their behalf. Friends and family members might have questions or want to know what's up; but it is MOST important to be respectful of what your child wants. Don't betray your child's trust! You might want to discuss with your child a “story line” that suits all of you that you can tell inquiring friends and family.
  1. Find out what kind of support, services, and education are in place at your child's school. Does the school have a non-discrimination policy? Is there a ‘Stand Out’ support group? Is your child experiencing bullying and what is the school doing about it? You may need to advocate strongly for your child at their school.
  1. When you are ready… Advocate for your child. Whilst laws in Australia have come a long way there is still room for improvement and SSASGD young people still experience high levels of abuse and discrimination. You can get involved in things like the Equal Love movement for marriage equality, write letters to local MPs, and challenge their school to have supportive policies and practices.

    Some useful websites are:

 

* Please note: These tips can also be useful for other trusted adults in the LGBTI young person's life, to explain how a caring adult can be there for LGBTI youth.

Additional information