Get help for yourself first
All parents want to help their children if they are going through difficult times. In order to be as supportive as possible, there is an important first step for parents to make, which is to explore their own reactions to homosexuality, bisexuality or transgenderism.
Many parents are accepting of diversity and will not find this a challenge. However, there are many others whose knowledge of lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans issues is restricted. For them, it will be important to counteract some misinformation.
If you have religious or cultural objections to homosexuality or bisexuality, then it will be important to access the people within your religious group or culture who hold more respectful and inclusive views. These people will be your allies. See our sections on: Religion and Black and Ethnic Minorities.
If you want to give your son or daughter the back-up they need, make sure you are ready. Get help for yourself if you need it, but, even if you don’t, you will still have a lot to learn. Use websites, helplines and support groups so that you can learn more.
Resources for parents
There are Parent Support Groups across the country. Please click on the links below to learn more about groups in your area.
Information and support lines
Hatta :07806 746 780 or 020 8874 4214
Liz :07951 104 745
or contact FFLAG (Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) – www.fflag.org.uk
For information about Families Together London’s monthly meetings, click here.
Birmingham parents – www.bpsg.co.uk
‘Called To Be One’ – for Catholic parents – contact Sue Haley 01642 465020
Depend, a website for the family and friends of trans people – www.depend.org.uk
Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLAG), the national organisation for friends and families – provides information on other parents groups around the country – www.fflag.org.uk
Manchester Parents Group – www.manpg.co.uk
New Road Parents (NE Worcestershire) – www.newroadparents.org
Parents of Jewish Gays and Lesbians – www.parentsofjewishgaysandlesbians.co.uk
Parents Enquiry North East – www.parentsofgays.co.uk
Parents Enquiry Scotland – www.parentsenquiryscotland.org
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the US version of FFLAG – www.pflag.org
Support for Parents of Lesbians and Gay Men in Wales – www.splagwales.org.uk
This is a monthly group for parents, families and carers of LGBT+ people. If you are struggling to come to terms with your family member’s sexuality or gender identity, this group is for you. It’s also a social space for parents, families and carers of LGBT+ people to meet others. Proud Parents runs on the first Tuesday of each month from 7:00pm – 8:30pm at The Gap Community Centre in Warwick.
Leicester Parents Support Group – www.leicesterparentssupportgroup.org.uk
Websites for parents
www.besomeonetotell.org.uk – a branch of Parentline Plus – go to ‘Why it happens’, then ‘Homophobic bullying’
Gendered Intelligence – www.genderedintelligence.co.uk – go to ‘Trans youth’, then ‘Supporting parents’
Gender Identity Research and Education Society – www.gires.org.uk
www.gotateenager.org.uk – a branch of Parentline Plus – go to ‘Supporting your gay child’
Mermaids, support group for children and teenagers with gender identity issues – www.mermaidsuk.org.uk
Mumsnet – by parents for parents www.mumsnet.com
PACE counselling service for LGBT people, offers a family support helpline –
www.schools-out.org.uk www.the-classroom.org.uk www.thechrysalisteam.co.uk
Pink Therapy-is an organisation which aim to promote high quality therapy and training services for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans . They also have an on line directory of Therapists who work with gender and sexual diversity clients from an affirmative standpoint – www.pinktherapy.com
Pink Parenting Magazine! The Premier Parenting Magazine designed for the LGBT community that are either interested in having children or already have them. With modern life comes the modern family as many gay and lesbian couples seek to fulfil their biological needs of having a family. Available in both Digital & Print. www.pink-parenting.com
Sladjana Malich ,a counsellor, offering services to parents and friends of LGBT persons.
“Healthier Mind = Happier Life” on-line support is handy for people who wish to talk about their dilemmas or relationship issues, but don’t feel ready to visit counsellors or for some reason cannot attend other services available to them. On-line support and counselling is affordable and convenient, people can access support from the comfort of their own home with the option to remain anonymous.
Comfortability and flexibility this service offers makes it easier for people to take first step to resolve issues they may have and it can encourage people to avail of other services in the future. Follow the link below to Sladjana’s website and contact details:
Parentchannel.tv – www.parentchannel.tv
Parentline Plus, a charity that supports parents – www.parentlineplus.org.uk
Stonewall (campaigns for lesbian and gay rights) has an advice line – www.stonewall.org.uk
Terrence Higgins Trust – www.tht.org.uk go to ‘Family Matters’
Transfigurations, a support group for transgender and or gender variant people, their parents and wider family and their partners.
It is based in Torquay
07476 15 17 17. It’s open Sunday, Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6pm – midnight and run by Carol
Books for parents
‘Gays the Word‘ is a very helpful bookshop which holds a wide range of books on issues of sexuality, including those for parents and young people: Gay’s the Word, 66 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB (Russell Square Tube) 020 7278 7654 – www.gaystheword.co.uk
The following are books which Families Together London members have found helpful: We have a very small library of books which can be borrowed. Please ask when you attend one of our meet ups either at Kings Cross or Battersea.
This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids: A Question-and-Answer Guide to Everyday Life Paperback – 1 Oct 2014
by Dannielle Owens-Reid (Author), Kristin Russo (Author) Written in an accessible Q&A format, here, finally, is the go-to resource for parents hoping to understand and communicate with their gay child. Through their LGBTQ-oriented site, the authors are uniquely experienced to answer parents’ many questions and share insight and guidance on both emotional and practical topics. Filled with real-life experiences from gay kids and parents.
‘Invisible Families’. Terry Stewart (2008) Heartflags Publishing. Written by a parent, this covers many of the areas parents are concerned about. Now availalbe as an e-book at just over £2.00. If you buy the e-book then it is cheaper to buy the book afterwards. See also Facebook
‘Is it a Choice?’ Answers to the most frequently asked questions about gay and lesbian people’ Marcus, E. (1993) HarperSanFrancisco. A very helpful and sensible book. Paulette Goodman of PFLAG said “Straight answers to Gay questions…. Timely and welcome,candid and informative,this book will do much to demystify homosexuality….The parts in which the law is discussed refer to US law, not British.
‘My Child is Gay: How parents react when they hear the news’. B. McDougall (2006). Allen and Unwin. Interesting to read the wide range of reactions from parents.
“The Man I Might Become”: Is a collection of stories written by Gay men about their relationship with their fathers.Some of the stories are painful,but all offer an insight into relationships that are often strained with anger and resentment but longing for more acceptance,warmth and love.
‘A Guide for Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays’. Produced by www.fflag.org.uk.
‘Beyond Acceptance: Parents of lesbians and gays talk about their experiences’. Welch Griffin, C., Wirth, M. J. and Wirth, A. G. (1996) St Martins’s Griffin. This book is honestly written from the hearts of the writers, parents who have been through all of that and more. We learn of how they cope or didn’t. The journeys they have taken and what the effects are with a lesbian/gay in the family unit.
‘Prayers for Bobby’: A mother’s coming to terms with the suicide of her gay son.Leroy Aarons.
‘Yours, with Pride’ A mother’s compilation of letters to her son after he came out to her. Thelma Gabriel (1996) PTSL Books.
”The No-Nonsense Guide to Sexual Diversity’. Baird, V. (2007) Oxford: New Internationalist.
‘Silenced Sexualities In Schools and Universities’ Debbie Epstein, Sarah O’Flynn and David Telford-This book deals with sexuality in all phases of formal education from early years to university.
“Out in the Wilderness”. This charts the painful and emotional journey of a mother with two gay children as she deals with her Christian faith and her children coming out.
An insightful account of a family going through the often painful process of learning to understand each other. I am sure that both parents and their lesbian and gay sons and daughters will recognise and be able to identify with Hilda, Sue and Jack. It is a very human story.
(Jenny Broughton , MBE, President of FFLAG)
‘Invisible Boundaries’ – Edited by Renee De Palma & Elizabeth Atkinson-This book tells the stories of children’s experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Identities in their families, communities,personal lives and schools.This is an important book for parents, teachers,community workers,voluntary workers.
‘Coming Out, Coming In’ – Nurturing the Well-Being and Inclusion of Gay Youth in Mainstream Society – Linda Goldman. “Linda Goldman provides us with a comprehensive primer for psychologists,clinicians, educators, and families to help us dispel myths,combat misinformation, and teach us how to provide the care,respect,and unconditional love all youth deserves….”-Jody M. Huckaby
‘Oy Vey,My Daughter’s Gay’– Sandra McCay- Septemeber 2015:Oy Vey, My Daughter’s Gay is Sandra’s humorous memoir of her family’s big gay rollercoaster ride, from the mind-numbing lows of fear, confusion and indignation to the soaring heights of laughter, love and joy. The family’s bumpy ride may be over, but for Lila, almost twenty years after coming out, it continues. As a lesbian, albeit one living in the Western world, Lila still faces challenges – though there can also be occasional perks. Sandra provides the reader with fascinating insights into how Lila being gay still impacts on her daughter and herself today.
You will find other reources under our sections on Religion and Black and Ethnic Minorities.