The changing attitudes of parents to LGBTQIA+ children.
Jasmine Cartwright, Therapeutic Worker with YG talks to us about the changing attitudes of parents to LGBTQIA+ children.
“Lots of parents will tell you, raising kids is no walk in the park. It throws curveballs you never saw coming. For parents of LGBTQIA+ kids, there’s a whole extra layer of stuff to think about, diving into a world that might seem totally new. But what is cool; many parents of LGBTQ young people say they end up learning and growing alongside their children as they take on this journey together.
“We’ve come a long way in Britain. Back in the day, being gay could land you in prison or worse. No access to education, and they even called it a mental illness. Fast forward to today, and we’re celebrating with parades, adoption rights, and equal marriage. It’s a positive shift, no doubt. But for those who lived through the old times or saw it happen, the impact lingers. Parents today might not have grown up when being gay was a crime, but homophobia was still alive and kicking during their childhood. That stuff sticks. It could shape their beliefs or pass down intergenerational stigma, where those old beliefs get handed down to the next generations.
“This generation of parents are proving their strength by breaking free from years of stigma and stereotypes. They’re stepping up as advocates for their children, creating safe spaces where they can express themselves freely, and helping them navigate the complex terrain of sexuality and gender identity. The parents we’re working with are on a journey to expand their knowledge, deepen their understanding, and tackle the tough conversations for their children. They’re also reaching out to educate their own parents about the LGBTQIA+ community, providing the support needed for their children to feel secure and happy in all aspects of life.
“This effort isn’t just transformative for the young people; it’s eye-opening for those parents who might not have questioned cultural ideas, biases, and inequalities before. It’s a chance to explore how these things impact marginalised groups, opening their eyes to a whole new world and giving them a fresh perspective on life and society.
“The Arcus Project at Young Gloucestershire offers family gender support for parents and carers where a child within the family is transgender* or exploring their gender identity. (*Transgender is an umbrella term we are using to include any child or young person exploring their gender, who identify as gender diverse, transgender or non binary.) The project aims to support families by offering bespoke 1-2-1 therapeutic mentoring. This can include advocacy, wellbeing support, referrals into other relevant agencies and liaising between you. We help build knowledge and confidence to be able to support your child.
“It’s true, the world can be a bit intimidating, but having a home filled with love, support, and advocacy makes everything a little less daunting. Many of the parents we work with express a simple desire: for their children to be happy, no matter how they choose to live their lives. We say embrace this chapter alongside your child and you’ll both discover new things about yourselves. It’s not just about them learning and growing; it’s a journey that lets you uncover more about yourself too.”