IS ESSENTIAL !
A LOVING FAMILY : AN ESSENTIAL SUPPORT SYSTEM
A family love's is essential and shouldn't depend on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Being able to count on one's family for support can make a huge difference in an LGBTQ+ person's life and happiness. That's why it's crucial to show our support to all our family members who are LGBTQ+, whether they are our children, our parents, our siblings, our uncles, our nieces, our cousins or our grandparents.
KEY NUMBERS :
59% of Canadians are completely "out" to their immediate family, and 17% are partially "out". (2017)
51% of trans people in Canada say their family didn't believe them or ignored their coming-out (2017)
25% of French people said they would be uneasy about one of their children coming to a family dinner with a same-sex partner. (2019)
70% of Canadians who have a gay family member say they accepted the situation "very easily" and 19% "pretty easily". (2020)
Tell your loved ones you loves them just the way they are using this may 17th GIF :
Unfortunately, even today, some people cut ties, reduce contact or change their attitude after the coming out of their loved one. It is important to realize that this person is still the same you know. They are only revealing a part of their identity that you did not know. However because we live in a society where prejudice, discrimination and violence are still rampant and coming-out can be frightening, your love and support are all the more crucial.
53% of Canadians who hesitated before telling their family about their identity feared being rejected. As well as playing a very important emotional support role for people of all ages, family has great material power and authority over young people: Some LGBTQ+ youths are banned from going out, or can have their phones or computers confiscated when their parents find out about their identity. Others may be sent into conversion therapy, or may experience different types of abuse. Unfortunately, still today LGBTQ+ youth are made to leave their homes either because they have been thrown out, or because they are abused, intimidated or neglected to the point of feeling compelled to leave.
For many, coming out to someone is a sign of trust. Try to live up to the trust place in you. If someone in your family comes out to you, ask them who else knows. If you're the first who've been told, or if you are amongst the few to know, it is very important not to tell others about it without the explicit consent of your loved one. Coming out is a personal process and you should respect their boundaries.
Studies show that LGBTQ+ people who are well accepted by their families are happier and more fulfilled. On the contrary, LGBTQ+ people who are rejected by their families are more likely to have attempted suicide, to be depressed and to use illegal drugs.
DIFFERENT STAGES OF ACCEPTANCE
Coming out can be a shock for loved ones, especially when the family had absolutely no idea. This reaction is normal and certain people will need more time than others to get used to this new reality.
Denying the person's identity is a frequent reaction ("it's just a phase", "you're just confused", etc.). Refusing to see reality is a defense mechanism. Some relatives react by not wanting to discuss this situation anymore. But that does not help the situation nor does it helps the LGBTQ+ person, who may then feel ignored. The denial usually comes to an end after a while (ex: meeting the same-sex partner) and the family comes to terms with reality, but before that happens, the denial may have already damaged the relationship. After coming out, 30% of LGBTQ+ Canadians said that their family had tried to convince them that "it was only a phase" or "it was going to pass". This kind of speech invalidates the identity of the person, and might result in the person distanciating themselves from their family members who weren't supportive.
After a more or less long period, the family generally accepts the identity of their loved one and life goes on. Although being LGBTQ+ can be a important part of someone's identity, it is not always as "big of a deal" as some make it out to be. Before they can truly accept the identity of their loved one, family members need to challenge some of their preconceptions, take stock of their fears, and learn more about the realities of their LGBTQ+ loved one. The time it takes to truly accept the identity of their LGBTQ+ varies from person to person (from days to years). Unfortunately, some people may never accept the identity of their loved one, and it might result in them losing that person.
Ease of Canadians in 2020 to accept the LGBTQ + identity of their loved one when they come out
While there is still work to be done, we can see an improvement over time.
Evolution of the percentage of Canadians who would be ok with a close family member marrying a person of the same sex :
Posters from our 2005 campaign: Presumed heterosexual.
When a child is born, society presumes that this person will be heterosexual and cisgender, while about one in ten will not. While it is statistically more likely that the person is heterosexual and cisgender, it is important to keep in mind the possibility that they are not!
When sexual and gender diversity is not accepted by some family members, this can lead to situations of violence.
A climate of family violence can have particular consequences when the person is already in a fragile state, for example when they are in the midst of a period of identity crisis related to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Likewise, this kind of violence particularly affects people who depend on their family for their material well-being (e.g. young people, the elderly with loss of autonomy, people living with a disability, etc. ). Family violence can take many forms:
The most frequent, psychological violence, includes innuendos, insults, accusations, threats, unjustified punitive treatment. Psychological abuse can also take a more subtle form through negative comments about LGBTQ + people even before the person has come out. This kind of comment can make the person not really like seeing family safe. 78% of young people in the United States who are not “out” to their parents have heard their family make negative comments about LGBTQ people (2018).
Economic and financial violence results in blackmail and threats to cut food, even to expulsion. 24% of young homeless people in Great Britain are LGBT (2015). Family rejection is one of the main causes of homelessness among LGBTQ + youth.
Physical violence consists in hitting, confining or imposing any other form of corporal punishment. In some cases, this kind of violence can take the form of sexual violence or “corrective rape”.
Refers to any family type of which at least one of the parents is lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). Homoparental families exist in various forms: they can be two-parent, single-parent, stepfamily, adoptive, foster, multiethnic, biracial, etc. LGB parents can be cisgender or trans.
Any family form of which at least one of the parents is trans A trans person can become a parent before or after starting a transition process, and can be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or any other orientation. "
Definitions from LGBT Families: the guide (Les Éditions de agitation, 2015) produced by the Coalition of LGBT Families
Children from same-parent families have similar paths to other children, and often experience the same joys and sorrows from childhood. What distinguishes their daily life from that of their friends is the way society looks at LGBTQ + people and, by association, at their families. This look is sometimes heavy and can cause these children to fear talking about their family despite the love they have for their parents.
5 steps to eliminate prejudice
Find out about same-sex parenting by consulting the section
Do not assume that all families are
Be open if a friend or child tells you about their homoparental family
Intervene if a friend or child is mocked
Take the opportunity to interact with families
Canadians agreed in 2014 with the following statement: "In order for a child to develop fully, it must have parents of the opposite sex".
For those close to LGBTQ + people: PFLAG: https://pflagcanada.ca/
To speak with someone and ask questions: Line spacing: https://interligne.co/
For LGBT families (French and English): Coalition of LGBTQ families + https://familleslgbt.org/
For LGBTQ + families: Family Equality: https://www.familyequality.org/
For children of LGBTQ + people: Colage https://www.colage.org/