WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – For many LGBTQ people, coming out to their parents is a daunting, even frightening task. As an article in the Journal of Research on Adolescence points out, children often see their identity rejected by their parents.
Caroline Morin, Executive Director of the Cape Fear Coast LGBTQ Center, recently spoke to WECT about her experience and shared some local resources for parents.
“My individual home was a loving and supportive place, but we never talked about LGBTQ people or issues or what that meant,” Morin said. “For me it really left a void that was filled by the rest of society with a lot of very negative messages.”
Morin explained that parental confusion is reasonable and incredibly common, but identity support for children and adults is essential for LGBTQ well-being. The Human Rights Coalition, Trevor Project, American Association of Pediatrics and others have found that supporting LGBTQ identity consistently improves physical and mental health outcomes.
“[I try to emphasize to parents nowadays] that neutrality is not enough, because the oppression is so much stronger. And so if we’re going to raise kids of any type, whether they’re LGBTQ or not, without shame or fear, then we need to do more than just be neutral or say everyone’s normal or it’s okay . Morin said. “It’s OK and acceptable and desirable to be LGBTQ. I love being queer.
The PFLAG Cape Fear Chapter provides resources and community specifically for parents and friends of LGBTQ people. They are active on Facebook and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parents can also contact or visit the Cape Fear Coast LGBTQ Center. They regularly host events for LGBTQ youth and adults and can be reached at (910) 262-0327 or email@example.com.
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington has created a comprehensive list of LGBTQ friendly groups, local churches, and physical and mental health services.
Online, The Trevor Project provides a myriad of LGBTQ resources as well as contact information for anyone with questions. The Human Rights Coalition has a basic glossary of LGBTQ terminology and information.
(Note: LGBT, LGBTQ, and LGBTQ+ are commonly used interchangeably. Queer is also used as an umbrella term to refer to LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming people. No single term captures people’s wide range of identities)
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