Guide for parents and carers

to help you support your young LGBT+ person

Parents and carers

Welcome to the page for parents and carers on the Young Pride in Herts website. Here you can find information about local and national support services as well as answers to frequently asked questions to help you and your child through this journey. It's important to remember that neither of you are alone and there are plenty of local and national LGBT+ support services out there for you.

If your child is struggling with their gender identity or has come out as trans, non-binary or are gender non-conforming, we recommend having a look at the genderbread person as a starting point to help you understand the flexibility and fluidity in sex, gender and sexuality.


Support for parents of LGBT+ young people

There are several organisations which offer support for parents of LGBT+ people. This support may be over the phone, online or through parent meet ups. Follow these links for more info:

FFLAG (Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)

Gendered Intelligence support for families

Mermaids UK resources for parents

Hertfordshire Transgender and non-binary Support Group (TSG)

Acceptance UK

 

Support for young LGBT+ people in Hertfordshire

Services for Young People provides a wide range of support to young LGBT+ people across Hertfordshire through its young people's projects and Access Points. More info can be found here:

Support for young LGBT+ people

 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Young people from the Who not What LGBT+ group have answered some frequently asked questions that they hear from parents below, but please contact us if you have any other questions.

Is it just a phase?

For the majority of young people it is not a phase. Coming out to friends and family can be a daunting process. It has probably taken a lot for your child to talk to you about it and supporting them is important. Even if it is a phase, don’t delegitimise it - self-discovery is an important part of growing for all young people.

Gender and sexuality are not fixed things - they can change, but do not expect them to either. Everyone's journey is different and your child needs your understanding, patience and time. They may have already arrived at their destination or may have a way to go.


My initial reaction wasn’t great, what can I do now?

Apologise, listen and talk through things with your child or young person. Stonewall offer further support and guidance specifically for parents.

You can also view some coming out videos on our Coming out page.


When is it ok to share and to tell other people like other members of the family?

It is only ever ok to tell others when your child tells you that they are ok for you to share. There may be certain people that they do not want to share this with and you should be respectful of this. However, if you need to talk to someone for support, ask them if this would be ok.

Some young people may want your support in telling other members of the family (such as grandparents) and would appreciate help with answering any questions that they might have. They may need some extra help in managing un-supportive family members. Your child’s happiness should come first even if you don’t agree with their sexuality or gender identity.

Do I have to use their new name or pronoun?

A new name or pronoun can mean a lot to your child. If they have changed either and someone calls them their given (birth) name or pronoun it could make them feel like they aren’t being listened to or respected. Their birthname may mean a lot to you though, so talk about it to see what you can make work for everyone.


What can schools do to support my child?

The Equality Act 2010 protects students from discrimination and harassment based on protected characteristics, these include: disability; ethnicity and race; gender (sex); gender identity and reassignment; pregnancy, maternity and breast feeding; religion and belief; sexual orientation; age; marriage and civil partnership.

Schools will also have an anti-bullying policy which will include the schools response to all types of bullying including homophobic/transphobic bullying. If you are worried or concerned about your child you should contact their head of year or head teacher.

Visit our section for professionals to view guidance documents for schools on how they can celebrate difference, tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, and effectively support trans and gender questioning students.


How shall I approach talking about safe sex with my child?

Safe sex is an important conversation to have with your child at a time and an age that is appropriate. Coming out as LGBT+ should not change this. STIs can affect everyone regardless of gender identity or sexuality. Young people should still use condoms even if they are in a same-sex relationship.

More information about LGBT+ sexual health can be found in our Health and wellbeing section.


Should I be worried about what my child is doing online?

Like with everything, there are dangers in the online community, but there is a large LGBT+ presence online, much of which is very supportive and it can be a positive way for your child to explore and understand their sexuality or gender identity. There are lots of YouTubers and bloggers who share their experiences and what support has worked for them. There are also several LGBT+ dating apps but these are only for over-18s.


Can I still have grandchildren?

Yes! But this is a decision for your child to make without pressure from family members.

NHS - LGBT paths to parenthood

HFEA - Information for trans and non-binary people seeking fertility treatment


How does my child’s sexuality or gender identity fit with our faith/religion?

Faith and religion can be an extremely important part of your child’s identity. The common assumption that someone cannot be LGBT+ and have faith and religion can be emotionally harmful. Coming out to a faith group can be very overwhelming and daunting. Within your place of worship there may be a religious leader or pastoral member of staff that your child can speak to.

Stonewall - Faith and LGBT inclusion