Studies show that LGBTQ+ community believe the most difficult rejection they face in life is first, Evangelical and church in general. Second, Conservative politicians that speak against LGBTQ+ and legislate against us. But the third may come as a surprise. Your family is a major stress point in coming out and simply existing as queer.
Recently in Sub-Reddit GayChristian, a member discussed how he does not know how to deal with the hurt and confusion caused by his mother when she said coming out was selfish. The conversation on coming out was an act of selfishness that would embarrass family members. Not about the support that she needed to accept her queerness.
Community members were supportive with one comment saying, “anything that follows is no longer your burden to carry.” There was much criticism of her mother.
This interaction sheds light on the importance of parents’ support for LGBTQ+ children and youth. According to a 2016 study published in LGBT Health, family rejection increases the odds of substance abuse and suicide attempts for LGBTQ+ people.
These results mirror research by Dr Caitlin Ryan and the Family Acceptance Project, which found that LGBTQ+ youth whose families affirm their gender identity and sexual orientation are almost 50 per cent less likely to make a suicide attempt compared to those whose families are unsupportive.
There are many organizations in South Florida that cater support and counseling to the parents and friends of LGBTQ+ children, such as Parent And Family Support Navigation by SunServe. LGBTQ+ youth organizations like Safe Schools and Prism can help. National organizations like The Trevor Project and It Gets Better Foundation are also there for you. Sunshine Cathedral has spiritual support programs to help LGBTQ+ youth and their parents. But the real question is how you balance a perception of selfishness from family, the need to be authentic and how faith intersects with these vitally important issues.