Your first reaction to learning that your loved one is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning can range anywhere from anger to sadness, fear to hurt, confusion to grief, and anywhere and everything in between. These emotions and the thousands of others that parents, families, and friends experience as they navigate their loved ones coming out process are normal.
We can tell you with absolute certainty that you’re not alone. According to statistics, one in every ten people in this country and around the world is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Approximately one in four families has an immediate family member who is LGBT, and most people have at least one LGBT individual in their extended circle of friends and family.
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is here for you. Our members are parents, families and friends of LGBT people and LGBT people themselves. We have been through much of what you are now feeling. We understand.
The first thing you should do for yourself and your loved one is to talk to someone who has been through this process. Whether it is by e-mail, phone or in-person at a PFLAG meeting listening to and talking to those who have experienced the feelings you are encountering can be both cathartic and comforting. PFLAG Spokane is ready and willing to work with families and friends both in meeting and in a one on one basis. Please Contact Us to get the support you need.
The second thing you should do is educate yourself. Below you will find resources specific to family and friends of the LGBT community. All of these are available for free right here. But please also consider joining PFLAG. As a member of PFLAG you are entitled to support education and advocacy materials whose focus are helping you help you child or loved one.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About GLBT People. Want to get answers to many of your questions? Here’s where to start.
- Terminology. What do some of these words mean? Use PFLAG’s quick dictionary of terms to get the facts.
- Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People. One of our most popular publications, this is a “must read” for parents who are forming new and honest relationships with a loved one who has come out to them. This booklet answers several commonly-asked questions about having a gay child. It includes a list of related resources.
- Dos and Don’ts for Families and Friends
- Straight for Equality. Are you a straight ally who doesn’t necessarily have a close family member or friend who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender? Then Straight for Equality is the place for you! Visit PFLAG’s Straight for Equality website here.
- Tips for the holidays. Stressed out about how to approach holiday gatherings? Use PFLAG’s resources to get some ideas on how to respond to issues and create a happy holiday for every member of your family.