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Raising LGBTQ+ Kids

with Simone Dougherty, LPC

Simone is one of our out-of-state providers at Therapy for Women, who specializes in working with the LGBTQ+ community. She joined us on the Therapy for Women Podcast to share how she coped as a parent after her children came out, as well as recommendations for parents or other family members who learn that their loved ones are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

It is normal to grieve.

“When my daughter came out, I struggled. And it wasn’t that I didn’t love and support my daughter. It was grief that I didn’t expect or understand.”

Joining a local PFLAG group, a support group for allies and members of the community, can be helpful if you are in a similar situation as a parent. Simone joined to help understand the grief she was experiencing after her daughter came out as transgender. It’s important to understand that it is normal to experience grief, even if you really love and support the people in your life. Simone worked through this by grieving the idea of who her daughter was, letting go of that, and making space for the person that they authentically are.

Fear is a real concern.

As a parent of LGBTQ+ kids, especially in the current political climate, fear is a big concern. Joining a group like PFLAG can help process and learn how to proceed. It’s important to be realistic about what is happening as a culture, while also not allowing the fear to become so overwhelming that it interferes with your life. Simone advocates for finding a community of people that you feel safe with. Not only does it help with things like anxiety and depression, but it can also help ease fears about safety. Even if you feel isolated or don’t feel ready to attend a group in person, there are many online communities too!

It’s important to realize that you don’t have to understand.

“You don’t have to understand what it’s like to be gay or transgender. But by not supporting them, you are putting them in danger.”

The LGBTQ+ community has an extremely high risk of suicide. About 50% of the community considers suicide at some point, and for the transgender community, it is closer to 60%. With the love and support from a parent however, that number goes down dramatically. You don’t have to get it, you don’t have to understand it. But it’s very important to still show support.

The best thing you can do is love and support them.

“We can’t protect our children, whether they are LGBTQ+ or not. The best thing that you can do is not to isolate them, but to love them and to support them when they experience adversity.”

Because no matter who your child is, they will experience adversity. And by loving and supporting them through that, that is how we build resilience.

To learn more about Simone’s personal experience as a parent of LGBTQ+ kids, her advocacy work, and additional resources, listen to the full podcast episode here.

Simone specializes in anxiety, depression, LGBTQ+ mental health, substance use, and parenthood. If you are interested in working with Simone, are looking for a new therapist, or feel unsure where to begin, get started on our booking page.