Coming out to loved ones has to be one of the most difficult, stressful, and brave things a person can do.
Whether a person is gay, bisexual, or transitioning, kids often fear being ostracized or made to feel shame for who they are. Unfortunately, there will be people who will judge a person based solely on their sexuality, so a child knowing they have their parents’ support — especially early on — can mean everything.
PFLAG, one of the nation’s largest organizations that brings the LGBTQ community and their families together, and 3M, one of the world’s largest manufacturing and innovation companies, have teamed up to share a powerful new program they’re championing: the joining together of the LGBTQ community and their parents to voice their support in a very public way.
The #ParentsComingOut movement encourages loved ones to send messages of love and support and put them out there for all the world to see. It also gives parents a platform to tell the world just how amazing their child really is — not because of who they love, but for how their child was meant to live.
Messages of support and acceptance can not only strengthen a child’s elf-esteem, but show other parents how important it can be to do the same. The organization released a powerful video to help give families an outlet to tell their stories and share just how impactful a few simple words can mean to their kids.
The video highlights several families who openly share their child’s coming out story. Some mothers and fathers admitted they initially struggled upon hearing the news. Another mother said she believed that the way parents react to the news can “make the difference between life and death.”
Parents revealed their messages of love at a Pride event. The video shows one father poignantly describing the movement, saying, “The key to actually supporting a child is coming out yourself.”
The video also shows some of their kids seeing and hearing these public messages of love and support for the first time:
“Blythe, you will always be my daughter and the fact that you are a lesbian has no bearing on that. You’ve become such a beautiful, wonderful, talented woman. You make me so proud to me your mama.”
“To my dear CR, watching you transition fully into your authentic self was one of the most miraculous things I have witnessed. I loved you before, I love you now, and I will love you forever. With a heart and a half, Mom.”
“Chriss, you inspire me always in all ways, Mom.”
“If you feel you must judge our son we prefer he was judged by his character not his sexual orientation. We love you Christopher, Mom and Dad.”
Navigating society as a LGBTQ individual does not come without consequence; mistreatment from others can cause individuals to see themselves as less than worthy of love.
According to the CDC, “some LGB youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience negative health and life outcomes. For youth to thrive in schools and communities, they need to feel socially, emotionally, and physically safe and supported.”
The CDC also notes, “Positive parenting practices, such as having honest and open conversations, can help reduce teen health risk behaviors. How parents engage with their LGB teen can have a tremendous impact on their adolescent’s current and future mental and physical health.”
The #ParentsComingOut program helps to show others how to best champion for your child and walk beside them on their journey. Loved ones may not always know the exact right thing to do or say, but knowing you are proud of them no matter what, is a pretty good start.