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EPISODE 78:WHEN YOUR LGBTQIA+ LOVED ONE FACES NON-AFFIRMING FOLKS DURING THE HOLIDAYS

DISCOVER CHRYSALIS MAMA

Transforming the Conversation

Hi, my name is Heather Hester. Welcome to Chrysalis Mama.

You have probably landed on this page because your child or a loved one (grandchild? niece? friend?) has recently come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or another sexual orientation or gender identity and you are looking for resources and tools. I know the joys and challenges of parenting an LGBTQ child.

Or, maybe you’re here because your company or organization is looking for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) speakers or consulting. I can help you with that!

Don’t panic. Take a deep breath. You are in the right place. I’ve been where you are. I’ve felt the shock, the joy, the terror, the growth, the unconditional love, the fierce mama bear response. It’s A LOT! And, it can be challenging to find support, guidance, resources, and education. That’s why I’m here.

Chrysalis Mama is the product of our family’s journey with depression, anxiety, and embracing our son, who, among many wonderful traits, is gay. It is my desire to pass on valuable information and offer support to those who are on a similar journey of loving and raising an LGBTQ+ child.

My mission is to transform the conversation around embracing, education, empowering, and loving LGBTQIA+ adolescents, teenagers, and young adults.

You may be asking – how do we change this conversation? I believe it starts within each one of us, blossoms within our families, and then grows within our communities and beyond. My principles are simple yet effective – To embrace, educate, empower, and love.

I am grateful for this opportunity to connect with parents, allies, advocates, and all who are, among all of their many wonderful traits, LGBTQ!

Nestled in this site you will find:

PODCAST

Do you have a child, teen, or young adult who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or another sexual orientation or gender identity?

Do you feel alone in your effort to support them on their journey or navigate your own?

Do you want to learn how to make your work environment more inclusive and well-informed?

Using a combination of solo episodes on in-depth topics and interviews with fascinating guests. Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ+ Teen helps calm you, educate you, inspire you, and support you on this beautifully unpredictable journey.

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Covering topics ranging from the LGBTQ+ coming out process to mental health to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in corporate spaces - the Chrysalis Mama blog is a space to learn, grow, and become empowered.

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Wrap Your Head Around the News

May 28, 20244 min read

My new book, Parenting with Pride: Unlearn Bias and Embrace, Empower, and Love Your LGBTQ+Teen is finally here, and I could not be more proud! This book is ultimately a gorgeous tapestry, weaving together stories, lessons learned along our journey, peer-backed research, and proven tips and strategies. Over the next several months I plan to offer small excerpts through my blog and on LinkedIn to give you a peek at the content. Enjoy!

Parenting with Pride book cover

Wrap Your Head Around the News

So your child has just told you they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary, or another sexual orientation or gender identity. Unless this has been obvious for a while, the announcement was probably a bit of a surprise.

The First Feelings and Words

I have found that one of three things immediately happen here, usually subconsciously: The movie reel that you have been keeping in your head—you know, the one that started the day your little one was born, not only recording current events but predicting future ones based on likes and dislikes, habits, personality, etc.—that movie reel explodes. As parents, we are left rather stunned and unsure of what to do next, so in that moment we simply decide to ACCEPT, PANIC, or REJECT.

There are different combinations and expressions of feelings that a parent may have when they learn their child is LGBTQ+. There are a million ways we were raised, different environmental factors (such as where we live, where we work, where our kids go to school, etc.), access to education, and varying internal factors (such as core beliefs, mental health, spirituality, religion, etc.) which influence our initial reaction.

As I already shared [earlier in the book], Steve and I were completely blindsided when Connor came out to us. I cried for days . . . but not for the reasons you may think. I cried because I wasn’t physically with him during that moment; because I was beginning to connect all of the dots of his pain; because my movie reel had just exploded; because I had no idea how to help him; because my heart and intuition were in direct conflict with what I learned growing up. It was a lot.

Remember, your child is responding to and processing a lot of feelings too! They are not only dealing with their own challenges, questions, and feelings, but, now that they’ve shared they are LGBTQ+, they are also dealing with your reactions and emotions.

This is SO important. Please be aware of what you are expressing to your child. It’s not their job to manage your feelings. You are both human. Be gentle with where each of you are in this process.

Connor has been a guest on my podcast, Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ Teen, several times. He has shared pieces of his journey, as well as insight into what our teens are thinking and needing from us. I don’t think any of us are immune from saying the wrong thing or wishing we knew how to say the right thing, so I asked Connor to share a list of what to say and what not to say. Here are just a few.

WHAT NOT TO SAY WHEN YOUR CHILD COMES OUT TO YOU :

•Are you sure?

•This is a lot for me to take in/handle.

•This breaks my heart.

•How do you know?

•You’re young; this is probably just a phase.

•We need to have a discussion about this.

•I can’t believe my son/daughter/child is gay (or lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, or any other sexual orientation or gender identity).

•I always knew you weren’t straight.

•I always knew you weren’t normal.

DO SAY :

•Thank you for being comfortable enough to share that with me.

•That takes a lot of courage.

•I’m proud of you.

•I see you.

•My love for you is unconditional; this changes nothing.

•How can I best support you in this process?

•Is this something you’ve shared with others? I don’t want to say anything to anyone you haven’t told yet.

The only way forward is to be willing to be curious. Curiosity is the antidote to judgment. This first step may take a few hours, a few days, or a few months. Take the time now to process. This is not a sprint; it’s a journey. And a journey implies a long and winding trip.

If you like this tiny excerpt from Parenting with Pride, you can look for it at your local bookseller (and request it if it isn't on the shelves!) or order it online on Amazon or your favorite online bookseller.

coming out of the closetlgbtqgayparenting
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