Pursuant to our discussion about her hair, Flora also talked about some difficulties some of her friends are having. She says three of her friends have come out to her – and they have also come out to their families, with very discouraging results.
According to Flora, one of her friends came out as bisexual. Her parents have forbidden her to even speak about it at home, and her older sister calls her a schizophrenic. When Flora told me this, I felt like my head was going to catch on fire.
“You tell your friend,” I said, emphatically stabbing the table with my index finger, “that she can come over ANY TIME. Our house is a safe space for her.”
“Yeah, Mom, I already told her,” Flora responded.
I do not understand how a parent can reject a child. Especially on the basis of sexuality or gender identity — not just at this age, but at any age. Don’t they remember how scary this time was in their own lives? Trying to figure out who they were and who they wanted to be? The constant fear of not fitting in, of being rejected, of being alone?
In these years between puberty and adulthood, our children have more questions and insecurities, and do more exploration than they did since they were toddlers. (Apparently, a child learns more between birth and age 3 than for the rest of his/her/their life.) Tweens and teens are seeking their identities, independence, and acceptance. And even though they are pulling away from us parents, they still need us!
- LGBTQ youth are at increased risk for dating violence and rape
- LGBTQ youth are at increased risk for suicidal thoughts, behavior, attempts, and suicide
- LGBTQ youth report higher rates of bullying and substance abuse
- LGBTQ youth are at greater risk for homelessness
If a child at this stage feels unloved, unsupported, and unheard, how much do you bet these risks and behaviors increase?
It will not stand, people. Not as long as I have a roof over my head.
I’m going to need a bigger house.
Copyright for feature image: badboo / 123RF Stock Photo