Safe Space

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.

Okay then.

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
  • (Source)

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

9 thoughts on “Safe Space

  1. If your daughter’s friends came out to her in confidence, should you really be blogging about it? What if they read this blog or their parents do and ask around to figure it out? What gain did you have by posting this?

    1. They are also out to their families. I have shown myself to be an ally to these children, and maybe I’ve given the parents food for thought.

  2. A lot of our older daughter’s peers are experiencing the same reactions from their families. I’m also at a loss to understand.

    1. I am not going to try to understand the parents. I’m just not. I’m simply letting these children know that they can come to me, no questions asked.

  3. My 7th grade son has a friend who feels like he should be a she and is REALLY confused. We have repeatedly let him(her?) know that he(she?) is welcome at our house at any time no questions asked. Same goes for ANY of the kids’ friends. Or acquaintances. We are fortunately that despite going to a Catholic school, we live in Seattle which is fairly progressive, though there are still plenty of conservative and “backward” ideologies perpetuated in our neighborhood and community. I have actively stood up for marriage equality to the Knights of Columbus here and at a national level, but that’s only a SMALL part of what needs to be happening. The notion that sexuality is a choice is absurd. If you can’t love your child because they are different from you then you really don’t have love in your heart.

    1. If you know a therapist that specializes in gender issues, you should refer your child’s friend. It’s a very confusing and vulnerable time, and having a professional to talk to can be helpful. I think gay youth just need more acceptance (rather than counseling), some place they don’t need to be on guard, some place they know they are safe.

      Anyone who hides behind religion to act in a non-loving way is doing religion wrong.

Leave a Reply