LGBT+ CAMDEN Change is coming, but some families still need a little help

'We were getting a steady stream of parents with lesbian, gay or bisexual children, but in the last two or three years it seems to be more with trans children'

Monday, 14th February — By Isabelle Stanley

pics2022feb3 Image 2022-02-04 at 00.18.42

Families Together at Pride in 2019

A GROUP which helps parents of LGBT children come to terms with their children’s sexuality has spoken about the different challenges facing families.

Families Together has supported hundreds of families across London in the 20 years they’ve been operating and currently has between 150 and 200 members.

Parents find the group because they want to support their children but are struggling to know how often because of their own traditional views or religious backgrounds.

Group volunteer and mother of two LGBT children, Jackie B, who did not want us to publish her full name, said her job is to help parents process the news and properly support their child.

Jackie said there is a process that many parents go through when they find out their child is LGBT: “Very often when a child comes out to you they have been dealing with it for a length of time on their own, so there’s a terrible sense of guilt that parents feel – they feel so bad that the child has been shouldering it on their own.

“Then it’s the adjustment to having a child who won’t be following the traditional path.”

The group runs a helpline as well as meetings online and in person where parents can share their concerns with no fear of judgment.

Jackie said: “The relief is tangible when they know they’ve hit upon a group that understands, that has had difficult times but has come out the other side.”

Many of the parents who get in contact are grappling with their religion, Jackie said: “The overwhelming thing for the parents that come is that they all love their children and if they have to make a choice between their children or their faith, all of them chose their children and they have to make their faith work around it by finding an accepting church or by leaving it behind.”

In recent years, Jackie has noticed a shift in the type of caller the group gets.

“We were getting a steady stream of parents with lesbian, gay or bisexual children, but in the last two or three years it seems to be more with trans children,” she added.

“The children are getting younger as well, a lot of parents now have children who are younger coming out.”

Her work has left Jackie with a great sense of hope, she said: “I think the children who are in primary school now are when the big change will be.

“That generation are going to be so used to having friends who have parents who are same sex or coming out very young and it’s all going to be much more accepting.”

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