While we are watching the arguments in CA debating whether or not adult LGBTQ folks should have the right to marry, I’ve been thinking a lot about parental acceptance and familial romantic expectations. As someone who predominantly dates men, I am not fighting with my parents about my sexual orientation, but I am constantly fighting with my mom about the race of the guys that I am dating. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on me to not only get married, but to marry someone that is in the right ethnic, religious, desirable socio-economic group. The pressure has forced me in many cases to hide who I am and sometimes I have trouble feeling secure in my romantic relationships, since I know in the back of my head, my mom won’t approve.
Irrelevant of your sexuality, young people need their parents support and encouragement in being who they are. This is strikingly true for LGBTQ youth who may or may not be experiencing bullying. Imagine how much easier bullying would be to deal with if you know your family has your back?
A recent study found that family acceptance of your sexual orientation leads to less chance of depression or suicidal thoughts. Via CNN.
Family acceptance of LGBT youth predicts positive outcomes in mental health, self esteem, and overall health status, finds a study in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing. And nonheterosexual young people are more likely to receive punishments in a school or criminal justice setting, says a study in Pediatrics.
Based on interviews with self-identified LGBT young adults, researchers found that family acceptance seems to protect against suicidal thoughts and behaviors, as well as depression and substance abuse. The study comes from the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University, which aims to increase support among families with LGBT children.
Homophobia that is learned and perpetuated at home often causes and compounds bullying in school. I say parents should just be supportive of their kids period, because it is important for all youth to feel loved and supported in who they are. That reduces the number of young people that suffer shame and depression for who they are and also decreases bullying since often the cause of bullying is feelings of lack of acceptance. This is doubly true for queer youth who are experiencing homophobic violence at school.
Related: Turns out LGBTQ youth are more likely to be punished by authorities then their straight counterparts. More reason for them to have familiar support and acceptance when needed.