Parents, guardians, and caregivers are an important part of a child or youth’s life.
When young folks have questions about gender or sexuality, they are often looking for support. As a parent, a child coming out to you as queer and/or trans can be daunting and new. Our first recommendation is to connect your youth with our services: http://qmunity.ca/get-support/youth/. We offer two weekly drop-ins for LGBTQ/2S youth aged 14 to 25 as well as fun special events and one on one support.
We’ve put together some FAQs that may be useful to you and your family:
- What do I do if my child comes out as LGBTQ/2S?
There are many ways to respond to your child/dependant coming out as identifying within the LGBTQ/2S community that affirm and validate their feelings and challenges. We are happy to help parents and guardians through this process, alongside their youth.
We welcome emails ([email protected]), phone calls (604 684-5307 ext 108) and in-person conversations with caregivers who may be facing barriers in communicating with their youth. This is the best way that we can give you advice specific to your situation and engage in a confidential discussion about supporting your child/children.
We have also pulled together a selection of resources and links that provide support for a variety of experiences (see bottom of page). The following are particularly useful for parents, guardians and caregivers with queer, transgender, gender non-conforming and/or questioning youth:
- Ask the Expert: Is my child transgender?
- When your child comes out as transgender: a Q&A
- So your child is non-binary: a guide for parents
- 6 ways to support your non-binary child
- When your child comes out: 6 pieces of advice from a queer teen
- 7 practical ways straight parents can support their queer children
- Raising queer kids
- What does my child do at QMUNITY youth drop in?
First and foremost, they have lots of fun. The youth drop in (sometimes referred to as Gab) is a time for youth to come together and meet others like themselves or attend as an ally to the LGBTQ/2S community. Our activities include board games, art nights, swimming, workshops, food making sessions and beach hangouts. Two youth workers are always present to facilitate the sessions and make sure all participants feel welcome and supported. There are also 1-3 volunteers at each drop in who are available to provide one on one check-ins, referrals and general support. We also provide some snacks and make sure to accommodate for a variety of dietary needs.
- Will my child be safe attending QMUNITY youth drop in?
Yes, we take many measure to ensure that the youth drop in is a safe space. Participation in the space is caveated by an acceptance of the community guidelines that were created by the youth and youth workers. These guidelines include respecting consent and boundaries, not using racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic or ableist language and ensuring that the space is free from any forms of violence, harassment and bullying. The youth space and drop-ins are also alcohol- and drug-free spaces, meaning that substances cannot be used before or during accessing the space. Finally, we provide bus tickets to make sure that the youth can get home afterwards.
- Will my child be safe attending big QMUNITY events like Queer Prom?
Yes, we take all of the same measures as listed above to ensure that our bigger events are safe. The events are organized and facilitated by the youth workers, QMUNITY staff and around 20 volunteers with criminal record checks. We take good security and harm reduction measures at our events to ensure the safety of all participants. Our events are places for youth to feel validated and empowered within who they are.
We’ve also pulled together some resources that might be of use to parents whose children use the youth services at QMUNITY.
- Connect Parent Group: CONNECT is an evidence-based 10-week manualized group program for parents and alternate caregivers of pre-teens and teens who struggle with significant behaviour problems and mental health issues.
- PFLAG Canada: PFLAG connects people with networks in their communities that provide education, peer support and community building.
- Trans Youth Family Allies: A wide range of resources for young people, for educators, and for healthcare professionals.
- Genderspectrum: Gender Spectrum helps to create gender sensitive and inclusive environment for all children and teens.
- Lead with Love: Lead with Love is a 35-minute documentary created to help answer that question. The goal is to provide comfort, information, and guidance for parents who have recently learned that their son or daughter is lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
- Human Rights Campaign: Transgender Children & Youth: Understanding the Basics
Other organizations that provide support LGBTQ/2S youth and their parents:
Vancouver & Lower Mainland
All Ways – A drop in for youth to explore gender, identity and acceptance.
Out in Schools – Out in Schools is a program that recognizes that media is a powerful tool for social change, as well as a marvelous teaching aid.
Transgender Health Information Program – a BC-wide information hub providing information about gender affirming care and supports.
Urban Native Youth Association – Metro Vancouver’s only Native youth program-providing organization.
YouthCO – YouthCO is a youth-led HIV and Hep C organization that seeks to reduce stigma related to HIV and Hep C throughout BC through peer education and support.
CampOUT! – a summer camp for queer and trans youth from across BC and the Yukon.
Camp fYrefly – a camp for LGBTQ+ youth from across Canada.
Egale – an organization advancing human rights for LGBTQ/2S people.
The 519 – an organization committed to the health, happiness and full participation of the LGBTQ community in Toronto.
Camp Aranu’tiq – a camp for transgender and gender variant youth and their families.