Parenting with Pride :: Community in Houston for Parents of LGBTQ+ Kids

Navigating the coming out process as a parent of an LGBTQ+ child {or adult child} can feel lonely and isolating. You’re trying to respect your kid’s process and timeline while holding space for your own adjustment to their coming out. You’re simultaneously relieved that your child has trusted you with this part of their identity and terrified by how much you don’t know. You may be wrestling with feelings of grief, shock, shame and anxiety that can feel like a contradiction to the unconditional love you have always felt for your child. If you’re struggling to find affirming support for yourself and your family, you are not alone. 

Support for Parents of LGBTQIA+ Kids

PFLAG

PFLAG is an international organization whose mission is to provide support, information and resources to LGBTQ+ people, their parents, friends and families. They have over 400 local chapters, with several in the Greater Houston area including Beaumont, Brenham, Houston, Pearland, Clear Lake, Katy and Montgomery.

Open Hearts

Open Hearts is a meeting of LGBTQ+ people and their parents, family & friends hosted by St. Peter’s United Methodist Church in Katy. The group is faith based, affirming and inclusive.

Mama Bears

Mama Bears is an online platform founded by Liz Dyer to build community among parents of LGBTQ+ kids and families. The Mama Bears website helps connect parents of LGBTQ+ kids to each other through various private Facebook groups, special projects and other websites. The Serendipitydodah main group has over 25,000 members. Some of the subgroups include a group for parents of transgender kids, a group for parents of LGBTQ+ kids with an autism spectrum disorder and a group for parents of LGBTQ+ kids who want to dive deeper into their faith in an affirming community. {Fun fact:: a fan letter from the Mama Bears was featured in the behind the scenes post production episode of Schitt’s Creek}

Free Mom Hugs

Free Mom Hugs is an organization founded by Sara Cunningham whose mission is to empower the world to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community through visibility, education, conversation and hugs! You can find out more about events happening locally or how to get involved in Texas through the Free Mom Hugs Texas Facebook page. This interview between Jen Hatmaker and Sara Cunningham is certainly worth a listen if you’d like to learn more about the story of how Free Mom Hugs came to be.

Affirming LGBTQIA+ Faith Communities Exist

Affirming faith communities will not try to “pray the gay away” and do not engage in any kind of reparative or conversion therapy to try and change the gender identity or sexual orientation of the LGBGTQ+ individual. Psychological and medical professional organizations including the National Organization of Social Workers, The American Academy of Pediatricians, the American Counseling Association condemn the use of “conversion therapy” as unethical, harmful and scientifically unsound.    

Families have faced heartbreaking choices between supporting and accepting their LGBTQ+ kid and continuing to belong to their church. Unfortunately, all too often, LGBGTQ+ kids and their parents are condemned or cast out of their faith communities all together. Families are left feeling alone, isolated and abandoned during a time when they most need support.

All hope is not lost. Affirming LGBTQIA+ faith communities offer opportunities to build relationships with other parents and families who may share similar experiences, values and beliefs, while affording families ways to navigate spiritual shifts that might arise in the midst of navigating a child’s coming out. The Human Rights Campaign website offers a list of various faith based organizations that might be useful in your search.

Resources Specifically for Parents of Transgender & Gender Diverse Kids

The Movement Advancement Project offers a comprehensive list of resources and information for parents of transgender and gender diverse kids. Parents can learn more about what it means to be transgender or gender diverse and how they can best support their child in ways that can help them succeed and thrive.

The MTK subgroup of the Serendipitydodah Facebook page is an excellent resource for parents of transgender and gender diverse kids.

Gender Infinity is a Houston based organization that hosts an annual conference, provides resources, information and support for transgender and gender diverse people and their families.

Coming out as an LGBTQIA+ person and as a parent of an LGBTQIA+ child, comes with some very real risks. Families may face discrimination and rejection in their extended families, friend groups, schools, workplaces and churches. Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are 5 times as likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. Transgender youth are 40% more likely than their cisgender peers to attempt suicide. Finding safe, affirming and inclusive faith communities, doctors, mental health providers, support groups, schools and friends can literally be lifesaving for LGBTQIA+ kids. In affirming spaces you will find families navigating similar circumstances who are flourishing. You will find examples of resilience, validation, information and encouragement that can help ensure you continue to be the safe, supportive and affirming parent your kid needs. 


 

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Anne has spent most of her life living in Katy, Texas or finding her way back to it. After several years in Houston, Anne, her husband, two daughters and their dog migrated back to Katy. Years spent trying to juggle full time motherhood and full time community mental health jobs led Anne to open her own counseling practice. Anne Russey Counseling provides online therapy for moms, anxious adults and LGBTQ+ people throughout Texas. Anne is at her best as a mom when she is on the go {with or without her kids} and would take a dentist appointment over imaginary play any day. Anne is learning to accept she will never get it all done and to embrace the joy she finds in reheated cups of coffee while her kids play independently for a few precious moments. You can find Anne’s thoughts, usually related to mental health, on her blog.

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