What is Family Ties?
Family Ties if for the Families of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans people.It can be hard to know where to ask questions and where to turn to for support. Family Ties can support you with some of your questions and feelings: with
- A peer-led support group of Parents and family members with relatives that identify as LGBT
- Experienced volunteers who have had similar family experiences
- 1:1 Support available with volunteers and Family Support Worker
- Online Support with other members to talk in a safe way
Family members Coming Out
For any parent, it can be hard to hear your child say ‘I’m Gay or Trans or Lesbian’. At first you may be shocked or upset or worried. Remember; that’s OK.
You may be worried about your child, or relative, maybe afraid of what can happen to them, what other friends and family members will think, what the community will think. Remember; That’s OK.
It’s OK to be initially worried about your child or relative and it’s OK to be concerned about what other people will think.
Family Ties can support you to come to terms with and process some of your thoughts and feelings.
Things to remember when family members come out
- Your son, daughter, niece or nephew has not changed, they are the same person they were and have always been.
- It is not ‘A Phase’. They took a huge step of trust and faith in you and your ability to cope with this information. Before they told you they have probably been thinking about it themselves for months, sometimes years.
- It is not a choice — they are not choosing an ‘alternative lifestyle’. Your family member was born this way, and they’re maybe still coming to terms with this themselves.
- There is nothing that anyone does to cause it. People are born this way, and can spend months, sometimes years coming to terms with this part of their identity.
- There may still be grandchildren in your future. For many parents there is an initial concern that they will miss out on grandchildren. However there are many different types of families and many ways of having children.
- They need you, that’s why they told you. You provided them with enough love and trust that they could tell you and that you would be there for them.
Things to Do
- Talk to the person about what is going on with them; their thoughts and feelings, and it’s ok to talk about your own thoughts and feelings too. You might be surprised at the similar feelings that you both have.
- Remind the person that you still love and care for them. Sometimes people can feel vulnerable and need or want to be re-assured.
- Find someone to talk to in a safe way about how you feel, make sure it is someone who you fully trust and will not break the confidence you have put in them. You may feel confusion, angry, shame plus a whole range of other emotions; doing nothing will only make them worse. Talk to someone.
- Support your family member. They are also going through their own range of thoughts and feelings, they may have their own questions as well. You are stronger together and can support each other.
How to get involved with Family Ties
If you would like more information about Family Ties, or would like to join the group and have the opportunity to discuss some of your thoughts and feelings, please contact the Rainbow Project and ask to speak to Paul:
Tel: 02890 319030
“You need to talk to them, try and get to grips with it and advise them that you love them no matter what. You love them and are there to talk to”.
‘Kate’, Mother of Lesbian Daughter