Parenting Article about LGBT ChildrenPosted: September 25, 2011
Early in my search for resources for caregivers of young children I found this article “Could Your Child Be Gay?” published on the Parents website. I think it’s a good start, especially if parents aren’t queer-identified themselves or aren’t in touch with members of the LGBT community. Thank goodness such articles are becoming available from more mainstream venues.
Author Stephanie Dolgroff writes:
But bear in mind that kids as young as 9 begin to have crushes and perhaps physical feelings directed at other people, says Erika Pluhar, Ph.D., a sex therapist and educator in Atlanta. (There’s a wide range, but children usually start to figure out whom they are attracted to between the ages of 9 and 12.) So for some parents, it’s not too soon to start considering the possibility — and making the effort to understand what kids are thinking and feeling now can make a huge difference when they’re older.
Indeed, new research in the journal Pediatrics suggests that gay, lesbian, and bisexual young adults from very rejecting families (as opposed to families who were neutral or mildly rejecting) are nearly six times more likely to have major depression and three to five times more likely to use illegal drugs or have unprotected sex. In other words, even if you’re not exactly doing a tap dance about the fact that your kid may be LGBT, finding a way to accept your child and love her goes a long way toward keeping her safe later on. Right — later. Hopefully much later. In the meantime, it can’t hurt to get informed.
It’s wonderful they acknowledge that people begin to understand their own desires and identity in childhood . . . and it’s completely natural. No one freaks out when a six year old girl thinks a six year old boy in her class is cute. I certainly slipped a Do you like me? Check box Yes or No note across the table in fourth grade.
And I’m glad she made it clear what the stakes are – deny your kid, reject them, demean who they are and you are likely to end up with one less child. These are very real, very serious stakes.