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As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach us, one group of students heads home with less enthusiasm than many of their peers. With only ⅓ of queer people finding their homes to be safe places to be open, it isn’t much of a surprise that many queer students end up closeted for the holidays (While queer was historically a slur, it has become a reclaimed term used by LGBTQ+ people as a simpler term to refer to themselves). This issue can leave them feeling alone, isolated, and trapped, with parents not even realizing the stress their child could be under.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Having a single supportive adult in their life can reduce a queer person’s risk of suicide by 40%. Making sure your child knows they’re safe to come out to you can improve their mental well-being. That said, LGBTQ+ concepts can get complicated. The good news is some organizations specialize in helping parents and allies understand and work through everything about their possibly queer child. One is PFLAG, or Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. You can find local chapters to meet up with or read through their wealth of information. And then, if your child seems to know about queer topics, you can ask them! Just remember to be empathetic and open to learning and avoid questions that might be a bit too uncomfortable (This article has great advice, but think of it this way: Would you want to talk to your parents about details on your sex life or your gender? You probably wouldn’t, and your child may not want to talk about those topics with you). But everyone usually appreciates when others try to understand them.
Missouri S&T Student Well-Being
WellBeing@mst.edu | wellbeing.mst.edu
Author of Article: Skylar Hays. Please Note: Missouri S&T does not endorse or have a relationship with SOURCE and articles are provided for information purposes only. Missouri S&T and SOURCE do not assume responsibility for error or omission in materials.