Poster for May 17th 2005 International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, presumed heterosexual

Straight by default

 

Shock

When a child enters the world, society presumes that they will grow up to be heterosexual and cisgendered. However, this will not be the case for one person out of ten.

The news may be a shock for parents. Such a reaction is normal for unsuspecting parents. They will need time to deal with this new reality.

Denial

Being in denial is a common reaction. Refusing to see the reality is a defense mechanism. Some parents react by not wanting to discuss the situation any further. However this will not bring anything good, and the child might feel ignored and unheard.

Acceptance

After some time, parents generally accept their child’s sexual orientation. From that point on, they have a new outlook on their child’s future. They might even bring their child’s partner into their family circle. This doesn’t mean it will always be easy to accept their child’s sexual orientation. Parents are not immune to society’s views or anti-gay attitudes. But the world is changing, and gay people can now marry and have kids in more than 20 countries.

Coming-out, a parent's perspective

“Mom, Dad, I’m gay.” “Mom, Dad, I’m a lesbian.” Aside from the odd doubt here and there, parents are rarely prepared for this type of eye-opener. It may be a shock for a mother or father regardless of how old their child is.

Parents of gay and lesbian children are fearful of reactions among their close contacts. What will grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends and colleagues think?

However, it’s important to keep in mind that love is the foundation of parents’ bonds with their children. Children remain the same person after their parents have discovered their child’s sexual orientation. Why should it be any other way?

Did you know ?

A study from the Quebec government in 2017 shows that although 87.3% of respondents would be comfortable with having a homosexual neighbor, only 73% would be comfortable with their child being gay, and 11% said they would be uncomfortable with it.

In the States,  a study from 2017 shows 30% of non-LGBT Americans would be uncomfortable to learn that a family member is LGBT.

 

Canada is at the forefront of countries that push for human rights; marriage for same-sex couples is one such example. From a perspective of legal equality, the gay and lesbian communities have turned towards social and humanitarian issues which will lead them to true equality. Among these issues is the problem of domestic violence as it pertains to gay and lesbian realities and people of other sexual diversity.

LGBT people are more at risk to suffer violence from their families 

Despite changing attitudes, LGBTQ+ people may still experience violence in their own families. Most often, it occurs when a boy is identified as gay, a girl is perceived as a lesbian, when a person reveals their gender identity, or when a parent reveals the orientation or identity of the child without their consent.

Family violence can take many forms, from psychological to physical violence :

​The most common psychological abuse, includes insinuations, insults, accusations, threats, unjustified punishments and injustices between the children themselves. Economic and financial violence results in blackmail and threats to cut fonds or food or even kicking out the child. Physical violence can go from beating to sequestering or imposing any other form of corporal punishment.

Parents need to be aware of the damage that can be caused by a climate of violence within the family.

The consequences of family violence are multiple: they influence the psychological development of children, they cause behavioral problems, sexual disorders and, in some cases, they leave physical consequences. For LGBTQ + youth, a climate of family violence can have particular consequences when the person is already in a state of fragility, for example when in the middle of a period of identity crisis related to sexual orientation or gender identity. In fact, many studies show that young homosexuals have a way higher suicide risk than young heterosexuals, and statistics are even darker for  trans youth.

 

Survey results

According to our survey, conducted in 2005:

 

  • The majority (85%) of those who say they know homosexuals in their immediate family accepted the situation rather easily.

  • Nearly two in five (39%) Canadians say they know gay people among their close friends.

  • Almost a quarter (24%) of Canadians surveyed think they have a more favorable perception of homosexuality than they did 5 years ago.

© 2018 by Fondation Émergence
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About us

Fondation Émergence's mission is to educate, inform and raise public awareness about the realities of people who belong to sexual and gender diversity. This includes, but is not limited to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex and 2-spirit people.

Contact us

Fondation Émergence inc.
C.P. 55510
Centre Maisonneuve
Montréal (Québec) H1W 0A1

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