PANTHEON 2004 – DETAIL (THE COMPLETE WORK COMPRISES 40 8-INCH HIGH FORMS).
EARTHENWARE WI TH TERRA SIGILLATA SLIPS.
COLLECTION OF RAPHAEL YU
PHOTO BY MARC HUTCHINSON
IF YOUR CHILD COMES OUT TO YOU,
HE OR SHE HAS ALREADY SPENT
A GREAT DEAL OF TIME GETTING HERE.
AS EDMONTON WRITER CYNTHIA DUSSEAULT
REPORTS, YOUR VOYAGE TOGETHER IS
Even if you’ve had a hunch that
your child is lesbian, gay, bisexual or
transgender (the collective term we’ll
use here is LGBT), everything changes
when he or she comes out to you.
It helps to have some understanding
of what you can expect, and how you
can support your child through what
could be a challenging period in your
“The most important reason children
sexual orientation or gender identity
come out to parents is they want to have
a more authentic, open, honest relation-
ship with the most significant people
in their lives,” says Dr. Gene Flessati,
a clinical psychologist with Alberta
Health Services. “It’s a gift that they’ve
told you, as hard as that might be to
accept in the short term.”
Just how hard varies. Jane Oxenbury,
a Calgary-based registered psychologist
in private practice, says many parents go
through emotions similar to the stages
of grief—denial, anger, bargaining,
depression and acceptance—identified
in the 1960s by well-known psychiatrist
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Some parents may
get stuck at a certain stage and never
progress further, Oxenbury explains.
Others may reach the acceptance stage,
but can be thrown back into anger
or depression because of a particular
incident. Parents’ responses are influenced
in many ways: their understanding of
sexual orientation and gender identity,
prior association with other LGBTs
(i.e., family members or friends) and
religious beliefs are some of them.
When it comes to religion, while
some churches and faith groups neither
support nor tolerate LGBT individuals,
others have subsidiary organizations
that promote the inclusion and partici-
pation of all individuals and all sexual
orientations and gender identities.
Within the Catholic Church, for example,
is “Dignity Canada;” the Anglican Church
has “Integrity Canada.” Many other
religious groups and individuals are
making an effort to examine the religious
tenets that are their foundations, and
some have made significant strides in
accepting LGBT individuals.