A Focus on LGBTQ Youth of Color, Engaging Parents Project Seeks Participants

The Engaging Parents Project team. From left to right: Dr. Kerith Conron, Jonathan Reveil, and Dr. Toña Delmonico
Photo: Fenway Health
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The Engaging Parents Project team. From left to right: Dr. Kerith Conron, Jonathan Reveil, and Dr. Toña Delmonico  Photo: Fenway Health

The Engaging Parents Project team. From left to right: Dr. Kerith Conron, Jonathan Reveil, and Dr. Toña Delmonico
Photo: Fenway Health

By: Christine Nicco/TRT Reporter—

BOSTON, Mass.—The Fenway Institute recently announced the launching of its Engaging Parents Project, a new study that examines the varied experiences of parents of LGBTQ Youth of Color.

“LGBTQ YOC [Youth of Color] face racism, particularly at institutional and interpersonal levels, and this makes family support even more important for LGBTQ youth of color,” explained Dr. Kerith Conron, Research Scientist at the The Fenway Institute and team lead for Engaging Parents Project. “When parents are uncomfortable with their children being LGBT, or in unchartered territory, the whole family can end up feeling isolated and stressed. We believe that if parents have more opportunities and resources for support, it will benefit parents, youth, and the whole family.” [pullquote]“LGBTQ YOC [Youth of Color] face racism, particularly at institutional and interpersonal levels, and this makes family support even more important for LGBTQ youth of color,” explained Dr. Kerith Conron, Research Scientist at the The Fenway Institute and team lead for Engaging Parents Project.[/pullquote]

Continued community engagement is critical to the success of this study, Conron explained. Need and interest has already been established.

The Engaging Parents Project recently co-organized a community movie screening with over 30 young adults, children, and parents who gathered at Codman Square’s Black Box Theatre to view and discuss Amir Dixon’s film “These Are Our Children Too.” The film examines the experiences of five LGBT youths of color as they navigate issues of identity, invisibility, and acceptance, a Fenway Institute release read.

“One of my goals for the film was to start a dialogue with parents of color who have LGBTQ youth who also need support and a safe space,” Dixon said. “My hope is that with this group, parents can feel supported. For many of us who are queer, we come out to ourselves and with time, come out to our parents. Like my parents, they have a ton of questions and things they have to learn and this space is for that. I want parents to know they are not alone.”

“The goal of the Engaging Parents Project is to talk with parents about their feelings and experiences about parenting a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning youth of color,” the Fenway Institute’s release read. “The Project team is interested in talking with parents who are at all stages of acceptance—those that are comfortable, as well as those who are struggling with their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

If you are the parent or guardian of a youth of color between the ages of 13 and 17 and your child identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or uncertain about their sexual orientation or gender identity, you may be eligible for participation in this study. Parent or guardian participants will be compensated $50 for a one-hour confidential research interview. Interviews may be conducted in English or in Spanish. [pullquote]If you are the parent or guardian of a youth of color between the ages of 13 and 17 and your child identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or uncertain about their sexual orientation or gender identity, you may be eligible for participation in this study. Parent or guardian participants will be compensated $50 for a one-hour confidential research interview. Interviews may be conducted in English or in Spanish.[/pullquote]

“Hearing from parents who volunteer to be interviewed will help us create resources that are useful to parents and families in the broader community,” Conron said.

As for one youth’s advice to parents at Dixon’s screening, “Even if you don’t understand, just love us.”

The event was also co-organized by The Fenway Institute’s Stigma Subcommittee of Connect2Protect and was supported by ABCD, BAGLY, Boston Alliance for Community Health, Boston GLASS, Codman Square Health Center, Connected Boston, GLAD, HBGC, and PFLAG.

For more information about the Engaging Parents Project or to find out if you are eligible for participation, please call or text 617.804.5436 or email parent@fenwayhealth.org. Para español, llame o envíe un texto al: 857.400.9393.

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