NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – On Monday, May 21, the LGBT Coalition of Western Massachusetts will be holding a special workshop for those parents and families who may be struggling to accept their LGBTQ youth. This event, entitled “Loving Your Gay Teen,” is provided free of charge, and will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the OutNow Center, 32 Hampden Street in Springfield. Pizza and childcare, as well as a Spanish language interpreter, will be provided courtesy of Baystate Health.
“For many teens, the most difficult process is coming out to their family,” states Executive Director Suzanne Seymour. “While they may be ‘out’ at school, it becomes much harder to make that transition at home. Their family may not accept them, and many teens risk losing their home during this time.” According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 50% of LGBT teens experienced a negative reaction from their parents when they came out. 26% of these teens were also kicked out of their homes. “By providing this workshop, we hope to enable a dialogue between children and their parents, even if it means simply leaving the event’s flyer on the table.”
As part of the LGBT Coalition’s youth initiative program, events are held around what youth expressed having a need and desire to see. Springfield area high schools reported that they wanted an event specifically speaking to their parents about the unique issues that they face.
The program for the evening will focus on providing a safe and supportive area for parents to voice their concerns, as well as helpful information regarding the health, safety, and physical well-being of LGBT youth. LGBT Coalition, OutNow, and PFLAG (Parents, Friends, and Families of Lesbians and Gays) members will share personal stories to show parents that they are not alone. There will also be a question and answer segment, in which attendees have a chance to ask any questions that may be specific to their situation. Take-home resources will also be provided by PFLAG, available in both English and Spanish.
“As this is a personal and sensitive issue, we recognize that initially not all parents may be able to accept their LGBTQ teenager with open and loving arms. However, our workshop is designed to show parents that their teen is still the same person, and that it is imperative to love and support them,” said Emily Scagel, LGBT Coalition Board Member.
This event is sponsored by Baystate Health, OutNow, PFLAG, AIDS Foundation of Western Mass, and The Rainbow Times.
For more information about upcoming programs, please visit www.lgbtcoalitionwma.org or call (413) 588-1018.