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Educating Your Parents on LGBTQ+ Issues

Educating Your Parents on LGBTQ+ Issues

Team Missy

Talking to parents about LGBTQ+ issues can be challenging, especially if they come from a generation where the language and understanding of these topics were different. Many older adults might not be familiar with current terms and pronouns or understand why they are important. Here’s why you should educate them to ensure that your parents can become informed allies…

Understanding the Generation Gap

It’s important to recognise that the social and cultural landscape has changed significantly over the years. Terms that are common today might have been unheard of or even misunderstood in your parents’ time. For instance, the word “queer” was often used as a slur but has been reclaimed by many in the LGBTQ+ community as an inclusive and empowering term. Understanding this context can help you approach the conversation with empathy.

Start With the Basics

Firstly, it’s essential to start with the basics. Many parents might not know what LGBTQ+ stands for. LGBTQ+ is an acronym that represents Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or Questioning), and others. The plus sign acknowledges the spectrum of gender identities and sexual orientations that exist beyond these categories.

We have a guide to LGBTQ+ terms all ready for you!

Explaining Pronouns

Pronouns are more than just words; they are a crucial part of someone’s identity. Explaining why people use pronouns such as “they/them” can help your parents understand the importance of respecting individuals’ identities. You might say, “Using someone’s correct pronouns shows that you respect their identity and helps create an inclusive environment.”

This may be particularly important to you is you have a friend with a different pronoun. Educating your parents in advance can help them and your friend out to avoid any embarrassment or upset.

The Importance of Being Informed

Even if your parents’ children are not part of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s still important for them to understand these terms and concepts. Informed parents can better support their friends, colleagues, and the broader community. Emphasising the value of empathy and respect can be a powerful motivator. You might explain, “Understanding these terms isn’t just about being politically correct; it’s about showing respect and kindness to everyone.”

Tips for Effective Communication

  • Be Patient and Compassionate: Remember that your parents are learning something new. Patience and understanding go a long way.
  • Use Resources: Share articles, videos, or books that explain LGBTQ+ concepts clearly. Sometimes hearing it from another source can be helpful.
  • Encourage Questions: Let them know it’s okay to ask questions. It’s a sign that they’re trying to understand.
  • Lead by Example: Use inclusive language in your conversations. This models the behaviour and terminology you want them to adopt.

Navigating Difficult Conversations

There might be moments when conversations become challenging. It’s important to stay calm and avoid getting defensive. Explain why certain terms or phrases might be hurtful and offer alternatives. Also have patience with them trying to navigate new terms or pronouns different to what they may have known up until now. As long as they come from a place or understanding and empathy, know that they are trying their best.

See Also

Don’t expect them to have everything right after one conversation. Give them time to make changes and encourage them to keep learning more about the LGBTQ+ community. As long as there’s no malice in it, sometimes you just have to laugh at Irish parents and the wild stuff that they come out with. I think the majority of us would say that our parents are sound and good people and that they would therefore have a lot of empathy and understanding for people in the LGBTQ+ community, but with all the new terminology sometimes they just don’t know, so give them time.

Educating your parents on LGBTQ+ terms and concepts is an important step towards fostering understanding and inclusivity. By approaching the conversation with empathy, patience, and clear information, you can help bridge the generational gap and ensure that your parents are informed and supportive allies. Even if their children aren’t part of the LGBTQ+ community, understanding these issues is crucial for creating a more accepting and inclusive world for everyone.

Every day is a school day in life, and isn’t it fun to get to be the one in the know and teach your parents something new?

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