The Parents' Guide to LGBT History Month
LGBT History Month takes place in February each year to mark the history and celebrate the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ("LGBT") people. It's not just about the past, but also about the present and the future, providing an opportunity to educate ourselves and our children about the contributions LGBT individuals and communities make, and to challenge the stereotypes and discrimination that they often face by promoting equality and acceptance.
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Why LGBT month is relevant to teens
As parents, it's important to understand the value for teens in seeing LGBT role models who are open and proud about their identities. This can be a powerful tool, especially for those teenagers who may be uncertain about their own identities. Many teens feel self-conscious about expressing themselves if they feel this could conflict with parental expectations or societal norms. This might hold them back from exploring, developing and discovering their true self, leaving them feeling isolated and alone. Seeing positive role models can help them feel more optimistic about being accepted for who they are if they are LGBT and in helping to demonstrate acceptance and tolerance if they are not.
In the past, LGBT people have been marginalized and hidden from history. They were often denied basic rights and faced discrimination and persecution. Fortunately, society has come a long way and acknowledges this is not the way it should be, but discrimination still exists. Bullying and hate crimes occur regularly in the UK, the LGBT community experiences higher rates of anxiety and depression than the general population, and many religious groups do not acknowledge LGBT. Education is a vital way in helping us take steps to create a more inclusive and accepting society with equal opportunities for everyone.
What happens in LGBT history month?
LGBT History Month provide a platform for the voices and experiences of LGBT individuals and communities. There will be many events such as lectures, workshops, and performances across the UK. By participating in these, we'll all do our part to promote awareness and understanding, as well as offering an opportunity for dialogue and engagement. There will be events local to you and you can discover some here on the LGBT History month website.
Ways you can support your teen from home
As parents, you'll want to create a supportive environment for your teen to learn and grow. This includes enabling them to discuss things at home. Listening is key, especially if you find LGBT issues challenging, because it will allow your teen to express and explore their feelings in a safe environment with people that care about them. Here's some ideas on how you can get involved:
Have a conversation
Talking will help your teen gain a better understanding of the experiences and challenges faced by LGBT people, and encourages them to ask questions and express their thoughts and feelings. You don't need to know all the issues or have all the answers, but it's vital to approach these conversations with an open mind and a non-judgmental attitude.
Research some facts
There's no need to know everything, but it might help to get your own understanding of the issues LGBT communities face today. Stonewall is a great starting place with excellent resources.
Encourage your teen to attend an event - and join them if they're comfortable with it
This will demonstrate your acceptance and can help families to learn and grow together. Even if you don't go, they can talk to you about it afterwards.
Encouraging your children to respect and support their LGBT friends and classmates is an important step in promoting equality and acceptance. This includes teaching them to use inclusive language and to treat all people with respect and kindness, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Support them in speaking out against discrimination and prejudice if they witness it.
Help and more information
Protecting mental wellbeing
There are many things that can affect teenage mental wellbeing. You can’t stop your teen experiencing stress; however, you can help them develop systems to deal with it more effectively. Find out how in The Parents' Guide to Teenage anxiety and stress.