Friday, December 30, 2016

New Year's Resolution: Accept Your Child's Sexual Orientation

Don’t Assume You Know Best!

If your child comes out, believe his/her/they.  Who would know better?  Don’t try to second guess them or try to convert them to heterosexuality.  These efforts fail, according to research.

In order to love them unconditionally, support them and their attempts to be true-to-themselves.

Suggestions for Accepting

If you have trouble accepting in the new year, you need to figure out why you consider having an LGBT child as a loss or disappointment. To solve the riddle and give you peace in the new year and always, the following supports will give you answers:

·      A gay-friendly therapist
·      A trusted, positive friend
·      A support group for straight parents of LGBT children PFLAG, with nationwide chapters.
·      An LGBT worker or friend who are out.

For more suggestions for resolution of individual issues such as denial, guilt, fear, anger, shame, loss, see

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Coming Out: Don’t Spring It On Your Relatives During Holidays

Chances are you may see your relatives on few occasions: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and possibly a milestone birthday.  You don’t want to upset the tone of the holidays by injecting a life-altering announcement that will either elicit a million questions or silence your guests who are unprepared for such news.
You don’t want to usurp and undermine the holiday with your coming out news or embarrass your relatives who thought your boyfriend was just a “friend” in the past. For both straight parents and LGBT children, you should come out on your own timetable when you can focus on each other, not when you are busy delumping the gravy, carving the turkey, opening gifts, answering phone calls, and tending to possibly small children. Most holiday traditions do not including coming out.
So when is a good time to come out? 
·      When the teller and the news recipient aren’t distracted.
·      When the announcement allows time for conversation afterwards.
·      When the parent and child are relaxed.
·      When it is a private conversation.
What Do You Gain By Telling?
Before coming out, an LGBT child should weigh the pros and cons. Before sharing the news, it’s helpful to review questions that you think your parents or loved one will bombard you with and prepare your responses.  Of course, you don’t owe answers to anyone.  Your parents may hug you and express unconditional love and support.
Or, they also could reject you, particularly if their religion forbids same-sex love. If you think you could be banished from your house, I wouldn’t tell them until you are financially independent. As most coming outs do not go well, they may try to guilt trip you or change your mind. Take this into consideration.
A straight parent should first obtain permission of his LGBT child before he divulges the information to relatives and friends.  It’s the child’s story.  Who in the family is homophobic? Who should know? Your child may want to be the messenger.
Your Child Came Out Already And You Handled It Badly.  Now, What?
If your child has already come out and you reacted badly, there are ways to ameliorate the tension between you.  The Family Acceptance Project gives guidance to parents who have common issues that prevent them from loving their child unconditionally.
In our book When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need to Know ( Sterling, 2016) within The Doctor Is In section written by co-author Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D., there are suggestions for improving the dialogue between you and your child so you both can understand your expectations that you now have to alter.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

World AIDS Day has almost Come and Gone, but HIV and AIDS Linger.

What Is World AIDS Day?
Started in 1988, WORLD AIDS Day was the first global health day. We remember what was considered a plague  (AIDS) back then and how it took the lives of 100,000 + New Yorkers alone. It’s a day to acknowledge our progress in HIV prevention and treatment around the world and renew our commitment annually on December 1st to a future free of HIV.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has projected that goal by 2020,
WORLD AIDS DAY is a time for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and show support for people living with HIV. The theme of this year’s World Aids Day is Leadership, Commitment, Impact.  This campaign asks leaders to strengthen their commitment to using evidence-based HIV interventions, prevention tools and testing efforts to help stop HIV. 
Know the Facts About HIV:
·      According to the Centers for Disease and Control, gay and bisexual men continue to be the most affected population, accounting for 2/3 of new diagnosis.
·      More than 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV.
·      Globally, an estimated 36.7 million persons are living with HIV/AIDS. 
·      Each year more than 1 million people become newly infected by HIV.
·      Gay and bisexual men continue to be the most affected population, accounting for 2/3 of new diagnoses.
·      With the recent heroin epidemic in the United States, unless syringes come from a sterile source and aren’t shared, the HIV cases will rise.
Goals for UNAIDS ’90-90-90’ Program
·      Targets 90% of people living with HIV to know their status.
·      90% of those diagnosed to start and stay on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and
·       90% of those on ART to have a suppressed viral load to protect their own health and prevent transmission of HIV.
·      The United Nations wants to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
·      The UNAIDS Prevention Gap Report shows that worldwide an estimated 1.9 million adults have become infected with HIV annually for at least five years.
·      Make new drugs like PrEP, a pill that when taken prophylactically can prevent HIV infection, less expensive and more readily available.
“No One Should Die Of Ignorance” – Elizabeth Taylor, AIDS Crusader
HIV doesn’t discriminate across race, gender, and age. END THE STIGMA.
As a parent, you should know the following and communicate the information to your children:

·      If your children are sexually active, have them tested once a year for HIV. It’s easy, free, fast and confidential and should be part of his health routine.  
·      They should know about how to prevent transmission (i.e. safe sex) and their HIV stat.
·      For more Information on WORLD AIDS Day and features such as plug-ins for finding a testing site, please see http://www.cdc.gove/features/worldaidsday/.