Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

As an integral part of National Bullying Prevention Month, tomorrow is Spirit Day.  Does your child's school have a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance),  partake in GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) sponsored activities? Will the students and faculty be wearing purple to show solidarity for LGBT youth and stand against bullying?

Too many students are bullied each day yet fail to tell their parents.  Many children will feel humiliated and ashamed and actually believe they are responsible for being victimized.  Advises psychiatrist Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D., co-author of When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know ( Sterling, 2016), " don't blame your child!"

It's important for a child to know that their home, school, community will want to protect him.  Emphasize that bullying shouldn't be tolerated.  He is entitled to an education in a safe environment.

Here are clues so you can recognize the signs of bullying:


  • Sudden resistance to go to school.
  • A decrease in making social plans after school or on the weekends.
  • Feigning illness to avoid school and other events.
  • Recurrent damage to or loss of property or clothes.
  • Has the child had some mood changes?
  • Does your child seem depressed, less communicative, not hungry or eating all the time?
  • Is he withdrawing from family activities or general interests he loves?
  • Is the child becoming insecure showing a low self-esteem and worthlessness?
If you witness any of these troubling signs, notify the schoolteacher, guidance counselor,  and principal. If your child is being cyberbullied, then not only let the school know, but also the police.  Tell your child not to retaliate, make copies of all social media messages to present to the school and possibly court.  

Monday, October 9, 2017

Why Do We Have National Coming Out Day?



National Coming Out Day is an annual LGBTQ Awareness Day on October 11.  It actually started on 1987 with the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.  Observed in the U.S. and Switzerland as well as seven other countries, you may see participants wearing pink triangles or carrying rainbow flags.

Did you know that one out of every two Americans has someone close to them who is gay/lesbian, according to the Human Rights Campaign?  By breaking the silence of being in the closet and electing to come out, the LGBTQ community, in numbers, demonstrates to the world that they are not alone.  Once the straight community knows they have loved ones who are “gender queer,” they will be less likely to foster homophobic or oppressive views.

Although it would be ideal if everyone felt he could come out, it is never correct for a parent to push a child into coming out.  The child should come out when he is ready and when he does, parents should ask for permission to tell others.  It’s his story.

To be an ally during National Coming Out Day, you don’t have to march.  But at home, you might employ these subtle ways to make your LGBTQ child feel comfortable so that he may want to come out to you.  Or if he has come out, suggests Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D., co-author of When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know ( Sterling, 2016), make him feel as supported as his heterosexual brother/sister by:

Asking your child the same questions you ask your other children.  Specifically, don’t avoid the topic of dating and relationships.  Be sure to invite the significant other to family dinners or functions in the same way you would for a partner of a straight child.  From time to time, make a point of asking your child how his significant others are doing, what are new with them, and so forth.
Accept whatever your child tells you about his sexuality as hard fact and do not try and convince him that he must be either straight or gay.
The most important thing is to make it clear to your child that sexual orientation is only one part of who he is and that it has no bearing on your love for or acceptance of him.

For further tips, see http://www.hrc.org. The Human Rights Campaign has guides and resources such as A Resource Guide to Coming Out, Coming Out to Your Doctor, Coming Out at Work.