He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. NLT 2 Corinthings 1:4
Support Group for Families Of LGBTQ
How can a support group help our family?
- You are not alone. I grew up as, and continue to be, a conservative Christian. When I was in college, my big brother came out to our family. Our family had many talks, one on one, and as a group about how to apply our beliefs to our situation. My brother and my family never experienced a period of extreme conflict and have maintained a fairly close relationship throughout the years.
- Here, you can talk about your feelings in a safe environment. That’s difficult to find anywhere and having a group where that could occur is a treasure. You may not have that experience of a group of people talking about the importance of the relationship and how to walk that through. In fact, both professionally and personally, I have found few places of support.
- The group listens, shares their stories but does not tell you what to do. There are no experts on your family outside your family. But hearing the magic words, “I relate” changes so much about how we react to things. Another source of magic comes from listening to stories of someone further along the road offering hope, perspective, or a deeper understanding. Sharing those stories becomes a way to redeem those intense feelings and experiences.
Who can come?
Anyone over 18 who is willing to keep private things private, listen with grace and understanding, and share their story when they are comfortable. As many of our members will be persons of faith, the members must be comfortable with talk of religious matters. However, there is no requirement for world view or faith.
Where and When and How much?
Our support group starts and will run as long as 3 members come. At present, we are beginning to take referrals and will begin once a group forms. All groups will be held at Acorn Counseling Education Services’ kitchen to encourage a family atmosphere. And there will be food because you can’t do support without it. the cost is $20 a session which will be 90 minutes.
Why is this needed?
LGBTQ children comprise 46% of the homeless population*. The Durso/Gates study published in 2012 showed that service providers for these homeless children indicated 7 in 10 clients had experienced rejection by their family and 54% experienced abuse in their family. The National Alliance on Mental Health states “LGBTQ youth are 4 times more likely and questioning youth are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide, experience suicidal thoughts or engage in self-harm than straight people. Between 38-65% of transgender individuals experience suicidal ideation.”** Regardless of worldview, these children are important to our families and to our communities at large. Strengthening and maintaining connections within the family provide these children with the protection, guidance and support they need.
However, for many families, revealing issues with an LGBTQ family member can stress their support networks and challenge beliefs. Things that used to be outside the family or theory get up close and personal. For a socially conservative family, situations like this challenge world views throughout generations, and cause conflict between people, beliefs and actions. Finding support in religious communities can be challenging or at least uncertain in how the family will be supported or not.
I’m interested but need more information
Great! Because of the delicacy of this issue, I want to provide ways for professionals and prospective members to ask questions. For prospective members of the support group, email me at [email protected]. For Professionals to find out more information, sign up here. There will be video conferences available for professionals with questions. All members must complete an intake appointment to determine fit.
Christy Graham, LPCS and president of Acorn has been providing quality christian evidence based services in Denton County since 2001. Working with a large number of children and families, she has learned there are many different ways to do family life.