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Breaking the Legacy of Silence #34 For Parents, Family, and Friends of LGBTQ/Non-binary/Gender Fluid Individuals: Part 2 How to Effectively Support Your Loved One When They Are Facing Community Social, Political, Economical, and Religious Biases | Column | Kim D. Bailey

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Last week I talked about how, as a mother of two female to male transgender sons, that I have some experience in how to best approach and support your loved ones who are going through any process involving LGBTQ/NB/GF.

To reiterate, most of us are aware of either heterosexual or homosexual manifestations, such as straight, gay, or lesbian.

Some of us are aware there are other manifestations.

There are individuals, like myself, who are bisexual or pansexual. Or we are some unquantifiable degree of homosexual and heterosexual.

Bisexual identifying individuals are attracted to male and female, while pan sexual individuals are attracted to any and all forms of sexuality and gender identities.

There are Non-binary individuals, who do not identify with either male or female, gay or straight. This is also called gender fluid.

It doesn’t matter.

What matters is this: that we love and accept one another and give each other room to be ourselves, to benefit from all life has to offer, equality in school, work, and love, and freedom to just be.

School and work can be tough venues for such a tall order. We are taught to live within society’s acceptable parameters. Girls and boys clothing, bathrooms, activities, nuances, and behavior must match the gender, right?

What happens when your daughter goes to school dressed like a boy, has a girlfriend, plays sports, is master of the debate team, and uses the same bathroom as the other boys?

Our political and social climate is rife with anger and discrimination about this scenario. It can be a scary thing to give our kids, family, or friends room to be themselves in such a harsh climate.

We must do it anyway. We must also be willing to fight for them, when it’s difficult and frightening.

Our goal is to show the world how love is done. Love isn’t conditional. If we love our family and friends, we must be willing to support their voice and expression, protect them, and fight for them.

Easier said than done, right?

Still, we must do what we can. Here are some ways to support, protect, and fight for our loved ones:

 

  1. Refuse to allow our fears to silence our voice in support of them. Our fears are our own issue. We have to deal with that separately. Loving our LGBTQ/NB/GF family and friends requires we put our self-motivation aside for their well-being.
  2. Become knowledgeable of laws surrounding the LGBTQ issues and be willing to fight to have them changed until equality is universal in school, work, marriage, finances, health, and raising children. Knowledge is power.
  3. Finally, on the subject of religion, here’s the thing. If one were to look at all the major religions of this world, there is one similar thread: our relationships.

It’s in our relationship to God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Adonai, The Holy Spirit, Wisdom,  Great Spirit, Mother Creation, or a Higher Power. Some agnostics or atheists may have their own views and names. That’s okay. The point is, it’s the relationship with such a power, others, and ourselves that bears out our legacy. If our relationships aren’t healthy, nothing else can be. So, we must start there. Whether it’s in church, synagogue, temple, a mosque, a sweat lodge, a vision quest, or meditation—we reach others by reaching the essence of our being. That essence is love. Even in the Christian Bible, the Torah, the Quran—all Word comes down to the relationships we have, not self-righteousness.

Love continues to be the recurring theme.

So, go love. Even those you may consider unworthy of love.

Look for Part 3 next week.

Thanks to Diana Brown for the idea of this column series, her support, and wisdom.

Also, thank you, Shan Spradlin, for your loving support and insight, your wordsmith ways, and for helping me to express my passion in a tender way.


img_4953Kim D. Bailey, a Pushcart Prize Nominee, writes Women’s Fiction, short stories, poetry, non-fiction, and a weekly column for FIVE:2:ONE. She is currently writing a third novel. She’s published in several online literary journals and print magazines. Kim lives in her hometown of Chattanooga, TN.  To connect follow at www.kimbaileydeal.net and on Twitter @kimbaileydeal