A: In a time when many things feel scary and fraught, getting a letter about how to be more supportive and a better advocate for your son is a balm for my weary soul. It wasn’t too long ago that I was getting letters from parents asking how to “handle” their LGBTQ+ tweens and teens. You have recognized that your son doesn’t need to be handled or controlled; he simply needs to be believed, accepted and loved. And given that you were surprised by his news, your note is even more encouraging.
There’s no doubt your son’s future will be filled with questions and heartbreak (whose isn’t?), but your role is to stay on his side. You cannot sidestep pain or worry, and you cannot guarantee that his journey will be filled with ease, but by staying present and being supportive, you ensure that home is an emotionally and physically safe place for your son. People can withstand a great deal of heartache and adversity if home is a safe place to land, and this is especially true for gay youth.