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How can I support my loved one?

Finding information like on this website is a great first step to supporting your loved one. You have shown that you are open to new information and hopefully are better informed. Every young person needs different things from their family. Some parents find that they are better able to understand and support their child by recognizing the similarities and differences in experiences. You can support your loved one by educating yourself and others around you as much as possible about sexuality, gender and diversity.

Young people realize that LGBTIQ people are condemned by society. Even before they reach the kindergarten playground, they learn negative words for LGBTIQ people. Young people generally assume that all the people they know are heterosexual; they have no idea that some of the respected adults around them are LGBTIQ. Many LGBTIQ young people feel isolated and like they are the only person that feels like this. Some are harassed or abused by peers, family members, school & agency personnel and others. Whether or not they are labeled by others young people often;

  • Fear being discovered and expect rejection;
  • Carefully guard their feelings to maintain acceptance (or merely to survive);
  • Have no opportunity openly to date each other or flirt or engage in sexual experimenting like other teens; and
  • Lack of accurate and relevant information about their feelings and experiences.

Feeling marginalize or stigmatized in society can lead to some young people becoming depressed or even suicidal. In fact, research indicates that same sex attracted and gender diverse young people experience far higher rates of suicidal ideation and attempts, as well as other mental health related issues. This is a direct result of feeling isolated, rejected, marginalized and stigmatized.

Education about LGBTIQ people is an important step in being able to support young people and to prevent and reduce suicide and mental health issues. Avenues need to be created to help young people develop positive self-esteem and skills to deal with a sometimes hostile and usually challenging environment. These young people need;

  • Supportive opportunities to socialize with one another;
  • Resources that specifically address their concerns; and
  • Sensitive, non-judgemental help as they come to understand themselves.

Freedom Centre aims to meet these needs in the following ways;

 

  • Our safe social space for young people to hang out, meet others with similar experiences to theirs, and feel OK being themselves;
  • We provide accurate and relevant information through our website, email, phone, courses, community information stalls, and at the drop-in centre to both young people and their families, friends and professionals that support them.
  • We provide referrals to other LGBTIQ-friendly support services.

Check out our Support section or contact us for more info.

Is it a sin?

For some families, this may be a difficult issue to face. For others it’s a non-issue. We each have our own religious or spiritual beliefs. Most religions and churches have members with a range of views and interpretations of their faith. A number of religious organizations support equal rights for LGBTIQ people, other don’t.

What about HIV/AIDS or other STIs (Sexually Transmissible Infections)

All people and communities face the threat of HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS is not a gay men’s disease. No virus is that smart! It is the activities that a person practices that place them at risk of contracting HIV or other STIs. Therefore, every person should be concerned about STIS, including HIV/AIDS – regardless of their sexuality, age or any other factors. Everyone should learn how STIs and HIV are transmitted and how they can protect themselves.

 

HIV is transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluids or breast milk. It can be transmitted by engaging in unsafe sex (without a condom and lubricant or other methods for safer sex), sharing needles, or from mother to child through breast milk or birth. Practicing safe sex and not sharing needles is the best way to protect ourselves from HIV and other blood-borne viruses.