A Practitioner's Resource Guide

Helping Families to Support Their LGBT Children

A guide for practitioners to help families and caregivers decrease risks and increase well-being for LGBT children.

The Issue:

More and more young people are “coming out” or identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGBT) during adolescence rather than later in life. Access to information about sexual orientation and LGBT resources available through the internet have contributed to this trend since the early 1990s. Parents, families and caregivers play a major role—negative or positive, depending on their acceptance or rejection of a child’s identity—in an LGBT youth’s development and well-being.

The consequences of family rejection can be troubling. LGBT children have a higher rate of health risks than do LGBT children whose families expressed little or no rejection. Those health risks can include engaging in unprotected sex, depression, suicide attempts, and substance abuse.

Key Recommendations

  • Engage families and caregivers by meeting them “where they are” in relation to their acceptance of the LGBT youth.
  • Allow parents and caregivers to express their fears and anxieties about their LGBT child.

  • Give families respectful, nonjudgmental language to talk about sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • Educate families about the serious health risks related to rejecting their LGBT child, and the positive effects of supportive and accepting behavior.

Conclusion: 

The guide presents best practices, as well as additional resource and educational materials for practitioners and families of LGBT young people from the Family Acceptance Project.