PFLAG Broomfield is happy to announce the launch of our peer-to-peer support group program. We offer two groups: one for parents of LGBTQIA+ children of any age, and one for LGBTQIA+ youth under the age of 18 beginning in March of 2021.
WHAT ARE PEER-TO-PEER SUPPORT GROUPS?
Support groups are a gathering of people who come together to share common problems and experiences associated with a particular problem, condition, illness, or personal circumstance.
In a support group, people are able to talk with other folks who are like themselves – people who truly understand what they’re going through and can share the type of practical insights that can only come from firsthand experience.
SOME OF THE COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF SUPPORT GROUPS INCLUDE:
- They are made up of peers – people who are all directly affected by a particular issue, illness, or circumstance
- They usually have a professional or volunteer discussion leader or facilitator
- They tend to be fairly small in size, to better allow everyone a chance to talk
- Attendance is voluntary
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SUPPORT GROUPS?
Humans are social beings, and we draw a lot of strength from one another. When facing a difficult or confusing situation having people around us who understand and have experienced the same events can help us navigate the path, to learn and grow through our circumstances.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and other sexual and gender minority (LGBTQIA+) youth experience myriad health inequities relative to their heterosexual and cisgender peers.
LGBTQIA+ youth too often experience strained relationships with families due to stigma related to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. We want to prioritize healthier parent–child relationships to improve the health of LGBTQIA+ youth, and foster a more sturdy sense of community for young people figuring out who they are.
Studies have shown those LGBTQIA+ youth who do perceive strong support from their families tend to have better mental health and lower risk of substance abuse and (to a lesser extent) sexual risk behaviors. Furthermore, these positive effects are also seen in studies of transgender and gender minority youth specifically. The presence of parental support in the lives of LGBTQ youth indicates that parents and their children were resilient in the face of coming to terms with the teen’s LGBTQIA+ identity, which is often a significant stressor for both parents and teens.
Joining a support group when your fifteen-year-old comes out as gay and you are scared, or uncertain, or want to be supportive and aren’t sure how is one way of prioritizing your relationship with your child and ensuring they get what they need from you to be healthy, safe, and self-assured.
We also encourage parents who haven’t struggled with their child’s orientation or identity to join and provide insights and encouragement to their peers.
Check our Calendar and Facebook Events. Zoom Links will be published in the Calendar and Facebook Event One Week in advance.
(I would like to take a moment and thank two sources from whom I lifted and paraphrased entire paragraphs, because I don’t believe in reinventing the wheel. Both sources are excellent and deeply informative articles and I encourage you to read them in full.)