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My Research Essay on Families Reactions to "Coming Out"



EssayChat / May 23, 2018

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When LGBT+ individuals come out to their families there are various reactions that are to be expected such as excitement, anger, acceptance, sadness, recognition, and support. We always hear about the bad family reactions where the person is kicked out of their home and family for expressing who they have always been inside. The objective of this paper is to prove that there is more positive feedback from families despite the countless stories of negative responses we hear about in the media. A survey was created for primary research, asking numerous questions, and for the secondary research, the internet was used to find out what kinds of statistics were recorded about the topic. Families in our modern era need to be educated about LGBT+ the differences between biological sex versus gender identity vs gender expression, sexual orientation and who they are as a person. Families should know that they haven't lost their child when they come out. Finally, families should be aware that yes it is a scary time for them, but their child is also scared and by coming out to you they are trusting you with everything.

LGBT Family ResearchFirst, despite what we are told, there are many differences between what society deems male/female and what it actually is for billions of individuals and their allies. Families need to be more thoroughly educated on the following terms; gender identity is a person's perception of themselves which doesn't always correspond with their birth sex. Biological sex is what the doctors assigned you at birth based on whether you have a penis or vagina. Gender expression is a way in which someone expresses their gender identity typically through clothes, appearance, and how they behave. Sexual orientation is related to the gender which a person is attracted to. There are many labels in the LGBT+ community, in fact, the full acronym for LGBT is LGBTQQIP2SAA. It stands for Lesbian (girls who like girls), Gay (boys who like boys), Bisexual (boys / girls who like boys/ girls), Transgender (someone who's perception of themselves doesn't match what they look like), Queer (gender or sexuality that is different from what is 'normal' and not necessarily labeled), Questioning (someone who educated themselves on these labels to see if they fit how they feel), Intersex (someone who is born with several variations in sex characteristics Ie. Chromosomes, gonads, hormones, and genitalia) Pansexual, 2 Spirit (someone who has a both masculine and feminine spirit), Asexual (someone who has no sexual feelings or associations), and Ally (someone who supports LGBT+ people).

Second, families who aren't as educated as they maybe should be, often feel that they are losing their LGBT+ child or friend and will sometimes blame themselves for their child turning out the way they did. The truth is, your child was always this way, its just now they understand what it means and are learning to express themselves. They are probably just as scared as you are since they've heard all the horror stories of parents kicking out their kid for being gay. They need your support and unconditional love because they know that there will be friends, family members and even educators that don't accept or agree with being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans. In an anonymous survey created to find primary research on the topic, there were 15 questions asked with 21 recipients from all over the world. Of these 12 the most important were as follows with the exact responses from the participants on the survey. The first question was, "When you first came out to your family, what was their immediate response?". There were four options to choose from and the majority of people chose the options where their families had a great response, they just didn't really understand and needed to be re-educated on the topic. Seven participants chose 'Other', or the remaining two bad reaction responses. The second question was, "Where are you from?".

Surprisingly, the survey got far even outside Canada's borders. There were participants from Newfoundland, Sudbury, the U.K., U.S.A, Brazil, and the Netherlands. The third question was, "What are reasons you think families aren't as accepting of the LGBT+ community.". This questions was an essay question so the participants had to write out what they thought. One participant said "i believe it comes down to ignorance, and the perception of lgbt+ identities as psychological problems and that they're 'bad' and 'wrong'. this can cause a feeling of shame and that the family has done something wrong to produce a child identifying as lgbt. this can then lead to intense prejudice that can be outwardly expressed in the actions mentioned.." and "Some people are homophobic and don't believe in the diversity this world has. They may be ashamed of their other family members knowing about it, etc." The fourth question was, "Who has been the most supportive of you?". Participants mostly chose the 'friends' option suggesting that for the majority of them, their friends were more accepting than their blood family which is another reason anthropologists and sociologists say that family isn't necessarily blood relations, it is those who accept you for who you are and are there when you need them.

The fifth question was, "Who were you more comfortable coming out to?". Some participants said that they were most comfortable coming out to their pets first before they came out to their friends or family. The sixth question was, "How do you identify?". This question of course received multiple different answers since the question was set up as a multiple choice so that people could more accurately select the gender identification and sexual orientation of their choice. Many participants said they identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer, transmasculine, FTM, and more. It proves how diverse and how many families are actually aware of the LGBT+ community. The seventh question was, "Have you or someone you know, had a bad reaction? If so, what?". The majority of the answers were positive, participants stating that for the most part, their families were very open and accepting to the idea of having a LGBT+ family member. Those who had a bad reaction responded with the following..

"My grandmother said to me that I don't deserve to be called Keith and said horrible sh*t too me ", "I work with younger children in my school who identify as lgbt+, and many of them have had their identity dismissed, belittled and invalidated by their family. particularly students who are transmasculine are misgendered, deadnamed and forced to wear dysphoria inducing clothes by their family. i also have a friend who's coming out has been received poorly on grounds of religion.", " Yes, it's sad because us people whom are part of the LGBTQ2A community are the same as everyone else in a way. We are still human beings and deserve to be treated the way heterosexual people are. I don't know why we are seen as animals and are told we should change. No one should change for being who they are. Love yourself, forever and always, no matter what happens. Ignore the haters.", and the final response to this question was "yes, one of my friends from high school got kicked out of her house when she came out to her parents. another friend i met recently was forced by his parents to stay closeted at his religious high school, resulting in him getting kicked out of multiple high schools because of secret relationships he had with his classmates; his parents also refuse to use his preferred name and pronouns." The eighth question was, "In your opinion, what makes a family in this day and age? The answers were essay questions and so the participants had to write them out. Some of the responses are as follows, "My family is the people who love me and have my back who I also love and have theirs. Nothing to do with blood.", "People who support and care for you and your interests and choose to love you unconditionally", and "People who love each other or can at least tolerate each other in the same household.".

Finally, It is important to remember that your LGBT+ family member was most likely terrified when they came out to you if they have. Some other things LGBT+ people want you to remember are "homosexuality is widely observable in nature. Over 1,500 species have shown some level of homosexual behavior - this includes all types of animals, including insects. If we can easily see these types of behaviors in other species, then it makes perfect sense that humans would exhibit the same. There is plenty of research on this subject on the internet.", "Someone's identity doesn't define who they are.", " Also like 99% of LGBT stuff doesn't affect anyone but the person who identifies that way so step off my business mate" and another response were "Hmmmmm, I'd say that people should be able to love whoever they want to love and be whoever they want to be without others judging them. Also, there's scientific proof that there are more than 2 genders and even if there wasn't, it ain't your business how people identify".

To conclude this fabulous essay, there is clearly more positive feedback from families towards their LGBT+ children, despite the countless stories of negative responses we hear about in the media and in other online outlets. It is imperative that families in our modern era are educated about LGBT+ topics, families should be aware that yes it is a scary time for us, but we are also going through this for ourselves, take a journey with us and we will be there for you as you are to us.

Resources:

(Student name), ~. "Anonymous Survey." SurveyPlanet | Survey App. This is a reliable source because I created the anonymous survey to gain answers from my fellow LGBT peers from around the world. It is reliable because they shared their personal experiences and told what THEY know.

Personal Facebook questions I asked the community of undergraduate and graduate students.


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