Finding support in a small town.

Q:

I would like some information on how I can start a support group for LGBT parents and children. There seems to be a major lack of support where we live. We are in a little town and we do not have many resources that we can turn to. That is very sad to me. I would love to see my community get more involved and offer more to the gay community.

A:

While COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere) and Family Pride Coalition have local groups all over the country, there are many, many communities where no such group exists. That’s where you come in.

First, contact Family Pride Coalition to find out if a group already exists. Even if one does, it might not fit your needs, for example there might be a discussion group for single lesbian mothers, but not a group for dads wanting to meet others who have adopted trans-nationally. Sometimes groups include children (i.e. playgroups), sometimes they don’t (adult support groups or political advocacy).

Keep in mind that even if a LGBT family group does include children, your children might not want to participate. That is perfectly normal, so don’t force them to attend. They will get involved when they are ready. Just continue to remind them — gently — that the opportunity is there if and when they are interested. (And then suppress your urge to blurt out, “I told you so” if they finally go to their first gathering and end up loving it.)

If a group does not exist in your area, Family Pride Coalition has a Step by Step guide to starting one. If you are unable or unwilling to boldly start something up right away, at the very least you could list your town and email address on the Family Pride Coalition website. That way you can find out if there would be others who are interested in sharing the responsibilities with you. (TIP: If privacy is an issue for you, go to a free email provider to get an anonymous email address that you would feel safe posting on the website.)

Starting a group might seem like a daunting task at the moment, but remember this: Every new GLBT family group started with someone posing the question, “Hey, how come we don’t have anything like that where we live?”

RELATED LINKS:

COLAGE chapters serve sons and daughters of LGBT parents.
Most chapters are coordinated by teens and young adults.
VIEW THE LIST.

Also: How to start a COLAGE group

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