Parents find supportive ways to navigate their kids' queer identities

Parents share how they are creating a safe space amid a rise in anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ legislation.

ByDominick Proto and Becky Worley ABCNews logo
Monday, June 5, 2023
How parents are navigating kids' new queer identities
ABC News' Becky Worley speaks to parents on how they are creating a safe space for their children to navigate their identities amid a rise in anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ legislation.

For some parents, when your child comes out to you, it can be scary -- both from recent controversies and the historical treatment of gay kids in past decades.

"I think that's the fear for us as parents, my child is going to be alone," one parent told "Good Morning America."

At The Harker School, a K-12 school, in San Jose, California, the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Club hosted students and parents to gather and speak in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender communities, as well as queer and questioning communities.

WATCH: Teens share joys, challenges of growing up transgender | Our America: Who I'm Meant To Be

ABC News' Gio Benitez sat down with six Transgender teenagers and young adults to show they're just like anyone else.

One student said it's about acceptance.

"With just the amount of acceptance we have in young people, there's not really as much of a stigma around being queer and open about it," said Rosemary, a student in the Bay Area.

In many parts of the country, it's not as hard as it used to be for kids to be different and some are finding acceptance, saying that being from a queer community is "much more normalized" than before.

"I find myself looking forward to going to school. So, that kind of is just putting a pep in my step for getting to that point in my life," said Taylor, a student in the Bay Area.

Harvard professor Shafia Zaloom said the legalization of gay marriage and the creation of online communities for the LGBTQ+ population means kids are not as isolated as they used to be.

"There is that negativity that does exist. And at the same time, there are also a lot of different spaces in which kids are affirmed, said Zaloom. "This idea of sexuality is fluid is more normalized, and really a part of sort of the social landscape that kids are navigating, where kids can actually seek out and find acceptance in different communities."

However, in light of protests against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation as well as other controversies, like the participation of trans kids in sports leagues, there's still progress that needs to be made.

"It's a battle with progress, we're getting recognized more, but we're also getting persecuted more. So, it's a mix of both," said Ryan, a student in the Bay Area.

Despite the ongoing battle, there is still a need to emphasize the importance of visibility and acceptance. Ryan's school district had organized a Pride prom where queer kids from different schools gathered for their own dance.

"And it was one of the best nights of my life when I went, it was so fun," said Ryan.

Some parents who are already on the journey with their kids said it's not as scary as it was when they started out.

"Now it's just, I've kind of changed my ways of seeing our kids, both of our kids, and it's more like as long as they're happy. We're happy," said Jose, a parent in the Bay Area.