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Creating a Culture of Belonging for LGBTQ Loved Ones

Speaker: Meghan Decker

May 5, 2022

Supporting and Celebrating Diversity in Family and Community

Many of us have an LGBTQ child, sibling, other relative or friend. We may struggle to know how to love and accept them when their actions conflict with our own values. Yet rejection puts them at a high risk for many negative outcomes and is at odds with our highest and noblest instincts. I discuss how we can create a culture of belonging for our LGBTQ loved ones in our neighborhoods, our schools, our faith communities, and most importantly, our families. 

LGBTQ individuals have always existed, but for many years their identity was marginalized and hidden from society. As society progresses, more and more people are coming out and identifying as LGBTQ. However, even with progress being made, individuals who identify as LGBTQ still face challenges in acceptance and belonging in their families and communities.

As parents, siblings, relatives, and friends of LGBTQ individuals, it can be difficult to navigate the situation when their actions conflict with our own values. The struggle to balance love and acceptance with personal beliefs can create tension and leave us feeling confused and uncertain about how to approach the situation. However, it is important to realize that rejecting our LGBTQ loved ones puts them at risk for negative outcomes and is not in line with our highest values and instincts as human beings.

Creating a culture of belonging is crucial in supporting and accepting our LGBTQ loved ones. This culture of belonging must begin in our neighborhoods, schools, faith communities, and most importantly, our families. One way to create a culture of belonging is to educate ourselves and others about LGBTQ identities and issues. This can involve reading books, attending workshops, and engaging in open and honest conversations with our loved ones.

We can also work towards creating safer spaces for LGBTQ individuals in our communities. This can involve advocating for LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices in schools and faith communities, supporting local LGBTQ organizations, and attending LGBTQ events and rallies.

In our families, we can work towards creating a safe and supportive environment for our LGBTQ loved ones. This can involve listening to them, affirming their identity, and offering support in their journey. It is important to realize that this journey can be difficult and that our support is crucial to their well-being.

It is also important to realize that creating a culture of belonging is an ongoing process. It requires us to constantly challenge our own biases and beliefs, and to be willing to learn and grow alongside our LGBTQ loved ones. By creating a culture of belonging, we can help our LGBTQ loved ones thrive and reach their full potential in all areas of their lives.

In conclusion, creating a culture of belonging for our LGBTQ loved ones is crucial in supporting their well-being and acceptance. It requires us to educate ourselves, advocate for inclusive policies and practices in our communities, and create a safe and supportive environment for our loved ones. By doing so, we can create a world where all individuals feel accepted, loved, and valued for who they are.

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