Friday, January 19, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

LGBT community faces a special set of challenges

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month is celebrated every June in remembrance of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York's Greenwich Village neighborhood. The Stonewall riots are often known as a turning point for the LGBT movement in the United States. Since then, there have been state and federal efforts to increase equality and safety for the LGBT community. However, the community still faces many obstacles.

FINDING SAME-SEX PREMARITAL COUNSELING CAN BE A CHALLENGE

My partner and I are getting married this year and would like to receive premarital counseling. We're having some difficulty finding anyone who has the necessary curriculum for gay couples. Do you have any advice? We're feeling a little outcasted in our search for resources.

Up until 2013, marriage was not a federal right for gay couples. The Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996 and in effect until 2013, stated same-sex marriages would not be recognized on a federal level, but every state could pass its own laws regarding the issue. In 2003, Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex marriage. It wasn't until 2015 that Florida began issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Because of this, services such as premarital counseling for same-sex couples are lacking.

While opposite-sex marriages and same-sex marriages face many of the same challenges, same-sex couples often face the added challenge of lacking familial or social support. A curriculum specifically designed to incorporate a discussion about such challenges is beneficial in same-sex premarital counseling. Premarital counseling is offered by a variety of people and organizations. Therapists often provide same-sex premarital counseling services as part of their practice. You may also be able to find workshops or community programs that use a same-sex premarital counseling curriculum. There are several churches that offer premarital counseling services to same-sex couples as well. Equality Florida (eqfl.org) has compiled a list of resources that may help in your search for therapists or churches. The Unitarian Universalist Church of St. Petersburg and King of Peace Metropolitan Community Church in St. Petersburg are known for offering a multitude of services to the LGBTQ community. The Unitarian Universalist Church has developed a same-sex premarital guide and has posted it on its website (bit.ly/2sqVCQh).

The LGBT movement has come far in the past several decades. Try not to feel discouraged; rather, make your needs known in the community so more services can be established.

PARENTS STRUGGLE WITH TEENAGE SON'S REVELATION

My 16-year-old son just came out to us as gay. His father and I are both very religious and are having some trouble aligning our beliefs about our religion with our beliefs about supporting our son. Can you help?

The Human Rights Campaign has gathered statistics on LGBT youths in America. Among the findings: LGBT youths who are "out" to their parents are more likely to report being happy than youths who are not out to their parents. The HRC also found that 92 percent of LGBT youths hear negative messages about their sexual-gender orientation. The top sources for these negative messages are school, the internet and peers. Further, 26 percent of LGBT youths say their biggest life problems are not feeling accepted by their family, being bullied at school and being fearful of being open about their orientation. When we compare this to non-LGBT youths, we see a big difference. Twenty-two percent of non-LGBT youths say their biggest life problems relate to classes, exams and grades. Last, 42 percent of LGBT youths say the community in which they live is not accepting of LGBT individuals.

For the reasons cited above, it is crucial you support your son regardless of your personal beliefs. Parental support is a huge protective factor for any teen, especially teens who lack social support. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) reported that teens who do not have familial acceptance are 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide and 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression compared with peers from families reporting no or low levels of familial rejection.

Your child's sexual orientation is not an attack on your beliefs. You son has likely known about his sexual orientation for several years. In my experiences as a therapist, teens and young adults generally come out to their parents last for fear of rejection.

There are many online resources to get you thorough this challenging time for your family. Further, PFLAG has support groups for families in the Tampa Bay area (pflag.org). There are also several local gender-sex therapists who will conduct family sessions with LGBTQ youths and their families to aid with communication.

Dr. Katie Schubert has master's and doctorate degrees in sociology and gender studies from the University of Florida and a master's degree in clinical mental health counseling from Adams State University in Colorado. She completed her postgraduate studies at Florida Postgraduate Sex Therapy Training Institute and is a certified sex therapist, providing therapy to individuals, couples and families on issues related to sexuality, sex and gender in St. Petersburg. She also is a professor of sociology at the University of Tampa. Contact her at drkatieschubert.com.

Comments
2018 Children’s Gasparilla Parade: Guide and insider tips

2018 Children’s Gasparilla Parade: Guide and insider tips

On Saturday, the kids get first crack at the booty from the pirates at the Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza, the annual alcohol-free party on Bayshore Boulevard. To kick off the season of Jose Gaspar, the fictitious marauder whose legend has...
Published: 01/18/18
You can buy the balls from Amalieís Beach Tampa exhibit at auction

You can buy the balls from Amalieís Beach Tampa exhibit at auction

More than 100,000 people showed up at Amalie Arena in 2016 to frolic in a huge ball pit. It was a sea of 1.2 million white orbs so vast that grown men could belly flop and remain afloat. Almost two years after the Beach Tampa packed up, some 15,000 l...
Published: 01/18/18

Tell Me About It: FaceTime offense lands sister on the outs

FaceTime offense lands sister on the outsQ: When does FaceTime become an intrusion?My sister-in-law recently relocated to our area. We invited her to join us for our traditionally quiet New Yearís Eve celebration. About two hours before midnight, she...
Published: 01/18/18

Tell Me About It: Cousinís husband pursues young sisters

Cousinís husband pursues young sisters Q: I just found out that my nieceís husband has made inappropriate comments/propositions to both of my daughters, one still a minor (17). I have to tell my niece, right? I donít want to hurt her.Broken HeartA: Y...
Published: 01/18/18
Plan your weekend Jan. 19-21: Gasparilla Children’s Parade, Jake Owen, Riverdance, Florida Orchestra’s Dvorak

Plan your weekend Jan. 19-21: Gasparilla Children’s Parade, Jake Owen, Riverdance, Florida Orchestra’s Dvorak

Plan your weekend † Gasparilla Children’s Parade: A week before the more raucous pirate invasion, the G-rated version hits the streets. The Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza and Parade kicks off Gasparilla season with a bicycle safety...
Published: 01/17/18
Top things to do this week: Steve Martin and Martin Short, Gasparilla Childrenís Parade

Top things to do this week: Steve Martin and Martin Short, Gasparilla Childrenís Parade

PICKING AND GRINNING: Steve Martin and Martin ShortThere wasnít a lot of bluegrass being played around Hamilton, Ontario, when Martin Short was a kid. But his decades-long friendship with Steve Martin has made him a fan, which brings An Evening With ...
Published: 01/17/18

Tell Me About It: Mom needs reassurance of their gratitude

Mom needs reassurance of their gratitudeQ: Whenever my mother gives me or my family member a gift, she ends up asking about it several times afterward. Does not matter if it was $5 or expensive.We always thank her for gifts, and these comments feel l...
Published: 01/16/18

Tell Me About It: Sister-in-lawís gall is of epic proportions

Sister-in-lawís gall is of epic proportionsQ: Iím a two-time, currently-Stage IV breast cancer survivor. When I was told I needed a double mastectomy, I did the research and decided to "go flat."For dressy occasions, I wear prostheses, but theyíre no...
Published: 01/16/18

Tell Me About It: Pregnancy makes move harder to bear

Pregnancy makes move harder to bearIím 27 weeks pregnant and just moved to a new city for a great job, but I think I made a big mistake. I loved my old life and feel so homesick for it. But my husband and I bought a house, so moving is not a feasible...
Published: 01/15/18

Tell Me About It: Mom is floored by daughterís pregnancy

Mom is floored by daughterís pregnancyQ: Iím literally shaking as I type this. My 15-year-old daughter is pregnant. I canít believe it. We had many good discussions about waiting until she was ready, using birth control when she was, but it all did n...
Published: 01/14/18