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Welcome Parents!

 POP (Parents of Progress) Meetings
IYG's POP (Parents of Progress) POP provides education and support to adults in the lives of LGBTQ+ youth in order to create accepting households. It's an OPEN adults group. Simply, email Jasmine Clark to RSVP (RSVP preferred but  not required).


This month's meeting is Saturday, March 24th from 2-5 pm at IYG (3733 N Meridian Street). Contact Jasmine if you'd like to come! 


More Info:

IYG's Parent meetings are 3-hour group learning groups which occur once a month. In this group we discuss what it means to be a youth that identifies as LGBTQ+, provide STEP tools (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) to help parents and caregivers navigate difficult situations, and provide general tools and resources on how to be of most support to the LGBTQ+ youth in your life. 

One-on-One Support:
For parents and caregivers that have specific questions and concerns that they would like to discuss, IYG offers individual meetings and conversations to aid in support. Assistance is provided to parent and caregivers with crucial conversations, such as how to relay to family and friends that you have an LGBTQ+ child or family member. Any other issues pertinent to each family's individual situation and process is open for one-on-one discussion.

An alternative for parental support can be found through PFLAG. Their mission is to: 

  • Support for families, allies and people who are LGBTQ
  • Education for ourselves and others about the unique issues and challenges facing people who are LGBTQ
  • Advocacy in our communities to change attitudes and create policies and laws that achieve full equality for people who are LGBTQ

Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the nation's largest family and ally organization. Uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and full societal affirmation of LGBTQ people through its threefold mission of support, education, and advocacy.

Find out more about Indy PFLAG HERE.


General LGBTQ+ Knowledge

Here's a list of some frequently asked questions about the LGBTQ+ Community. This list will be updated regularly, and if there are any questions, additions, or concerns, feel free to contact Maxx Pyron or Jasmine Clark via our linked e-mails.
To find a specific question quickly, press Ctrl+F together in your browser. This will pull up an option to "find in document." Use keywords to find what you need!
We also have a list of terms that we regularly update here.

What does LGBTQ+ mean?
LGBTQ+ is an acronym that folks use to describe the community of non-heterosexual and non-cisgender people.

  • Each letter stands for a sexual orientation or identity. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (or questioning). The plus sign (+) symbolizes all the other folks that are part of this community not specifically mentioned in the letters. For example, pansexual folks are under the LGBTQ+ umbrella and are certainly part of the community, but "P" is not explicitly used in the acronym. This is partially for space, partially because the majority of folks fit into the first five letters, and partially because of the lack of acceptance towards other sexual orientations and identities.

Is "Queer" an offensive term?
Yes and no - it has a complex history.

  • For many years, "queer" was an insult towards LGBTQ+ folks, mostly targeted at non-straight men. However, people have started to reclaim this word for their own. It still has some negative connotations rooted in its history as a slur, but non-straight and non-cis people have begun using it to refer to themselves and their community. Many of these people feel that "queer" as a catchall is more inclusive than acronyms (LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQ+, QUILTBAG, etc.) because it doesn't use specific letters. Others feel that it is still a taboo and hateful word. The meaning depends on the person using the word and the context in which it is being used. It is okay to call someone queer if they have said this is what they prefer. Use whichever term they direct you to use.

With so many terms, what should I use around people?
What terms you use depends on the audience you're speaking to.

  • For example, an older LGBTQ+ audience is more likely to be uncomfortable with the term "queer," because it has not been reclaimed until recently. When these folks were youth queer was used as a slur, not a positive identifier. This may also be true for folks who aren't LGBTQ+ who may think queer is still an insult. In these cases, it would be best to avoid "queer." If you were speaking to a younger audience, you may have to explain certain words more often, or use simpler language. If you are speaking to a member of the LGBTQ+ community, they will likely already be aware of the words you are using. They may prefer a specific term, as well; perhaps they believe that LGBTQ+ isn't inclusive enough and prefer something else.

While most folks are fine with LGBTQ+, some alternatives are Gender and Sexual Minorities - GSM, or Diverse Sexualities and Genders - DSG.

  • The terms GSM and DSG are umbrella terms that encompasses non-heterosexual and non-cisgender people. GSM is often used in clinical settings, although it is becoming more popular in everyday use.

LGBTQ+ General Health

How does being LGBTQ+ affect my youth's health and wellness?
LGBTQ+ people face health disparities based on societal stigma.

  • Despite this, with the right support, resources, and health practices LGBTQ+ people can lead healthy lives.

LGBTQ+ people are more at risk for certain mental health and sexual health problems.

Is it true gay folks are more susceptible to STDs and HIV?
LGBTQ+ folks do generally have a higher risk for certain STDs.

  • While this is true, it should not be too alarming. Parents whose children come out as LGBTQ+ should learn, with their children, age appropriate safer sex practices. The more you know, the better protected you can be! This goes hand-in-hand with safety.

What about their mental health?
Being LGBTQ+ can affect a youth's mental health, as they are less often represented and accepted compared to straight folks.

  • One of the biggest contributing factors to a youth's mental health is whether or not they have parental support. All youth can benefit from a supportive home life, but LGBTQ+ youth may lack support outside of their home environment so it's more important. Offer them as much positive support as you can, even in small ways.

Although LGBTQ+ youth disproportionately experience mental illness, it is not because of them being LGBTQ+.

  • The reason for most LGBTQ+ youth experiencing mental illness is because of how others may treat them.

Reach out to support groups and professionals.

  • Sometimes all a youth will need is a strong support group in order to cope with whatever is going on. Sometimes, however, they'll need professional support. It's never too soon to start going to support groups or a professional. Professionals range from your primary care doctor, to social worker, to therapist or psychiatrist. Remember there are always various avenues you can explore!

Misconceptions and Myths

What do LGBTQ+ folks look like? Why do ____ act that way?
LGBTQ+ folks, just like straight and cisgender folks, come in all shapes and sizes. There is no one way to look or act LGBTQ+.

  • While there definitely is a larger "culture" that comes with many LGBTQ+ communities, there is no "look" or behavior that all LGBTQ+ folks share. LGBTQ+ people are not a cult being bound to a way of life. Rather, it's a community formed of people with things in common. Often, communities do adopt internal trends and behaviors, but this is not always the case. The stereotype of the feminine gay man or the masculine lesbian are just that - stereotypes. People who fit into these stereotypes do certainly exist, but not everyone does. LGBTQ+ people are as varied and diverse as they come!

Is being LGBTQ+ a choice? What causes someone to be LGBTQ+?
Being LGBTQ+ is not a choice.

  • While it isn't fully understood what causes someone to be LGBTQ+, studies have repeatedly shown that being LGBTQ+ is not a choice or "lifestyle."

There are more LGBTQ+ people now than there ever have been. Why is that?

The reality is there aren't more LGBTQ+ folks, but more people are "out" because society has evolved.

  • Society is ever changing. What was taboo fifty years ago may now be socially acceptable and vice versa. Especially with the evolution of language and sociopolitical climate, people have started to be more comfortable being out.

Language has evolved, as well.

  • Fifty years ago, there may not have been a term for the way someone feels. This language has helped many people articulate what it is they truly feel.

Ideas of gender, sex, and sexuality have changed and are largely cultural.

  • Gender, sex, and sexuality are all very personal. Often, they are influenced heavily by our culture. Western culture dictates two genders that correspond with our primary sex organs and one sexuality - heterosexuality. Other cultures may or may not share these ideas. Throughout history, there have been examples of cultures with different notions of what gender and sexuality ar. There are cultures where non-binary or third gender people are sacred, others where it is common for a woman to have a wife and a husband, and others where heterosexuality isn't the standard.

When a Child Comes Out to You

My child came out to me as LGBTQ+. What do I do?
First, do not center you or your feelings.

  • This can be difficult, but your child is likely having more difficulty coming out. Be sensitive to this by focusing on how they feel. Even if you and family are LGBTQ+ accepting and affirming, they may still be scared. They may feel unsure of their feelings, or they may not believe or know that you are LGBTQ+ friendly, they may have doubts, they may be afraid simply because of societal pressures. Maybe they aren't scared and are completely comfortable telling you, which is wonderful! Whatever the case, use this moment to reassure them that you love them, you're listening, and you will support them however you can.

Secondly, believe them.

  • Many parents make the assumption that LGBTQ+ identities are a phase. While they can be, most often they are not. It is best to err on the side of caution, in order to keep your child, and your relationship, safe.

Offer support.

  • If you are able, let them know that you are there to support them. Even if you do not understand their identity, be a safe source for them to vent or ask questions. Also be prepared to not know all the answers.

If you're struggling with acceptance, stop the conversation and do research.

  • You love your child no matter what, but sometimes it is hard to understand or accept things that you are not used to. If you are having a hard time coming to terms with their identity or what they are telling you, do some research! Nowadays, there are many resources online for LGBTQ+ youth and their parents. Be honest with your child that this is new to you and you need to step away from the conversation to learn more. But assure them that you will learn more about it and you are there to support and love them unconditionally.

I'm worried about their identity conflicting with my religion/culture/family dynamic/etc.

  • Do some research into this topic, as well.
  • There are many specifically based resources that can help parents better understand where their child fits into the dynamic of whatever systems you all come from. If you can't find enough answers online, start making connections with families in a similar situation. Folks from all kinds of backgrounds are LGBTQ+ and, in most cases, conflict within a system can be eased with education, research, and practice.

But this seems like it has come out of nowhere. What do I do?
While it might be new to you, it may have been ruminating in your child's mind for a long period of time.

  • They may have kept it secret to you for years, or they may not know how to approach the conversation at all. Remember, youth are often keenly aware of who they are and what they like from an early age. However, they may not develop the language to express their identities until later in life. Sometimes, it is a factor of personal safety. If they fear that family will kick them out if they come out, they may wait until they are on their own. This stress can be increased if there is already a rocky relationship in the home or family setting.

Again, trust your child about this. Believe them about this.
Remember, youth are also influenced by everything around them.

  • Because of society's bias towards straight and cisgender folks, youth often don't experiment outside of a heterosexual or cisgender lens until later in life.

I'm worried for their safety - what do I do?
Inform yourself and your youth.

  • It is true that being LGBTQ+ comes with risks. Like most marginalized communities, LGBTQ+ folks will face discrimination in its many forms. This doesn't mean that you or your youth need to live in fear, however! Being informed of current events, ways to protect yourself, and situational awareness can help keep your youth safer.

How do I approach sleepovers?
How you handle sleepovers is up to you!

  • Sleepover rules can get more complicated when it comes to youth who have come out as LGBTQ+. You may be questioning and changing up your parenting strategies, and that's okay. It is difficult to know what kind of boundaries to draw with any youth, let alone LGBTQ+ youth! Really it will depend on your unique situation. For example, if your youth is gay, you may want to limit the amount of same gender folks that sleep over. Ultimately, there isn't a one size fits all solution for everyone's situation.
  • Reach out to families like yours and ask them for advice.
  • If you are able, try reaching out to families in a similar situation and ask them what they've done! It never hurts to ask for outside advice.

What about sex? How do I talk to my child about sex and romantic relationships?
When a Child Comes Out as Homosexual

  • Refer back to our "When a Child Comes Out to You" section.

Is being homosexual natural?
Homosexuality is documented in hundreds of sexually reproducing species around the world.

  • It is more common than most folks realize, and is definitely natural animal behavior. Though no one is sure what "causes" homosexuality, there are many theories revolving around how homosexuality in animals is actually beneficial to the survival of a species!

What about their physical and sexual health?
When a Child Comes Out as Bisexual

  • Refer back to our "When a Child Comes Out to You" and "When a Child Comes Out as Homosexual" sections.

When a Child Comes Out as Trans

Refer back to our "When a Child Comes Out to You" section.

What does transgender mean?
Transgender (often shortened to trans) is an umbrella term used to describe all kinds of people who sit outside the gender binary.

  • It means someone whose gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. (Note that the term is not transgendered, as it's intentionally in the present tense and not the past tense.)

Ask your child specifically how they identify.

  • Transgender folks are all different, just like cisgender folks are! Some youth may feel like transitioning from a binary gender to another (a "traditional" feminine or masculine role). Some trans people are non-binary, meaning they do not feel they fit into traditionally feminine or masculine roles.

Ask them about their name and pronouns.

  • With transitioning, many people decide to change the name and pronouns they use. It may be difficult at first to start referring to your child as something different, but it does get easier over time.Think of names and pronouns as a gift. Gifts are usually enjoyed and used. Sometimes, however, a present just doesn't fit. It's not that it's a bad gift or that the recipient isn't thankful, but maybe they won't use it for whatever reason. Most people can think of something they've received that they did not like or could not use, right? Instead of keeping a present one doesn't like, they may return it, exchange it, or give it to someone else. This isn't meant to be malicious, it's just practical! A child changing their name isn't malicious either - think of it more as a gift exchange. Now, they're getting a "gift" that they will use - their new name and pronouns! Supporting them in this endeavour will only strengthen the trust between you and your child.

My child wants to transition. What do I do?
Transitioning is often the first thought in a trans child's mind. And, like most other things with youth, they want it right away! This may be alarming to a caregiver, but to youth it is the natural response. Note: while many trans youth do want to medically transition, some do not wish to. Some folks will socially transition only, or complete partial medical transition.

Pronouns 101
What are pronouns?
In the context of gender identity, pronouns are how we refer to individuals based on their gender.

  • Pronouns are a type of noun that substitute others, usually taking place of proper nouns like names. We use pronouns when we're referring to people. For example, he/him/his, she/her/hers/, they/them/theirs are all gendered pronouns we use to talk about people.

What pronouns do I use for people?
If you're uncertain of someone's pronouns, it is usually alright to use they/them/theirs until you're sure.

  • They pronouns are considered gender neutral and singular in this case.
  • Do not assume someone's gender, so always ask before using gendered language.
  • Use context clues from that person (how they refer to themselves, how their partner refers to them, how their good friends refer to them). It is safest to ask, however, as others may still misgender them intentionally, unintentionally, or if the individual is not out to everyone.

What are neo-pronouns?
Neo-pronouns are simply newer pronouns being introduced into our language.

  • The english language's only official gender neutral pronouns were singular they pronouns up until recently. Some folks have adopted and adapted new pronouns to fill this gap! Some examples of neo-pronouns are xe/xim/xis, zie/zir/zirs, Ey/em/eirs, ve/ver/vis. Even words like Mr. and Ms. have a gender neutral version, Mx.! If you are curious how to pronounce them, searching for the terms online will almost always find accurate pronunciations.