Lesbian and Transgendered daughters experience high rates of family estrangement, cut-off, and mass shunning by their families because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.To be rejected for who you are at the core of your being is devastating and shocking. Many families say they reject their lesbian or trans daughters because it is “God’s Will” and that in Judaism-Christianity-Islam these people are hated–but isn’t the God of these religions a God of LOVE? Every human being is created in the image of the Divine, just as it says in the Torah, Bible, and Quran. In Native American cultures, and in ancient Greek and Roman cultures, lesbian, gay and transgendered people were, and still are, honored and recognized, even as deities!
Here is a website about Native American Lesbians/Trans/Two-Spirits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-spirit
And a website about Greek History of Lesbianism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_lesbianism
Many families submit to the power of social expectations and conditioning that condemns lesbian and trans daughters over responsibility and love for their offspring. Framing love as such a failing state is painful. We all want to believe in unfailing, unfaltering love from our parents—isn’t that what being human is all about? Engaging this question is what shatters daughters who are shunned because the answer is “No.” Parents can take the lower ground and abandon the duty—and joy—of loving their children and go to the dark side of cultural conditioning when the issue of gender identity and sexual orientation are present. It is important to note that parents of lesbian, gay and trans children have complex and difficult processes to negotiate in cultures that condemn these identities, and human beings do not always act in ethical ways. However, over time and with reflection, many parents do NOT come around and eventually embrace the children they rejected. Upon further reflection, they do not capitulate and love. To the contrary, they continue to reject and harm, consciously choosing social conformity and submitting to cultural expectations over love for their child—even doing so to their own profound grief. I am so sorry to add this and wish it was not true; however, you CAN have a loving family, it may simply not happen with your biological kin. Remember, you are not alone in this. Thousands of daughters have been rejected by their families–we heal, and so can you!
The organization PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), indicate that “between 25% and 50% of homeless youth are LGBT and on the streets because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” There is estimated by The Center for American Progress that 320,000 to 400,000 gay American youth are homeless. In February 2011, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) released the largest ever survey of transgender and genderqueer people called Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. In this survey it is undeniable that LGBTQ youth experience family shunning at incredibly high rates.
This painful betrayal by one’s biological family, the people who are supposed to offer us unconditional love, can be devastating. There are many websites that offer support and one of them is: www.pridenet.com/support.
Books that may be helpful:
- Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences by Sarah Schulman
- Mom, Dad. I’m Gay: How Families Negotiate Coming Out by Ritch C. Savin-Williams.
- GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens by Kelly Heugel.
- Sinister Wisdom: A Multicultural Lesbian Literary and Art Journal. http://www.sinisterwisdom.org/
My lesbian and transgendered sisters, please remember that you are not going through this alone. We are here. We care. We accept and honor you just as you are! You are going to make it! Reach out for support in safe communities; there are loving people there waiting to support you and keep in touch. Love always, Sedna XOXOX