Raise Vegan August 2018 - Page 37

About LindseyPembrooke The first interview of Lindsey’s I ever read, discussed and explained what it means to be transgender or non-binary in such a comfortable and straight-forward way that I knew we had to find a way to feature them in Raise Vegan. All the questions that I’m sure a lot of people have, but are too are afraid to ask, for fear of sounding uneducated, or worse, bigoted, could finally be answered. We, at Raise Vegan, knew that if anyone could explain to parents how to support, love and accept their kids unconditionally, especially when going through an uncertain time in their lives, it was Lindsey. How To Support Hi Lindsey, thank you so much for taking time out of your very busy schedule to work with us for the next few months at Raise Vegan. We appreciate your willingness to help parents understand what it means to be LGBTQ+ and to educate them on how to create a loving environment for their LGBTQ+ children. So, let’s just get right into it. One situation that confuses parents a lot is when their child has previ- ously had partners of the opposite sex but then comes out, for example, “My son told me he was gay, but he’s always had girlfriends - it doesn’t make sense.” You spoke before about kids learning about themselves, and always evolving. What they may have said to their parents regarding their sexuality is not a guarantee that their preference won’t change. Is there a way you can prepare parents for those difficult conversations? Do you have any tips on how to be mindful and to support your child in the moment, but to also be prepared for life to continue to evolve as your child learns about who they are. I.e. ‘trying something else, roll with the differences’ and expectations? LP: It is nice when you can finally come out to someone. There is a lot of trust in this, especially if a person does this early on. They may not have the words or understand it all themselves, but they understand enough to know SOMETHING is there. And they are trusting you and confiding in you. One of the hardest things for an LGBTQ+ person to deal with in this situation is this assumption that gets made that the person has 100% awareness of everything about themselves and can articulate that to parents when asked. That they have a game plan and a target they are aiming at. In the case of a transgender person, this assumption can also include some idea that the individual has a hatred of their body and that it will inevitably end with a medical transition. Check your assumptions at the door. Helping Them Feel Safe & Loved What do you suggest for parents if they feel overwhelmed about being able to support their children? Often times the kids themselves aren’t sure what kind of support they need, so how can parents help them to feel safe and loved? LP: The main thing a parent can provide, is a safe space for their child to be able to question, grow, and figure it out. A lot of this is like a trip to an optometrist. “Can you see better with this lens, or with this one?”. Rinse and repeat. Your child may not always know the right answer, but they can feel the wrong ones along the way. It’s ok for them to try something and find out it doesn’t resonate. People grow up and try to do what they think is expected of them, to conform to a society that will get approval from their parents and peers. Guys date girls, girls date guys. And for some people they go from unfulfilling rela tionship to unful- filling relationship; drugs, alcohol, and other high risk behavior may be part of the equation. Just because someone has dated a member of the opposite sex does not mean they would not rather be dating a member of the same sex, the same way that because someone dates a member of the same sex doesn’t necessarily hold true either, that they would not date someone outside of that definition. Some people are bi-sexual with an attrac- tion to more than one sex. If a bi-sexual woman dates a man, it does not mean that she is no longer attracted to women. Some people treat a bi-sexual person that is dat- ing a person of the opposite sex as if they are heteroosexual, and “cured”. It makes them feel like their identity is erased when that happens. A bi-sexual person dating the opposite sex is still bi-sexual and that is a critical thing for parents to remember. Let them be who they are. Don’t try to pretend they are someone else that you’d rather they be just because their current circumstances may support the narrative. “Be in your kids corner. How do you expect people to support them if you don’t?” RAISEVEGAN.COM Raise Vegan 37