We as lesbians, gay men and trans people know from our own experience the difficulties, confusions and pain that may accompany the process of facing and dealing with our identities. This is further compounded by the difficulties of dealing with the Church and its hostility. But we are not the only ones who find the process difficult – so do our parents and families.
Once they have come around to an understanding of us, parents can be our staunchest allies. In the various debates around gay marriage, there have been many valuable and articulate voices raised by parents who have insisted that they want to see their gay sons and daughters able to access the same rights and respect, from Church and from state, that their straight children receive. The challenge to us is, how do we help them to reach that place of acceptance and understanding in the first place?
Fortunate Families is one organisation specifically addressing the needs of Catholic parents of gay or lesbian children. Their current newsletter has a report on a listening service that strikes me as worth promoting:
From its January 28 2009 launch through December 31, the Fortunate Families Listening Parents Network (LPN) enabled 61 Catholic parents of LGBT daughters and sons needing “someone to talk to” to reach the listening ear and experienced wisdom of a Listening Parent. That’s the good news! The bad news is that there are many more Catholic parents who need “someone to talk to” but haven’t yet heard the news about the LPN. How can we reach these parents?”.
The newsletter explains that they need volunteers to distribute their brochures – to pastors, to school and family counsellors, in parish pamphlet racks, school information tables, and libraries. To learn more about how you can help them with this valuable outreach project, have a look at their newsletter.
From their Website:
Grounded in Catholic tradition, Fortunate Families ministers primarily with Catholic parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender daughters and sons—but welcomes families of all faiths. When parents explore and value their personal stories, they are empowered to share that story with their family circle, their faith community and the larger society.
Parents just learning that a son is gay or a daughter is lesbian will find resources—including the Fortunate Families Newsletter—and support to help them understand, accept, and affirm their child who is a child of God. Catholic parents will find information regarding Church teaching and pastoral responses to the gay or lesbian child. Parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender daughters and gay sons who yearn for a more welcoming church and society will find strategies for making their faith communities and their world safer and more just for their children.
Grounded in Catholic tradition, Fortunate Families welcomes families of all faiths.
- “Speaking the Truth” on Catholic LGBT Inclusion (Queering the Church)
- Queer Catholics Are Equally Blessed: Press Release (Queering the Church)
- The End Is Not In Sight – But the Journey Has Begun. (Queering the Church)
- A Catholic Statement of Support for Same-Sex Marriage (The Wild Reed)