The Get REAL Movement is proud to announce the launch of ‘Unconditional Love’, an online educational resource to help families better navigate the coming out process.

Today is National Coming Out Day, and ‘Unconditional Love’ will launch as a hub for information, tips and additional resources for families who need it.

With multiple videos featuring real stories and advice from five diverse families, the ‘Unconditional Love’ webpage will help parents with key tips from The Get REAL Movement and links to additional trusted resources for continued learning and support.

The Get REAL Movement delivers anti-discrimination workshops to youth and adult audiences across Canada. They also create educational resources such as videos, in-school curriculum pieces, and web pages. Through group support, they provide leadership development, skill training, and ongoing mentorship to Black and 2SLGBTQ+ youth through university chapters and high school after-school programs in Ontario, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia.

'Unconditional Love'

Get REAL is thrilled to be able to bring stories and resources together to allow families to understand that they are not alone. By having access to ‘Unconditional Love’ they are able to feel a little more comfortable navigating this journey with love and support.

Monica Henao, Get REAL Content Manager and Lead Producer on Unconditional Love, is one of the masterminds behind the project.

“As a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a daughter to parents who weren’t very educated on the topic, having Unconditional Love as a resource is fundamental for parents to prepare, to understand, to be educated, and to see that they are not alone on this journey,” says Monica.

Interview With Monica Henao About Coming Out

'Unconditional Love'

Why is it important to accumulate information and resources on Coming Out?

It’s immensely important to accumulate information and resources on coming out because you never know when a loved one is going to come out and need that support from you. At Get REAL, we are strong believers that when you educate yourself more about different communities, the more understanding and compassion you will have for them. It’s 2021 and it’s time everyone is educated on the fact that people of the 2SLGBT+ community exist and it’s normal. So, the more education and resources people have – we hope the less struggle they have to accept themselves and others. Resources such as Unconditional Love are necessary so that families can see that they are not alone, that there are other families going through similar situations, and supporting and respecting your family member coming out can vastly impact their wellbeing.

What is the major challenge people face when going through the process of Coming Out?

Everyone has their own challenges during their coming out process but a lot of what we hear from students is fearing rejection or judgement from their family and friends, others struggle because of their religious backgrounds, and others don’t feel safe enough in their environments to come out. These all have something in common – they all come down to actions and words constructed by others. So, that’s why we do the work that we do at Get REAL because when we increase education on how to build more inclusive households, schools and corporations, people become more conscious of the language they use, the media they are consuming, and the environment they are creating for their loved ones. We hope that Unconditional Love can help families prepare, listen, affirm, educate, and support each other during their coming out process.

'Unconditional Love'

How can people be supportive of someone who is going through the journey of Coming Out?

Support can look different to different individuals, families, and friend groups! But through our work creating “Unconditional Love”, and all of the different people we interviewed, we’ve been able to break down some of the key, overarching ways that people can be supportive to someone who is going through the journey of Coming Out:

  1. Preparing. When we say “prepare”, we mean working to build an environment that is safer and more inclusive for everyone, regardless of whether or not your child has, or will come out. Using inclusive, gender-neutral language is a great place to start. Make sure also to inform your children about the 2SLGBTQ+ community through reading books, watching movies and television shows that contain inclusive themes and diverse characters, just make acceptance visible and heard.
  2. Listening. When your child comes out, listen carefully to what they are saying. Believe them when they tell you what they are feeling. We know you will have questions, but making sure they are not intrusive is important.
  3. Affirm. A lot of people fear rejection when coming out, so reaffirming your support and love for the person who is telling you, can go a long way.
  4. Support. As I mentioned above, there are many ways to be supportive and many ways people receive support. We have provided guidelines, but make sure to ask your loved ones individually how they feel you can best support them, and follow through on what they ask.
  5. Education. Going out of your way to educate yourself on the 2SLGBTQ+ community not only gives you a better understanding of your loved ones but also allows you to gain knowledge of different resources available that they maybe need. Don’t rely on them, and only them, to educate you! Yes, you can ask questions and have conversations, but they probably want to talk about other things as well, and there is so much education out there. On our site, just as one example, you can watch videos of five different families talking about their journeys, talking about what helped, and providing honest advice from real lived experiences. We also have a large list of additional resources linked as well.

 

Published by HOLR Magazine

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