Parents & (Chosen) Family

Recognising and dealing with discrimination

“If we understand a family as a system, coming out does not only result in change for one person, but for the whole system. Parents or family members sometimes have to explain themselves to the outside world, too: ‘My child/brother/sister is lgbtqi+!’ Patience, persistence, and an understanding that processes take time are the most important factors.”
(Sag Was! Impulse gegen die Sprachlosigkeit p. 21)

Hidden Discrimination

Discrimination does not only occur in direct verbal insults or restrictions to enter specific places, e.g. public restrooms or changing rooms (swimming pool, sauna, gym). It can also hide in thoughtless reactions or in well-intentioned advice. Take, for example, sentences such as: “I have nothing against trans people, but…”

It may be helpful to think about the different kinds of discrimination that exist by taking a closer look at your own preconceived ideas and prejudice. This way, you might learn to recognise them in everyday life.

Who can discriminate?

Unfortunately, unsolicited advice on how to raise your child as well as openly hostile remarks can be encountered in a number of situations, e.g. at the doctor's office, at day care or school, and frequently in personal life and within your own family. 

Who is the target of discrimination?

Whenever you stand up for your child, you might have to “ward off” discrimination and insults from time to time. For your own well-being, it is important to take care of yourself. Even though it is always your child who is discriminated against first and foremost, hostility or well-intentioned advice can often be directed at you as a person. Talk to friends or parents and caregivers of other young trans and non-binary people. This way, you can think about strategies together and share your stories.

What does my child want?

It is very important to discuss with the young trans or non-binary person who may be included in their coming out. Maybe your child does not want to come out (to everyone) at first when entering, for example, secondary school. Do not out your child without first talking about it in detail.

When and how can I intervene?

Of course, every situation is different. It is often easier to intervene and say something in public spaces or towards professionals, since these people are not very close to us. It is more difficult in one's own family and inner circle. Here, too, it is generally necessary to think about how your child is dealing with the situation. Ask yourself: how would your child like to deal with the situation? It is often enough for your child to know that you are on their side. This way, you can come up with a strategy on how to deal with a particular situation together.

In the free brochure Sag Was!” Impulse gegen die Sprachlosigkeit (German language only), you will find suggestions on how to act as well as many helpful tips and strategies to deal with this topic.