The attacks against our families have begun. In Minnesota, ads are already on the air and they are gearing up to run ads in Maryland, Maine and Washington. It’s not just that there are political differences between one party and another; it’s not simply a difference of opinion about what direction our country should take. This is personal. This is a referendum on our lives – and on the lives of our children.
That’s the part that upsets me. Yes, I hold the position that the majority should not have the ability to vote on whether a minority’s relationships are recognized or not. But, at least for now, that’s the state we’re in. But, in arguing their position, our opposition isn’t simply saying that we, as adults, are somehow wrong – they are attacking our very families. And, our children are listening!
And so, I would like to encourage every one of you to download our guide, “Family Discussions on Political Attacks on Our Families” and then ask that you pass it along to every parent you know. There are terrific tips inside that can help you to potentially deflect the harm from these negative media campaigns, as we approach the final month of this year’s election season. Inside, for example, you’ll find tips on:
- What constitutes a family and family values
- Dealing with hate speech and prejudice
- The issue of sexual orientation in schools, communities and places of worship
Because these political attacks on our families involve so many issues, there are many ways you can begin to talk to your child about them. You may start with a general discussion about what family means; you may start by sharing values and critical thinking about the media; you may directly bring up the specific campaign or effort and let your child know that he or she might see or hear some negative messages in the coming days and weeks.
Just as each family has its own unique members and traditions, you will have your own special way of dealing with your children. Parents are generally the “expert/s” when it comes to knowing and dealing with their own children.
It is important to stress that you love your child/children and that you are always available to talk to them about these issues. If you are not in the habit of having such talks with your children, don’t try to catch up all at once. The most important thing is to be open and available whenever your child wants to talk.
One of the best resources parents have are other parents. Locate and talk to other LGBTQ parents. Family Equality Council can help you connect with (or start!) a local parenting group. Give your children opportunities to meet and make friends with other children who thrive in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer households. You may even find it helpful to attend a support group to discuss with other parents the ways in which they are dealing with issues related to political attacks on our families. Take advantage of resources available to you, and be a resource for others when you can be. Finally, seek professional help with your child if she or he is having difficulties surrounding these types of attacks and the negative implications of treating our families as less valuable, loving or real than other families.
And, if you live in or near to one of the states where our families’ equality is on the ballot, contact our partners in that work and donate an hour of your time; it could make all the difference in making sure ALL families count.
Minnesotans United for All Families – http://www.mnunited.org/
Marylanders for Marriage Equality – http://marylandersformarriageequality.org/.
Mainers United for Marriage – http://www.mainersunited.org/
Washington United for Marriage: http://washingtonunitedformarriage.org/