Support LGBTQ+ youth

The writer of this piece chose to remain anonymous.

As you may notice, I am writing to you as an anonymous author. A brief explanation for this is that I am a queer person who has not yet come out to their parents for fear of rejection. About this time in a conversation, people usually start apologizing and saying how much they support me. While I always appreciate the gesture, something inside me always wishes they had no reason to feel sorry for my “situation”: said “situation” being my existence in my truest form not being accepted. Coming to UTSA has allowed me to experience an incredibly welcoming environment, and for that I would like to thank you all. I hope that a parent of a child in the LGBTQ+ community reads my words and gives their child what I dream one day my parents may give me. 

I truly wish I could write this in a happier tone, but being a part of the community is not always the sunshine and rainbows we pride ourselves with. The queer experience encompasses so many hardships, ranging from religious trauma to rejection to heteronormativity, and so on. Walking a mile in our shoes is not enough for a heterosexual/cisgender individual when cultivating their identity, and honestly there’s no need to fully understand. I apologize in advance for the cliché, but all that LGBTQ+ children need from their parents is love.

With parental love present, the rest comes easy. 

I am a huge advocate of erasing the need to “come out.” Creating a welcoming household from the beginning of a child’s life is an incredible strategy that is used in modern parenting; Jolene Vargas (@mommademagic on TikTok) does a great job of educating the public on some of her methods of raising her kids in a “gender-creative parenting” style, as she calls it. I remember spending many years knowing that there was something different about me, but I never knew that I, too, could be a part of the community; it never seemed like a possibility that could apply to me, a Latinx with Catholic background. A child raised in a welcoming household should feel safe exploring their sexuality and gender identity in a space where they feel loved and supported. It may take some more time for society to fully accept and normalize queer people, but progress can and should start at home. 

Something as seemingly small as reassuring the love you have for your child could mean the world to them. As humans, we tend to forget that feelings are expressed, not implied. Words of affirmation work for everyone, but in the heart of a queer child, an “I love you” or “I support you no matter what” means that despite whatever the world has said and done to LGBTQ+ people, they can breathe a little easier with the knowledge of having a safe space to come home to

Mental and physical safety are imperative for children to blossom into happy, healthy adults that contribute to the overall wellbeing of the world. There are hundreds of research papers, articles and studies showcasing the importance of a parent’s love for their child in their development. This should not be any different when it comes to children in the LGBTQ+ community. If you struggle with your gender identity or sexuality and would like to discuss it with a professional, UTSA provides great 24/7 free to low-cost mental health resources for students. They currently have virtual and in-person appointments available  by calling 210-458-4140; they will ask you a quick questionnaire to assign you to the best available mental health specialist for your personal needs.  

If you find yourself in the same situation I am currently in, I would like to tell you how incredibly proud I am of how far you have come, and I love you.