Religious Differences in LGBTQ Families- How to Cope

Earlier in August, I attended and spoke at The Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference. It was a great experience and my second time attending. One of the classes I took was about spirituality and gender identity. I’ve written about spirituality and gender identity before, but I thought that I would revisit it in this blog.

Often, I have clients tell me that they were raised religious, but they aren’t religious anymore. Lots of times clients come to me because I am a secular therapist that practices without using religion in our sessions. I know it can be difficult when you are raised religious and you find that your spirituality has evolved or changed. If you were raised going to church, temple or synagogue you probably still have family that are religious.

Religious Differences

If you are being met with push back about your gender identity and being transgender because of your family’s beliefs, that can be incredibly difficult. Because, most of the time, all we want is for our family to accept and love us without regards to our personal beliefs. There’s times we might want our parents to just be parents without a doctrine behind their love.

Different religious beliefs between parents and children can cause havoc in your relationship with your parents. If you have come out as transgender or LGBTQ, you might not have your parents back.

If it’s possible to still talk to your parents, I would suggest trying to begin by having conversations that don’t touch on religion. Talk about going to school. Talk about your big project at work. Talk about your relationship with your partner. Talk about their physical ailments. Sometimes you must agree to disagree with people. Sometimes you must do that in order to be able to move forward in your relationship with your loved ones. Sometimes you must accept that your parents may still pray for you and they are showing you love in their way by saying that.

If your family has stopped talking to you, that can be the most painful experience ever. Because, I understand that they aren’t communicating with you, not because of anything you have done wrong, but because of who you are as a person. And that hurts. Take some time to recognize that it’s okay to be hurt by this. It’s okay to honor your feelings of pain and anger over the loss of your family. You might hear people say, “well, you didn’t need them anyway” when people leave your life. I feel like we all want and to some point need the love of our parents.

Chosen Family

It’s always good to have your own chosen family. Not just when your family has left your life, but even when your family is present. Everybody can use the support and love of others. Do you have a friend group that you can call when you need someone to talk to? Do you have a friend you can call driving home on the way from work? Do you have another relative such as a sibling, aunt or uncle or cousin you can talk to? Please reach out to these people and establish a close bond with them so that they can become your chosen family.

Holidays can be tough when you and your parents and family disagree with religion. Are you expected to go to church with your family where they might not be accepting? Is it possible to find an LGBTQ church in the area and that service instead? Do you need to tell your family you will meet them after service for the sake of your own mental health? It’s okay to take care of yourself first. I am going to repeat that- it’s okay to take care of yourself and your own mental health first. What feels most comfortable to you? Where do you feel welcomed and honored? These are questions to think about when making your plans.

How To Get Help

In my practice I welcome clients from all backgrounds and belief systems. I welcome both the spiritual and religious clients as well as atheists, agnostics and humanists. If you have been struggling with your own spirituality or the spirituality of others in your life and need a therapist, reach out. I offer free brief phone consultations and you can make an appointment by calling 404-800-7586 or emailing me here.

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315 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. Suite 1055
Decatur, GA 30030

katie@katieleikam.com
404-800-7586



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