Families Matter


Family Reactions to Their LGBTQ Children Have a Powerful Impact on Their Children’s Health Risks & Well-Being

When the Family Acceptance Project (FAP) launched the first research on LGBTQ youth and families 20 years ago, they found that families have a compelling impact on their LGBTQ children’s health and well-being.

FAP’s research found that families were motivated by trying to help their LGBTQ children have a good life, be respected by others and keep their families together but parents and caregivers didn’t realize the impact their reactions had on their LGBTQ children’s self-worth, hopefulness. risk, behaviors and self-care. At that time, researchers had not studied the experiences of LGBTQ youth and families and did not know how family reactions affected their LGBTQ children.

FAP’s research identified more than 100 specific behaviors that parents and caregivers use to respond to their children’s LGBTQ identity. Half of these behaviors are rejecting and half support or affirm their LGBTQ children. FAP’s research found that:

Family behaviors that tried to change, minimize, prevent or deny their LGBTQ identity had a negative impact on their child’s health and well-being and contribute to depression, suicide, illegal drug use and other serious health risks. This included behaviors such as not letting their child learn about their LGBTQ identity or excluding them from family events and activities because of their identity. This research found that family behaviors that supported their child helped promote self-esteem, overall health, stronger relationships and significantly reduced risk for suicide, depression and substance abuse. This includes behaviors such as standing up for their child when others mistreat them because of their LGBTQ identity and requiring that other family members treat their child with respect – even when they believe that being gay or transgender is wrong.

OR Social Media Memes 6

FAP’s research was conducted by a multilingual team that had worked with very diverse LGBTQ people in the U.S. and other countries. Parents, grandparents, caregivers and LGBTQ young people helped FAP to develop a family support model and a series of multilingual educational materials to help families to decrease their LGBTQ children’s health risk and to increase well-being and to do this in the context of the families’ cultural and faith traditions.

The resources provided on this website include FAP’s evidence-based family guidance and support materials for you to download and use with your family, children, youth and young adults, with your parents, religious leaders and providers to help reduce your child’s risk and support their well-being.  

This website includes a targeted list of Oregon-based LGBTQ services and resources to increase support, as well as some national resources that provide support online, by email, text and phone. We hope you find these resources helpful to increase access to affirming services and support for your parents, family, children and youth. We also hope this website will help to increase the availability of services and supports to reduce health and mental health risks and to increase family and community support for LGBTQ children and youth.