The LGBT Helpline is the national support service for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and the organisation is calling on parents of LBGT children to avail of their support services.
The call comes as part of this year’s National Parents Week which runs from today until next Sunday 25th September.
As part of National Parents Week, the LGBT Helpline will publish a series of helpful blogs for parents by well-known contributors, and will also be present to provide support and information at the National Ploughing Championship, taking place this week (20th to 22nd September) in Screggan, Tullamore, Co. Offaly.
The theme of this year’s National Parents Week, which is organised by Parentline, is ‘It’s OK to Ask’, with a focus on encouraging parents to ask for help when they need it.
Leading clinical psychologist, broadcaster and author, David Coleman; a transgender couple with over 40,000 YouTube views; and a lesbian mother of three, amongst others, will contribute helpful blogs that will be published on the LGBT Helpline website, www.lgbt.ie. The blogs will cover topics such as:
· The best time to talk to children and teenagers about sex and sexuality;
· Advice for parents on how best to support their child when he or she comes out; and
· Help available for families when their child comes out as transgender.
Speaking about the supports for parents offered by the LGBT Helpline, Paula Fagan, National Coordinator of the Helpline said:
“Parents want the best for their children and want to be supportive of them, but may struggle to know how to respond if their child comes out to them as LGBT.
“We often get calls from parents who are concerned that they have said the wrong thing, or they may sense that their child is LGBT but are not sure how to talk to them about this. We want to get the message out to parents that ‘It’s OK to Ask’ for help if they need it, and they can contact us with any queries or worries, in complete confidence.
“We’re hopeful that our guest blogs by well-known parents – including psychologist David Coleman, who specialises in working with children, teenagers and their families – will offer support to parents around their children’s sexuality or gender identity and start a conversation amongst parents about what has traditionally been a topic that many parents have avoided.
“While LGBT rights and values are widely respected throughout Ireland and huge progress has been made in recent years, parents may still have concerns or questions when their child comes out as LGBT, and we want them to know that we are here to support them, as well as supporting their children.”
The LGBT Helpline will be promoting the supports it provides for families at this year’s National Ploughing Championships. The organisation will be exhibiting at Dunamaise & Nore at the Health & Wellness area. The stand will be located at Block 3, Row 30, Stand Number 741, Unit 28.
“We’d love to meet as many parents as possible at the Ploughing Championships and talk to them about the range of services we provide,” said Paula Fagan. “We have support groups, our telephone helpline, an online instant messaging service, and lots of useful information on our website. We always received a great response at the Ploughing and we’re looking forward to attending again this year.”
The LGBT Helpline can be contacted on 1890-929-539, and its opening hours are as follows:
· Monday to Wednesday: 6.30pm to 9pm.
· Thursdays: 6.30pm to 10pm.
· Fridays: 4pm to 9pm.
· Saturdays and Sundays: 4pm to 6pm.
Further information is available at: www.lgbt.ie.