On Parenting Queer Children

Written by: Ava Arnejo | 8 months ago

The journey of raising queer children in the Philippines encompasses a complex array of challenges and triumphs. Embedded within the country's cultural, societal, and legal norms, families face unique hurdles while advocating for and supporting their queer children. 

The fourth episode of QueerTalks, a talk series held on Zoom by Queer Safe Spaces Organization, delved into the intricacies of this subject, shedding light on the multifaceted challenges experienced by families navigating the complexities of raising queer children in the Philippines. The episode was graced by guest speakers Elisha Tolentino, and Amor Jacob Agtutubo, also known as Tita Bambi. Claire Ibarra moderated the episode.

Families play a pivotal role in fostering acceptance within the queer community, influencing the well-being and experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals. Their impact is multifaceted, extending from emotional support to advocacy efforts. Providing a primary source of emotional support, families offer a safe space where LGBTQ+ individuals find acceptance, validation, and a sense of belonging.

Discussions highlighted the amplification of social stigmas and discrimination faced by queer children and their families. There are still conservative values within the Philippines that contribute to societal judgment, leading to exclusion, bullying, and the marginalization of queer individuals.

Tita Bambi shared personal experiences and dilemmas as she navigates being a mother of a queer child, attempting to reconcile familial and religious norms with the acceptance of their child's identity. She highlighted the importance of education and awareness especially to the older Filipino generation. She also highlighted the importance of conveying that the house is supposed to be a safe space for every queer child and member of the LGBTQIA+ community.

One of the biggest takeaways during the episode was that the internal acceptance a child can experience within the family carries so much weight, especially in a child who is queer. This acceptance should start in the house. This support positively impacts the mental health and well-being of queer individuals, reducing the risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues commonly experienced by those lacking family acceptance. 

Families that embrace and support LGBTQ+ members boost their self-esteem and confidence, reinforcing a positive self-image and encouraging individuals to embrace their true identities. Through education, advocacy, and open support, families can challenge societal stereotypes and prejudices, fostering understanding and empathy within their social circles. Their role in creating safe spaces within homes and influencing wider cultural and social perceptions is instrumental in building a more inclusive and accepting society.