R came out to me in January/February 2016, and you can read all about that in a previous post. Then in the summer R said they had found a support group and could they maybe go…. I emailed the contact at LGBT Youth and we arranged for us all to meet the worker before the group. I still remember that an early question was what name do you prefer and what are your preferred pronouns…. I was just mystified and gobsmacked. We had a little chat as a family and then R stayed for the group and we wandered off for dinner. My most vivid memory is that when we turned up to collect R they were so happy – I had forgotten R could be that happy and seeing it made me remember how things used to be. I was so pleased to see my baby so happy but sad to realise that it had been so long that I had forgotten what it was like to see my baby happy and confident.
The group is run by LGBT Youth Scotland and is amazing. The kids meet twice a month, and parents meet once a month. A couple of weeks later I took R to group and one of their staff walked me and one or two other new parents to the venue for the parents group. I was apprehensive about going, I had no idea what to expect. What I found was a group of parents who just gave support, accepted whatever I felt and expressed and gave advice where it was useful. I came so close to not turning up to that group, and I’m so glad that I did turn up. I have learned so much from it. I found out you can self-refer to GIC for young people in Scotland, I realised I wasn’t the only parent experiencing a bit of grief and loss, I found out I wasn’t the only one on this rollercoaster of emotions and trying to learn all this new information extremely quickly. Almost a year later and I still attend those groups. Sometimes I need to talk about things, sometimes I get a good feeling from talking to someone who is new to all this and sometimes I find out information that is useful right now, or will be in future.
R attends their group twice a month, and the benefits to their health and wellbeing are obvious. R is extremely anxious, but has made friends in that group and those friends are such a vital source of support.
I had heard all the reasons that peer support was a great thing, then I experienced peer support and I can’t tell you enough how that peer support has literally been a life saver for my baby and me.