Human Rights / Health

“Families hide when LGBTI adolescents come out”

Friday, December 18, 2015

Prof.Dr Şahika Yüksel and Dr. Seven Kaptan gave a voice to the troubles occur as they work with families of LGBTI adolescents.

The 4th Symposium against Discrimination which organized by Kaos GL Association, Turkish Medical Association, Psychiatric Association of Turkey and Health and Social Service Worker Union continued on its last day with the session of “Working with LGBTI’s families.”

Session began with the presentation of Seven Kaptan on acceptance and coming out process. Kaptan who stated, “Coming out process is to hide for families while LGBTI adolescents reveal themselves”, continued as giving reaction examples from families such as “I wouldn’t be so sorry if you were dead”, “I felt a similar pain at my father’s death.”

Coming out process for families

Dr.Seven Kaptan mentioned the stages of coming out process for families:

Shock: Families think that their children are changed and they feel as alienated to their children.

Denial: This stage is identified as temporary one. Families encounter with almost same troubles as their LGBTI children. Such questions like “he/she is just confused, what will people say? I have to hide it” runs in their head. Families need time to get used to this situation.

Anger and guilt: Again, in this stage families constantly ask themselves “where did I do wrong?”, “How come I couldn’t notice it?” and “How long my child have been suffering?”

Kaptan answered to the question of families with scientific theses and said that, throughout this process, psychiatry is seen as “the representative of science” and doctors are expected to ease the anxiety.

However, families mourn for heterosexual dreams: “What will people say?” “Will they accept us?” “What about my child’s future?” “Will my children be able to find a job?” “My child is going to be all alone”

Supportive, conditional supportive or sarcastic

This is what happens at supportiveness and acceptance stages:

Supportive: It doesn’t mean such families understand what truly means being a LGBT. For example; a mother of a trans woman who was asking “what will people say?” can now say that “I take a piece out of anyone who say anything to you.”

Conditional supportive or submission: Such families seem like they accept the identity but provide obstacles such as “don’t bring your beloved to home” or “don’t use any hormone.”

Sarcastic, non-supportive, judgmental: LGBTI children get violated in general. Making their child a target or threatening the doctor who will give the medical report.

Acceptance: This stage is not only about supporting the child, but also accepting the existence of LGBTI families.

“LGBTI family groups are essential”

Kaptan depicted the importance of LGBTI family groups:

  • To know that they are not alone
  • To mourn as one
  • To witness to the different stages
  • To questions and acquire information
  • To find solutions to problems

Then session continued with the experiences of Prof.Dr. Şahika Yüksel.

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