Heather Hester from Chrysalis Mama is here to transform the conversation around having an LGBTQ+ teenager. In the two and a half years since her son embraced his sexual identity as a young gay man, Heather and her family have felt every emotion, and have experienced dozens of situations ranging from heartwarming and humorous to terrifyingly life-threatening. She and her husband initially felt alone and overwhelmed, moving her to want to support others traveling a similar path. She desires to discuss taboo topics and erase stigmas surrounding the coming out process and parenting an LGBTQ+ teen.
The podcast Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ+ Teen will explore many topics, including:
- The coming out process: What is this exactly? What are the different potential phases? How can we be supportive as parents, family members, and friends? According to a 2018 study by the Human Rights Campaign, over 75 percent of LGBTQ+ youth found it extremely stressful to come out to their families, and even after coming out, only 25 percent felt comfortable to be out and speak their truth at home. What can we do to improve those numbers?
- Faith and spirituality: For many people, this is a big one. Months of research, prayer, and simply listening to her gut led Heather to this truth: God created her son EXACTLY as he is today. Listen in to learn about her journey, discoveries, and awakenings. She will share tons of resources as well!
- Depression, anxiety, and other mental health struggles: THIS IS REAL. We’ve all seen the statistics showing the rise in anxiety and depression in our teens. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, LGBTQ teens are three times more likely to struggle with anxiety and/or depression and four times more likely to have suicidal ideation and attempt self-harm. These discussions will be stigma-busters for LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ alike! Learn what to look for, what questions to ask, and when to seek professional help.
- The prevalence of substance abuse and addiction: Yep, she’s going to talk about drugs and alcohol, too. According to research documented in Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, average substance use among LGBTQ+ youth is 190 percent higher than for heterosexual youth. How do you know if your teen is using? Are there specific drugs in the LGBTQ+ community? Is “everyone” doing it?
Heather offers hope and community to parents, family members, and friends whose LGBTQ+ loved one is struggling. She speaks from the heart and from her family’s experience using a no-nonsense approach and a little humor. This guidebook of sorts is not in your face. Instead, it is a gentle reframing of stigmas, debunking of myths, and sharing of valuable information she and her family have learned on their journey. Just breathe; you are not alone!
For more information, to connect with Heather, or to be informed of the podcast launch (SOON!), go to her website: chrysalismama.com