The Vanier Institute defines "family" as any combination of two or more persons bound together by ties of mutual consent, birth, adoption, or placement (...). This definition necessarily presupposes links between an adult and at least one other person (adult or child), which will be lived in a certain continuity, which then supposes a form of commitment. (From the Vanier Institute website)

Families are not the same for everyone.  There are different versions and they don't all look the same.  At first glance, one might think of the more traditional family consisting of heterosexual parents, the father and mother, and children. Or an only child. For some, it may be an extended family, with aunts and uncles, or grandparents.  There are also adoptive families, where love counts more than blood. They can be same-sex families, or there can be transgender parenting, in which one or both parents are trans.  Sometimes it’s a single-parent family, one parent with one or more children. Or multi-parent, as in the case of blended families. Some get foster families, who can offer support at critical times. And there are chosen families, groups of people who offer unconditional support, often a mix of friends and (ex)partners. This is an important version of family for many in the LGBTQ+ community, especially for youth and older adults who find themselves rejected or isolated from their biological family.

Ultimately, the version we know, the one we grow up in or the one we’ve created, reflects who we are, where we live, what we choose.  We have to live with the members of the family we are a part of.  Sometimes, we may not understand some of its members, as may be the case when there is a coming out or a transition.  We may need to better understand the reality of our loved ones in order to offer support and love.

Family Support

Family support enables its LGBTQ+ members to experience more self-acceptance and better health outcomes.  Indeed, there is a clear connection to mental health, to the extent that without support, suicide rates increase. The impact of family support is felt at all ages. Youth who express their gender difference at a young age and are listened to, understood, and accepted by their family circle, do not develop the same rate of mental health issues that the rest of the LGBTQ+ population frequently experiences.  LGBTQ+ seniors are often isolated and unsupported, making them all the more vulnerable. The fact that their chosen family is often not recognized makes it even more difficult for many of them.

We hope to offer information and resources to several types of families connected to the LGBTQ+ community: 

  • Families who want to support their LGBTQ+ child(ren), with particular consideration for trans children;
  • Families who want to support their LGBTQ+ parent(s), with particular consideration for trans parents;
  • LGBTQ+ parents.