I just had a wonderful chat with Sue Allen, the Chair of Trustees at FFLAG (Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). We talked about her experience of running FFLAG. She mentioned the sense of bereavement a parent feels on learning their child is gay or lesbian. She said that most parents only ever called once and the average call lasted 45 minutes. When asked she said she could count on one hand “the bad calls”, implying that the majority lead to positive outcomes for the families.
FFLAG also runs a drop-in support group for parents. When she described a parents’ support group – a confidential space without judgement where parents can talk about anything, it reminded me of a scene from Prayers for Bobby. We find comfort in meeting others in a similar predicament to ourselves, we experience empathy and we find solace. That one call or a visit to a parents’ support group is the beginning to the path of acceptance and understanding.
Sue said that most parents who call were white and middle class. She explained that they had tried to engage with parents from ethnic minorities over the years without much success.
FFLAG also functions as an umbrella organisation for the other lesbian and gay parent support groups across the country.
In thinking about how we get to a more progressive future for gay and lesbian British Asians and their families in Britain today, we must engage with and support our Asian parents.