Oxford County is looking for parents of LGBTQ kids who may want to participate in or help in facilitating a support group for other parents.
A planning meeting is scheduled for April 5 at the Oxford-Elgin Child and Youth Centre, located at 912 Dundas St. from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on April 5.
“We are in planning process for the group,” explained Gayle Milne, an Oxford County public health nurse and chair of the Oxford County Rainbow Coalition. “The first step is to talk to parent to see what type of group would work and what kind of supports they would be looking for. Whether social or education, (we would ask them) what components would make it successful.”
Milne said they don’t have a date in mind yet for when the group could become permanent.
“We feel asking some parents what they may want is a good place to start,” she said. “If some of the parents want to take the lead there is an opportunity for that too.”
A report released in 2017 compiled from a survey of the Oxford County LGBTQ community over 16 years of age found that 84.9 per cent of those whose sexual orientation was LBG reported that their parents were somewhat or very supportive of them.
Of transgendered age 16 and over, 72.8 per cent reported feeling that their parents offered support for their gender identity.
“I felt that was something to work with,” Milne said. “We do need to include parents in the conversation and provide tools to be more supportive.”
The survey also found that only 25 per cent of 137 respondents aged 16 years and older felt a strong sense of belonging to the community.
This is in stark contrast to the 55 per cent of residents in Oxford County who felt a strong sense of belonging, based on findings in the Oxford County Community Wellbeing Survey.
The survey was commissioned by the Oxford County Rainbow Coalition to better understand the experiences and needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in Oxford County.
Oxford County Rainbow Coalition is a working group that recognizes the importance of providing support to Oxford’s LGBTQ community and addressing issues of homophobia and heterosexism.