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The holidays can be painful for LGBTQ children and teens

December 5, 2018

FILE - In this Oct. 27, 2018 file photo, a participant carries the rainbow flag during the annual gay and lesbian parade, organized by Taiwan LGBT Pride, in Taipei, Taiwan. This time of year can be tough for LGBTQ children and teens when it comes to gatherings. And advocates believe there's even more at stake when shifts in identity, new names and pronouns, unsupportive relatives and a general lack of knowledge about related gender issues are in play, particularly for the first time. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — This time of year can be tough for LGBTQ children and teens when it comes to gatherings. Advocates say there’s even more at stake when shifts in identity, new names and pronouns, unsupportive relatives and a general lack of knowledge about related gender issues are in play — particularly for the first time.

A San Francisco-area nonprofit called Gender Spectrum says there’s plenty that parents can do to help. Parents should try to gather information from a child at the right time and in the right place. Accept that answers may come in bits and pieces. Reflecting on past holiday gatherings might help. Ask for three things that didn’t go well and how those things can be changed.

Parents also need to check their own attitudes at the door, especially if a child is feeling celebratory about coming out recently or deciding on a particular manner of dress.

As for gifts, ask givers to stick to what a child wants.

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