The fear of losing the love of our family is one of the struggles that LGBTI people face in life, for some people is the biggest.

In the Dominican Republic, families lack information to respond to the sexual and gender diversity of their loved ones without causing harm. When an LGBTI person is rejected by his family, there are two tragedies; 1) a person who loses their main support network and; 2) a father, mother, grandmother, grandfather, sister, or brother who loses a loved one.

Physical abuse, kicking them out of the house, threatening, degrading, sending a child to conversion therapy, withholding or withdrawing financial support, humiliating, introjecting guilt, and fear are the extremes of the violence that LGBTI people experience in families that reject them. COVID-19 can exacerbate this violence due to home confinement.

At the same time, even best-intentioned families can act negatively in subtle ways, either by discouraging meeting with friends and attending LGBTI events, requesting to keep their sexual orientation or gender identity in secret, pressing them to maintain a gender expression according to their sex, presenting his or her couple as a “friend”, “cousin”, keep mocking of prejudiced jokes about LGBTI people, sharing anti-rights propaganda, discouraging the defense of the human rights of LGBTI people, among other attitudes that cause harm.

Family support for LGBTI people has been shown to mitigate suicidal thoughts, depression, unhealthy behaviors, as well as improve the process of affirmation and self-esteem. I have compiled a folder with some information resources and a directory developed by the UNDP Dominican Republic with LGBTI organizations and allied institutions where people can find psychological support with experience and training on the subject, I hope it will be helpful toward building better families where all the LGBTI people feel love and safe.

Here is the link: Resources for Families.

Por: Cristhian Manuel Jiménez

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