PRIDE at UKG is an employee resource group (ERG) dedicated to celebrating our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, non-binary, intersex, and ally (LGBTQ+) employees at UKG. PRIDE at UKG aims to create a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment where U Krewers feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work each day.
In honor of Pride Month, UKG chatted with members of the Rainbow Parents Pod, a subgroup within our PRIDE ERG, to learn more about their family’s experiences as part of the LGBTQ+ community. The Rainbow Parents shared their stories of acceptance and understanding, as well as the most challenging parts of their journey.
This is the first story in a three-part series. Look for more conversations later this month.
Cathi R., Upgrade Central Project Manager
Tell us about your family’s experience with the LGBTQ+ community? I am the mom to a trans 14-year-old. My child was conceived by a gay friend who I asked to be a donor as a single woman. I have always been a staunch supporter and raised my son to be one as well.
Since your child came out to you, has your perspective evolved? I have really questioned my preconceived ideas about gender and sexuality. I had to come to grips with the idea of teen sleepovers that were mix-gender and acknowledge my own outdated sense of morality. I have had to trust more. I have had to reevaluate feelings of loss, because his transition shouldn’t be seen as a negative. I have had to fight for him with school, friends, and family.
“I have had to trust more. I have had to reevaluate feelings of loss, because his transition shouldn’t be seen as a negative.”
What has been the most challenging part of this journey? Remembering to use the appropriate pronouns! It sounds like a minor thing, but it can trigger feelings of embarrassment, shame, conflict, etc. in both my child and his friends. Also accepting and using everyone’s new names.
How has the Rainbow Parents Pod supported you? It is an incredibly accepting group of people. I love that there is a safe space like this offered. There are still not a lot of support options in place for many people, and online groups can be extremely judgmental (or have conflicting/incorrect information). It’s often a very new and confusing time for people, so having an opportunity to have thoughtful, supportive conversations is critical. It also helps parents know they aren’t alone and that a lot of what they are going through (and what their child/children are going through) is common.
Has your child faced adversity because of their identify? One example is gym class. My child is entering high school in the fall. Their school does not offer co-ed gym the first year — only boys or girls. I asked the school if he could skip the first year. This is one small example of how easy it is to ask the questions that need to be asked to provide a better general environment. Sadly, I have also had to disengage from members of my extended family due to their strict Catholic outlook regarding LGBTQ+ and transitioning.
Share three pieces of advice to a parent who is new to the LGBTQ+ community.
- Having a child means loving and supporting them unconditionally, without question or hesitation. Create an environment where they feel comfortable talking to you, even if it’s uncomfortable for you.
- Educate yourself. There are lots of books, podcasts, online groups, etc. Ask your child questions.
- Supporting a transitioning child who may change their mind in the future is better than not supporting them. Look at the statistics for teen suicide related to LGBTQ+. Is it a phase? Who cares?
What is your greatest wish for your child? Just like every parent, I want my son to be happy with who he is — comfortable and confident. If he is those two things, then he will find good friends, be able to bounce back from negativity, and succeed by his measures.