Monday, July 26

A municipal network against the fears of LGTBI families: “Children come out of the closet, but also parents”

Scared mothers and fathers have passed through the office of Sonia López, a psychologist at one of the Family Attention Centers (CAF) of the Madrid City Council, parents who come out of the closet and children who are going through the process of defining, eaten by the confusion, your gender identity. The expert is one of the coordinators of the Comprehensive Plan of Attention to LGTBI Families that the Equality area, led by Pepe Aniorte, has launched to provide a more complete response from municipal services to the changes that occur in a nucleus of coexistence when one of the members declares LGTBI.

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There are no new personnel, but the existing staff has been trained and a coordinator has been appointed for each of the CAFs to channel specific demands. These centers, opened in 2004, have a consolidated operation. “The CAFs have always received this type of family casuistry, but it was not a specific service or a specific point of intervention. We want people to know that they can have free, public help and in coordination with associations, such as COGAM or Chrysallis, who have been doing this for years, “sums up the psychologist.

The data warns that any effort by the administration is little: one in four LGTBI people have suffered homophobic insults in the city and more than half consider that intolerance has not improved, even worse, according to a survey commissioned by the Madrid City Council with a sample of 600 people between 18 and 75 years old. In recent days, the murder of a 24-year-old in A Coruña after a brutal assault has shaken Spain. In the absence of the conclusions of the police investigation, two friends of the victim, eye witnesses, link the events with homophobia.

“Some friends tell us that he will get over it”

Lu has been seeing Sonia for seven months. At 14, she is embarking on a transition process; it is defined as non-binary. Her mother, Natalia, are coming out of the closet with her; his father and his little brother. In seven months the whole family has shielded itself against frivolous and banal comments, even from the immediate environment. “Some friends tell us that she is in the age of the turkey, that it will pass, but we want to accompany her and communicate,” says Natalia in conversation with “Before, everything sounded like Chinese to us. Lu’s process has enriched us as people and as a family. We never stop learning about this, but we have taken our cover in many things,” he continues.

Fear, emphasizes the psychologist, underpins almost all behaviors, also those of resistance or denial. “Families come lost and with many fears of suffering. Fear marks the behaviors and responses that are given. We serve sons and daughters, above all, but also parents who come out of the closet.” These cases are “complex”, according to López, because the children consider that “they have lost an important part of the life of their father or mother.”

Even families with “open and positive communication” sometimes need tools. Especially during and after confinement, which has paralyzed the experimentation processes typical of young people and has locked up those with families who do not accept their orientation or identity. “The relationship with peers, an essential group at this age, was reduced to social networks. This has produced knots because it has not allowed progress,” López analyzes.

However, he confirms, “adolescents now live their sexuality in a much more integrated way than previous generations”. Less and less young people identify with heterosexuality: according to the latest CIS, 82.7% of people between 18 and 24 years old. In 2019, it was more than 90%.

With this program, the City Council seeks to “incorporate diversity” into family policies, taking advantage of the “experience” of the Family Support Centers, says the delegate for Families, Equality and Social Welfare, Pepe Aniorte, and the contributions of LGTBI entities , who have collaborated in the development of the program.

The PP and Citizens corporation has put itself in the spotlight in its management of institutional support for the last LGTBI Pride: the bulk of the subsidy to the MADO organization has been withdrawn (500,000 euros from Tourism, managed by the conservatives) and the placement of the rainbow flag on the façade of the City Hall has divided the Government partners. The PP always refused to put it and Citizens’ attempts to make him change his mind and look for alternatives have been unsuccessful.

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