Being queer in a heteronormative society can be tough — and parenting an LGBTQ+ blooming individual has its own set of challenges. While the world tries to help prepare parents for the adolescence stage, the additional layer of queer identity can be trickier to navigate in the formative years. Some lifestyles are quicker to adapt to an alternative way of existing, while more traditional approaches to life may struggle with new queer dynamics — and there are sometimes serious consequences when parents fail to accommodate. Out of 150,000 homeless youth across Canada, 25-40 per cent of them identify as LGBTQ2S — while just south of the border, the homeless rates for LGBTQ+ youth is just as alarming. But these celebrities who are parents of LGBTQ+ kids figured it out and did right by their young — created positive, accepting spaces and celebrated their children exactly as they were. Now, we’re celebrating them.
Magic and Cookie Johnson
"When my son came out, I was so happy for him and happy for us as parents," Johnson told Ellen DeGeneres in 2017, who added this piece of advice for others who may find themselves in a similar situation: "I think it's all about you not trying to decide what your daughter or son should be, or what you want them to become. It's all about loving them no matter who they are, what they decide to do."
He added: "You gotta support your child. It's so many people who try to discriminate against them, so they need you to support them. 'Cause if you don't support 'em, who's gonna support 'em and love 'em? It's really important."
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The following year, her half-sister, Ariel Shepherd-Oppenheim, revealed that she is also a lesbian, and attended the GLAAD Awards in 2010 with her girlfriend, marking their first public appearance together.
Marcia Gay Harden
"The cause is dear to me, yes," Harden told Us Weekly. "My son is gay. I just want to make sure he gets to have a family when he wants one."
"My beloved son [Beckett] is now scrambling to legally change his name for — as he puts it — "safety" and "jobs" reasons. ASAP," Sheedy tweeted in 2018. "We are all on collision with darkness. #TransRightsAreHumanRights #WontBeErased."
Billy Ray Cyrus and Tish Cyrus
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"I was never in the closet but I think that, within a family that's heterosexual, you're always going to be an outsider if you're gay," he told London's Gay Times in July 1997. "I don't think it's easy to grow up gay anywhere, especially with the amount of fear and uncomfortableness that surrounds sexuality, let alone homosexuality. It's painful. But I think we've made some big strides now, we don't have to apologize for being gay."
Twenty years later, Streisand wrote an open love letter to the LGBTQ community, part of which read, "Marriage equality is the law and that deserves a toast ... to all of us, because we're all unique and beautiful in our own way and entitled to love and be loved by whomever we choose."
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During Field's acceptance speech, she spoke of her son Sam's coming-out experience and barely batted an eye. "The three things I'm most proud of in my life are my sons, Peter, Eli, and Sam. They are kind, loving, and productive people, each with their own list of talents and accomplishments. Sam is my youngest son, by 18 years, and he's gay. To that, I say: So what?"
And let's not forget that time Sally tried to set up her son with his Olympic crush, Adam Rippon. LOVE her! As does Sam.
"My parents like to say they always knew I was gay. I came out to them, and they were very accepting," the DJ told Out. "I always knew they would be accepting. I never was so scared that my parents were going to shun or disown me—the horror stories you hear." And it's clear Isiah has neither shunned or disowned his son.
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When it comes to same-sex marriage, Osmond said, "I believe in [my daughter’s] civil rights, as a mother. I think that my daughter deserves everything that she desires in life. She's a good girl. She's a wonderful child. I don't think God made one colour flower. I think He made many."
Sting and Trudie Styler
And while Sting admitted never being in a gay relationship, he stated that he does have "very close, loving relationships with the men I work with, other musicians. It's a very tight community, a very close bond — and I love it. But it's not sexual."
"As my daughter said to me — because she had a girlfriend for a while — she said to me, 'You don't sleep with a man or a woman. You sleep with the person. I'm attracted to that person,'" he recalled. "So she slept with somebody who was a woman. I was like, 'You know, wow, I've met men that I loved as much as anybody in my life.'" If only we could all be this enlightened.
"When I found out Chaz was gay, I didn't go through it that easily; when I found out Chaz was (transitioning) … except we talked about it a lot, actually," she told Pride Source. "But then Chaz didn’t mention it anymore, so I kind of forgot. And what I think is, there's such a fear of losing the child you love, and what will replace that child."
Cher continued: "I think it's about the fear, mostly. I felt, who will this new person be? Because I know who the person is now, but who will the new person be and how will it work and will I have lost somebody?" But then she realized it wasn't about her.
"I thought, my god, if I woke up tomorrow and I was a man, I would be gouging my eyes out. And so I know that if that's what you feel then that must be so painful that it doesn't make any difference what anyone else feels or what anyone else thinks. Chaz is so happy now and we get along better than ever."
The mother and son never discussed the actual moment he came out to her ever; she simply accepted it. Vanderbilt told People three years before she passed away that she was brought up to believe that being gay was "something terrible," especially after her own mother faced accusations of being a lesbian. But the late designer realized, "There's no difference. Love is love."
Charlize said of eldest child, Jackson, "Yes, I thought she was a boy, too. Until she looked at me when she was three years old and said: 'I am not a boy!'"
The actress declared, "Just like any parent, I want to protect and I want to see them thrive. They were born who they are and exactly where in the world both of them get to find themselves as they grow up, and who they want to be, is not for me to decide.
She added: "My job as a parent is to celebrate them and to love them and to make sure that they have everything they need in order to be what they want to be. And I will do everything in my power for my kids to have that right and to be protected within that." Hear, hear!
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