The Orbona Foundation will create a public health strategy to educate parents on the ways in which they can raise their children in a safe and supported environment that accepts diversity.

LGBTIQA+SB People who are raised by parents and communities that support and nurture them have better health outcomes.

Every child has a right to a supportive healthy environment that provides for their growth and development including every aspect of their personality and interpersonal relationships within their family and their community.

If, prior to or during a child’s development, they are taught ideas, values or beliefs that are subsequently incompatible with dignity and self-respect for their variation in sex characteristics, expression of gender, or sexuality, this a profound cause of preventable harm.

For a child, apprehension of disapproval, rejection, or abandonment for an aspect of their identity of which they cannot change, can best be understood as a chronic pervasive threat to life as they are completely dependent upon their family and community for survival.

Whether the threat is well founded or reasonable is irrelevant, because in the experience of that child, during the development of the central nervous system, the experience is real. This can result in many adverse health outcomes which the community might understand in a simplified non-diagnostic way as comparable to post-traumatic stress disorder.

“No pride for some of us, without liberation for all of us.”

– Marsha P. Johnston

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Simplified phases of life for LGBTIQA+SB children

Stage 1: Prior to being aware of their own identity


  • Less able to evaluate and reject false and prejudicial attitudes
  • At risk of assimilate harmful ideas as core beliefs

We can reduce the risk of harm by encouraging all parents to have accepting and supporting attitudes toward LGBTIQA+SB people.

Healthcare professionals can educate parents from the moment of conception onward. Parents can be respectfully invited to reconsider any harmful attitudes they might hold.

Environments that embrace diversity do not encourage children to become LGBTIQA+SB.

Stage 2: Moment of awareness (sometimes called coming out to yourself)


  • This awareness almost always occurs in isolation and is often associated with fear, shame and concealment
  • For most LGBTIQA+SB youth becoming aware of their own identity will be an evolving process
  • LGBTIQA+SB children in families and communities that are hostile towards LGBTIQA+SB people will experience greater difficulty in becoming aware of, acknowledging and eventually accepting their own identity
  • Some children who are taught that LGBTIQA+SB are awful in some way will experience a moment of complete terror as they realise that through no fault or choice of their own are this terrible thing that they have been taught to despise. We refer to this moment as ontological shock.
Stage 3: After becoming aware of their identity but before making a disclosure


  • Risk of disapproval, rejection or abandonment is a threat to life
  • A person will conceal their identity in order to ensure they have continued access to love, food and shelter within their family
  • Focussed on assessing whether they are in a situation that is safe and secure
  • Highly attuned to observing the language and behaviour of parents and community
  • Living with the constant sense that survival depends upon concealing who you are can have ongoing negative psychological impacts
  • Elevated levels of stress affect the child during critical stages of development
  • Language becomes adjacent to childhood trauma as it is the primary method a child can utilise to ascertain if they are safe
  • Any exploration of romantic relationships or sexuality comes with the risk of emotional, psychological or physical abuse
  • Parents and adults within the community can model language and behaviour that is tolerant and accepting
  • Children with a diverse identity are more likely to make a disclosure to adults they feel safe with
  • Safety and support of even just one adult can make all the difference for an isolated and frightened child
After making a disclosure

There is a wide range of experiences.

Many LGBTIQA+SB youth experience an increase in their need for support from the healthcare system at a time when they loose family support, cease to be covered by their family’s private
health insurance, have housing insecurity, are on a low income and are unable to afford the gap between professional fees and medicare rebates.

Over time, most LGBTIQA+SB people experience increased acceptance and support from their family.

The frequency with which families change their attitudes once they are aware of a family member’s identity shows that change is possible.

Shifting this change to much earlier in a family’s life will prevent the risk of unintended harm that can occur before a family is aware.

LGBTIQA+SB adults who have experienced highly stressful childhoods can be impacted in ongoing ways throughout adult life.

Understanding that symptoms in adult life may be trauma resalted can allow LGBTIQA+SB adults to access evidence based treatments specific to trauma (eg EMDR).


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