Today we celebrate the amazing men in this world that we call Dad, Daddy, Papa, Father, or whatever name they may answer to. They are those special souls that provide us with strength, wisdom, love, and support during our childhood and throughout our lives.  In honor of Father’s Day, we wanted to share a quick Q & A with one proud papa from the SAGE House community. Doug is father to two “amazing little humans,” as he calls them, Immy (Imogen) and Lukas.

Doug and his kids

How have you supported your children’s LGBTQ+ identities?

First and foremost, through providing love and understanding, listening to them, having empathy for what they are dealing with, and allowing them to take the lead in their journey while providing constant support. We have made sure to educate ourselves so that we can be informed resources for them and have also ensured that they have had access to whatever healthcare resources they need.

What do you think your children’s experiences have been as LGBTQ+ youth?

My kids are fortunate to have been in a loving and supportive environment as their mom and I have always been allies to the LGBTQ+ community. That said, they have certainly encountered their fair share of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and have been exposed to the changing political climate for LGBTQ+ youth in Florida. One thing we have tried to encourage them to do is to remain open-minded and kind, even to those who are unkind to them. Not always an easy thing to do.

How as a society can we better support LGBTQ youth?

We need to trust parents to make the best decisions for their kids. Enacting laws that marginalize LGBTQ+ youth further or laws that criminalize parents for supporting their children during a difficult period in their lives is going to result in LGBTQ+ youth being put in danger. Danger from society and danger from their own mental health struggles. It’s 2022 and I can’t believe we are still having debates about LGBTQ+ rights in the United States of America.

Sadly, too many LGBTQ+ youths do not have a supportive environment like Imogen in Lukas. That’s where SAGE House comes in. With your help, SAGE House can achieve its mission to provide shelter, services, and unconditional love and support to all LGBTQ+ adolescents and young adults in Collier County.