c/o 8-10 West Street, Old Market, Bristol, BS2 OBH
Hello and welcome to the Bristol Families & Friends Web site

Bristol Families & Friends is a support group, serving the West, for families and friends of lesbians, gay men and bisexual women and men and their partners based in Bristol. It provides an opportunity for people to explore issues and share experiences, as well as their fears, in a safe place.

Please contact Sue (01454) 898644 or Janet (0117) 9504104 for more information or a pack.
You've got a friend

If you've come out to your family, you'll know it's not usually easy for them to understand - let alone be happy for you. Although they want you to be happy, a lot of other things get in the way. While you sort out your new life, they try to make sense of what is happening to you and how they feel about it.

One of the ways in which your family can help themselves to adjust to your new life is to talk, but many find that they have no-one to talk to. And that's where Bristol Families and Friends can bridge the gap - they are a support group for families and friends of lesbians and gays run by parents.

Sue, one of the parents who set up the group, got involved after hearing that her lesbian daughter, who attended the Freedom Youth group for lesbians and gays, that some of the teenagers had been rejected by their parents. "I was horrified to hear what other kids were going through - I still am. I know there at times when you don't like your children, but you always love them. There are 16-year-olds being thrown out of their home because of their sexuality. I can't understand that," says Sue.

Although Sue is the only parent in the group with a lesbian daughter, this doesn't mean that lesbians are more easily accepted - it's more about lesbians being taken less seriously.

The group is open to parents, friends and married couples - where one partner comes out as lesbian or gay. "It's a self-help group. None of us are counsellors, we're just experts in our own field and we talk about our own experiences. On a first visit some parents don't talk at all, a few have cried, but all of them have said as they left, 'I'm glad I came and I'm coming again'. When they return they start to chip in and once they start we then sit back and let them talk." Janet, who also helps run the group, has a gay son, Chris, who attends the meetings. "Parents often have a million and one questions they want to ask and they can't always ask their children because it's difficult, but they can ask Chris.

If you would like one of their support packs, or just want to talk, or you'd like to come along to the group (held in Bristol on the third Wednesday of every month), then contact Sue on (01454) 898644 or Janet on (0117) 9504104 (a 24-hour helpline is available on both these numbers).

Stranger in the Family - How to Cope If Your
Child Is Gay

Terry Sanderson

The Family Heart : A Memoir of When Our Son Came Out
Robb Forman Dew

Different Daughters
Louise Rafkin

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