As moderator of this forum, I welcome you here. I know as queer/lesbian/bi/gay/trans people we are not always used to feeling welcome, so I hope you will feel the welcome here and extend it to others here.
I'm a lesbian, and a good friend of several people with mental illnesses. I treat my good friends as family, and help them out when they need it, the way family does. Recently I came out to one of my employers, the BC Schizophrenia Society, and took responsibilty for creating this LGTB family group as part of a project I'm working on to reach out to family members of persons with a mental illness.
When I came out at our staff meeting earlier this year, several of the people in the room already knew I am lesbian, but since staff come to the meeting from all over BC, there were a lot of people there who didn't know me. Some of them are from northern BC, and well, let's just say I was a little nervous. I described it to them in terms of being doubly affected by discrimination to them and they got it immediately.
Family members of people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses know what it's like to be judged by others, and they immediately got why the families of choice that queer people have need the same supports that BCSS has always extended to relatives of people with all kinds of mental illnesses.
I know this is just an online group. If you need a live person to talk to, BCSS and the regional coordinators are available around the province to talk to you and help you find the services you and your loved one need. Their contact info has been posted in this forum. As far as I know, none of them are LGTB. However, I truly believe all of them 'get' that our kinds of families are important, will consider you as fully a family member as anyone else and will do their best to help.
There are services as spouses, relatives and caregivers of loved ones with mental illnesses that are available to you. Respite - a break from caregiving - is available in some places along with support groups, information groups and referrals from the coordinators. They're for our kinds of familes too. I don't expect any homophobia, but if you run into any, let me know and I'll help out.
Reaching Families Project Coordinator
Support Forum moderator.
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.