Parenting can be really tricky but as long as our kids are the focus, and their well-being is front and center, tricky can be navigated. And that’s a general rundown of how Kevin Bacon approaches parenting with his partner and fellow actor Kyra Sedgwick. Their kids are adults now, but Kevin recently shared his philosophy about “forcing” kids into boxes, and it’s an important message.
The actor recently spoke to Yahoo! Entertainment to promote his new movie They/Them. The movie, which is a horror-thriller film, is centered around a conversion therapy camp setting and the theme of accepting our kids for who they are, The Hollywood Reporter explains.
In the chat with the publication, Kevin admitted that he “struggles” with that subject because he can’t understand “the idea of other parents rejecting their children” who may disclose and identify within the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
Kevin spoke about how he and Kyra approached the conversations about sexuality and gender with his kids, Travis, 33, and Sosie, 30 when they were younger. “With our kids, we really tried our best to say, ‘OK, you can do your own thing and figure it out,'” he shared. “That’s worked out for our kids, but it’s tough.”
Adding, “There’s a long history of forcing children into boxes, whether it’s based on something cultural or religious. I think that what you have to hope for is that, as a society, we grow and learn from that.”
The science backs Bacon up. The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health was gathered from responses about well-being and mental health from 33,993 LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13 and 24 years old across the United States has highlighted just how important parental support is for youth.
Key findings from the survey found that parents speaking to their kids respectfully about their identities was tied to a 40% lowered rate of suicide attempts in the past year. The survey also highlighted that two out of five LGBTQ youth report living in a community that’s “very unaccepting of LGBTQ people.”
But we’ve known for a long time just how important family support is for the health and safety of LGBTQ youth. A 2016 study found that “family support and acceptance is associated with greater self-esteem, social support, general health status, less depression, less substance abuse, and less suicidal ideation and behaviors among LGBT youth.”
Kevin’s approach to parenting supports the expert advice that the best thing parents can do for their kids, particularly their LGBTQ+-identifying kids, is to support them and love them unconditionally. Also, as Kevin says, it’s not asking a lot.
“There are other things that are hard to do in life. But respecting something or not using language that's going to make somebody feel uncomfortable or hanging a flag that's going to make someone have a traumatic memory, is it that much of a hardship to adjust your way of thinking?” Kevin said on the red-carpet premiere for his movie. “I don't think so.”