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Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ Teen

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Do you have a child, teen, or young adult who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer? Do you feel alone in your effort to support them on their journey or navigate your own? Heather Hester from Chrysalis Mama is here to transform the conversation around loving and raising an LGBTQ+ teenager. In the four+ years since her son embraced his sexual identity as a gay teen/young adult, Heather and her family have felt every emotion, and have experienced dozens of situations rangin… Continue Reading >>
Do you have a child, teen, or young adult who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer? Do you feel alone in your effort to support them on their journey or navigate your own? Heather Hester from Chrysalis Mama is here to transform the conversation around loving and raising an LGBTQ+ teenager. In the four+ years since her son embraced his sexual identity as a gay teen/young adult, Heather and her family have felt every emotion, and have experienced dozens of situations ranging from heartwarming and humorous to terrifyingly life-threatening. She and her husband initially felt alone and overwhelmed, moving her to want to support others traveling a similar path. She desires to discuss taboo topics and erase stigmas surrounding the coming out process and parenting an LGBTQ+ teen. Heather's approach is based on four pillars - to Embrace, Educate, Empower, and Love - and most of all, to reinforce to all LGBTQ people, their families, and their allies that they are not alone! << Show Less
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What Your Non-Binary Teen Wishes You Knew - An Interview with Rae McDaniel 037 - In this episode, Heather interviews Rae McDaniel, founder of the online coaching community, The Gender Fck Club (awesome resources here), as well as Practical Audacity, a gender and sex therapy practice in Chicago.  They have been featured in The New York Times, Refinery29, and Women&apos;s Health. Rae ultimately believes that gender transitions can be an exciting time filled with exploration and self-discovery. They are on a mission to build a world where gender transitions are celebrated just like having a baby, landing a new job, or getting married. Rae shares:* Their experience of coming out as queer to unsupportive parents in rural Louisiana, and their journey to finding a supportive community.* What it means to be transgender and non-binary, including a primer on trans-affirming language and the gender spectrum.* Their advice to parents who want to be supportive but are afraid of making a mistake.* How your teen can find joy in their transition amid the reality that they may face rejection.**HUGE apologies for the poor quality of the initial intro - hang on for the 20 seconds or so, it gets better!** Click HERE for Heather&apos;s Coming Out Process Cheat Sheet!Contact Heather directly at Do you LOVE Just Breathe? Receive new episodes as soon as they launch, as well as Heather&apos;s monthly newsletter Small Exhales and other fabulous resources by:Signing up for her email list HERESharing your feedback HERERating Just Breathe HERENEW!! Refer friends and family for awesome rewards HEREConnecting through Instagram and Facebook (@chrysalismama) and Twitter (@chrysalismama1)Bookmarking her website as your go-to for LGBTQ education!Remember that you are not alone on this journey!  Support the show (
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What's the Difference Between Sex, Gender, and Gender Expression? Founder of The Gender Fck Club an online coaching community, and Practical Audacity, a gender and sex therapy practice, Rae McDaniel gives us a primer to the language used when it comes to sex, gender, and gender expression. It's important to understand the differences between the three, and it basically boils down to respecting the labels people want you to use.
Demystifying Pronouns In this episode, Heather Hester and her 15-year-old daughter Grace have a thoughtful and enlightening discussion about pronouns. Grace has wisdom far beyond her 15 years, and yet is acutely in touch with the teenage experience. If you are curious about how to use pronouns properly and what they mean, this is the episode for you!
Pretending is Torture Coming Out Coach Rick Clemons encourages listeners, LGBTQIA and straight, to be vulnerable, be true to who they are. "The truth of who you are is far more powerful than the false truth of who you are pretending to be."
Parents, You Get a Process, too! In this episode of Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ Teen, Heather talks about the six stages that parents go through when their child comes out to them. The stages are shock, denial, guilt, expression of feelings, making decisions, and true acceptance. She explains each clearly and without judgment, weaving her own stories throughout. This episode provides insight and tools to help you through your process and on your journey!
The Importance of Inclusive Literature for our Kids Heather is joined by author Greg Howard in this on-point discussion about inclusive literature, the importance for our kids to be able to see themselves in the characters of books, and appreciating the unexpected moments of connection with our kids.
Hey Parents, This is What Your Teen Wants You to Know! Connor co-hosts this mom/son episode with Heather giving us all specific questions to ask our LGBTQ+ kids (and ones not to!), insight on what is going on in our teen's brain and body, and so much more! Heather and Connor have a very close and transparent relationship that is the result of a ton of hard work on both of their parts - and they want to share that closeness with everyone listening - love is how you create it with another - no shoulds or shouldn'ts. Just love. (and laughter ;))
Surviving the Holidays Appropriately timed, in this episode about surviving crises during the holidays Heather Hester shares another snippet of her personal story and gives seven strategies that worked for her. Her ultimate goal is for the listener to feel supported and like they have options and choices for working through tough times that happen to occur during this most wonderful - and most hectic - time of year!
Coming Out - What does this mean?? Heather Hester discusses the six stages of the Cass Model of Coming Out and shares personal experiences along the way. This episode is loaded with great information and links in the show notes to help you understand and support your teen through this process.
Understanding the Mental Health of Your LGBTQ Teen Heather Hester breaks down the specific statistics regarding LGBTQ+ mental health, including what behaviors or symptoms to look for and how we as parents and allies can offer support at home and how to find professional help.
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Best Tips and Tools for Parents of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or any other sexual orientation or gender identity!) Kids This playlist contains Heather Hester's very best tips, tools, and snippets from interviews for helping your lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or any other sexual orientation or gender identity) kid navigate the coming out process. Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ Teen
Demystifying Pronouns Heather and her 15-year-old daughter talk about the importance of pronouns and how to use them. Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ Teen
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Healing Your Mind, Body and Spirit To Reach Your Highest Potential with Jennifer Takagi Jennifer Takagi is here to help women discover the power of their purpose. Through tapping into your truths, listening to your intuition, and trusting yourself, Jennifer can help you unlock your fullest potential. Her big message is to start paying attention to those intuitive hits we get, as they are messages guiding you to your purpose. Join Heather and Jennifer as they cover how Jennifer got started on this path of helping heal others' energetic blocks, how to pay attention to your intuition and how to heal your mind, body, and soul to reach your highest potential. Do not miss these highlights:03:37 - Snapshot into Jennifer’s life and what got her to where she is now.06:53 – Paying attention to the signs and intuition hits.09:23 – Whatever your belief system on receiving messages is, listen to them.11:47 – Leadership Development Training and Spiritual Intuitive.13:12 – Learning akashic records.19:00 – Talking about skeptics.23:09 – “The future of medicine is in frequencies”-Albert Einstein30:00 – Asking your subconscious if body or emotion codes could work33:31 – Listening to your intuition. You have more guidance within you than you give yourself credit for. About our Guest:Jennifer Takagi is the founder of Takagi Consulting. She is a 3X time Amazon.Com Best Selling-Author, Certified Jack Canfield Success Principle Trainer, Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst and Facilitator of the DISC Behavioral Profiles, Certified Change Style Indicator Facilitator and Certified Coaching Specialist - leadership entrepreneur, speaker, and trainer.She is helping women discover the power of their purpose by tapping into their truths, honing their intuition, and trusting themselves so they can have the clarity and confidence to create the next level of success they desire. Jennifer believes that when a woman allows her soul to lead, she’ll stop struggling and find the fun, fulfillment, and financial growth she craves. Website:
Your Message Can Change People’s Lives with Michelle Abraham Michelle Abraham joins Heather in the virtual studio in this week’s episode. Michelle is an international speaker, podcast producer, and the category directory for kids and family in Podcast Magazine. Listen in as they discuss Michelle's foray into the podcasting industry, the lessons she has learned, and still learning, as a parent, and the importance of getting your message out into the world before it is too late to do so. Do not miss these highlights:04:47 - How parenting led her to discover podcasts and her drive to inspire others to get their voice out there. 07:01 - The organic evolution that started her to assist others in developing their podcasts11:54 - You don’t need to be an expert in what you are podcasting about, but a curator of content. 16:00 - Live a life that you are happy with and on your terms19:51 - Treat your child like a human being. Say things, express things, the way you would want to see things expressed to you. Don’t be afraid to ask your kids for their input on how you can be a better human being.24:47 - Find comfortable places to have conversations and don’t expect boys to make eye contact when talking to you.30:05 - Michelle’s inspiration of making sure you get your message out before you are no longer able to. About our Guest:Michelle Abraham - Podcast Producer, Host and International Speaker.Michelle was speaking on stages about podcasting before most people knew what they were, she started a Vancouver based Podcasting Group in 2012 and has learned the ins and outs of the industry. Michelle helped create and launched over 30 Podcasts in 2018 and has gone on to launch over 200 shows in the last few years, She wants to launch YOURS in 2022!14 years as an Entrepreneur and 8 years as a Mom has led her to a lifestyle shift, spending more time with family while running location independent online digital marketing business for the last 9 years. Michelle and her family have been living completely off the grid lakeside boat access for the last 4 years!Check Us Out on:Join our facebook group: Join our FREE Podcasters Tool Kit: More Podcast Training - Podcast - Parenting Podcast -
How To Be a Good Ally In this time of uncertainty, when rights are coming under threat, now more than ever it is time to become an ally. But what does it mean to be an ally? In this episode, Heather discusses the importance of being an advocate and an ally for the LGBTQIA community and people. Uncover the eight ways that anyone can be a good ally. Do not miss these highlights:03:15 - What does it mean to be an ally?05:27 - Heather defines being an ally for the LGBTQIA community 08:29 - An ally is not an identity it is a label.11:10 - Being a good listener is more than being present for the conversation.15:01 - It is great to be curious and ask questions however be respectful. 16:27 - Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it is part of the learning process. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.19:30 - Speak up whether in person or online. Show your solidarity.24:30 - Beware of Rainbow Capitalism and seek out to support companies that truly support the community.27:50 - Learn the language, what they mean and how to use them appropriately. 31:06 - Common questions you may get as an ally and a few suggestions on the ways you can answer them. Resources MentionedTo learn more about being an ally or the LGBTQIA Language, reach out to Heather at
Building Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging into a Brand’s Core Values with Crystal Whiteaker Crystal Whiteaker intrinsically understands the importance of inclusion. As a leadership development and DEIB consultant, she specializes in inclusive coaching and consulting for brands and leaders that care deeply about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB). Join Heather and Crystal as they talk about Crystal’s motivation to reaffirm a brand's core values, create a “Brave Space” within yourself, and create a positive, nourishing, nurturing, and healing connection with people. Do not miss these highlights:03:32 - Helping leaders get rooted in their core values so that they can create a clear, streamlined message and experience within their business 08:33 - Becoming aware of the beliefs you hold and whether they are truly yours or if they are ‘absorbed’ from others13:08 - Using trauma-informed training in order to create not just a safe space but also a “brave space”18:07 - Dealing with the sensitive nature of discussing parenting skills with others 23:19 - Formulating your message by getting very clear on your role and values whether for business, parenting or anything else in life32:03 - The value of listening to your children and having love and compassion for them can change the world for them when faced with adversityResources MentionedFree GuidesCore Values GuideInclusive Brand Statement GuideSpeaking GuidePersonal Philosophy Statement GuideIntroductory OffersCore Values ChallengeEmpowered Environments Workbook (Guided Workbook for Inclusive Leaders)Inclusive MasterclassesAbout our Guest:Crystal Whiteaker (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a Leadership Development and DEIB* Consultant specializing in inclusive coaching and consulting for brands and leaders that care deeply about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Crystal brings over 15 years of creative, relational, process driven experience across multiple industries. She is a self-described "corporate trained, creative hippie” who puts a strong focus on core values to help people elevate their community connections to communicate and lead with clarity and confidence. Crystal is an advocate for leaders and organizations that provide resources and support for healing, particularly in relation to trauma. When she's not working, Crystal enjoys spending time at the beach, connecting with people, and exploring new places.Fun fact: Crystal LOVES animals and will stop to show them affection any chance she gets. She is that person who will always ask to pet your fur-baby.When you choose to work with Crystal Lily Creative, you’re helping to support organizations that provide resources for women and the LGBTQ+ community, as a portion of profits and services are donated annually.(*DEIB: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging)Connect with CrystalCrystal Lily Creative InstagramLinkedIn profileLinkedIn business page
Being a Beacon of Authenticity for the Community and Allies Alike with Lisa Sugarman “I think the real joy in life comes when you just meet the people who mean the most to you exactly where they are, and you embrace them for where they are.” - Lisa SugarmanHeather is joined by Lisa Sugarman, a mom, a parenting author, a nationally syndicated humor columnist, and a podcast host. Join them as they discuss Lisa’s journey of discovering her authentic self, her work with The Trevor Project, and her upcoming book to help encourage others to connect and share their own stories with others so that healing can begin. Do not miss these highlights:04:37 - The two pivotal moments that lead Lisa to live her best life and to her own sexuality; her father’s suicide and the coming out of her daughter13:40 - Having raised her kids to celebrate who they were, she took her own advice to celebrate who she was15:00 - Increasing representation by being both an ally and a member of the LGBTQ+ community18:21 - Exploring the differences between pansexuality and bisexuality. 23:13 - How insecurities about asking questions hold back people from satisfying their curiosities about the queer community26:21 - The importance of being a beacon of authenticity for yourself and for others30:33 - Lisa dives into her upcoming book about the dynamics of experiencing her father’s death as a child and when she found out the truth about it 30 years later. 39:27 - Finishing her training as a crisis counselor under the tutelage of the Trevor Project and how dear to her heart this foundation is to her. 50:55 - The power of traveling through the “muck” and winding up better for it. Resources Mentioned’s Books: About our Guest:Lisa Sugarman is a mom, a parenting author, a nationally syndicated humor columnist, and a podcast host, creating content that helps empower parents, especially moms, by giving them permission to embrace their perfectly imperfectness. She’s also a survivor of suicide loss, losing her father at age ten and a member and ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. Lisa writes the syndicated opinion column It Is What It Is and is the author of How To Raise Perfectly Imperfect Kids And Be Ok With It, Untying Parent Anxiety, and LIFE: It Is What It Is, available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, and everywhere books are sold. Sugarman is also the co-host of the podcast LIFE Unfiltered on iTunes and iHeartRadio, and a regular contributor on Healthline Parenthood, GrownAndFlown, TODAY Parents, Thrive Global,, LittleThings, and More Content Now. Lisa lives with her husband and two daughters just north of Boston. Visit her online at She digs company. Her life motto:Because we're all a work in progress... e: lisasugarman@hotmail.comw: www.lisasugarman.comf:
“Whatever is Mentionable is Manageable” with Chris Tompkins Heather is joined by author, therapist, and TEDx speaker, Chris Tompkins to discuss the impact of heteronormativity in today’s culture. Listen as they unpack the differences between queerphobia and homophobia, how the language and words we use create nuances that stop us from talking to our children about being gay, and the steps that we can use to build a “New Playground” around our subconscious beliefs. Do not miss these highlights:04:01 - Chris’ motivation for writing his book Raising LGBTQ Allies: A Parent’s Guide to Changing the Messages from the Playground07:47 - Messages from the playground is an analogy to describe the subconscious beliefs that we all have about everything12:14 - The purpose of breaking the book down into three sections; awareness, willingness and change17:14 - Unpacking the heteronormative message and beliefs that impact our ability to talk to our children about things outside that scope24:45 - Working in a juvenile hall where the LGBTQ youth were separated from others for safety however that just continues to perpetuate the root of the problem35:21 - Shift the language from “it’s complicated” to “it’s complex” to be more inclined to talk42:59 - The importance of teaching kids to love themselves, as they will make decisions thatare based on the lack of self-love53:14 - “Don't let what you think is happening on the outside, determine what is going on in the inside.”54:21 - A look at the steps to build a new playgroundAbout our Guest:Chris Tompkins is a therapist, spiritual life coach, TEDx speaker, and author of Raising LGBTQ Allies: A Parent’s Guide to Changing the Messages from the Playground. Chris believes connecting with our spirituality, loving ourselves, and taking full responsibility for our lives is where our strength lies at the deepest level. He hosts workshops and presentations for universities, conferences, and organizations across the U.S. on anti-bullying, inner advocacy, how to prevent queerphobia, and the importance of changing the messages from the playground. Catch Chris’ TEDx Talk at Chris’ book at
The Continuing Journey of Self-Discovery with Connor Hester Connor helps Heather kick off Pride Month with a fun conversation that ranges in topics from an update on how he’s doing to his thoughts on rainbow capitalism. For newer listeners who do not know who Connor is, first of all, welcome, and second of all - Connor is Heather’s oldest son whose bravery and life experience allows for this podcast as well as all of Heather’s other work. This is the fourth episode Connor and Heather have done together, so be sure to check out the others to get very real insight on the coming out process as a teen and young adult.Do not miss these highlights:01:52 - Catch up on what has been happening in Connor’s life since his last appearance in August 202013:08 - After leaving home, learn the changes in dynamics that occurred between Connor and his parents21:17 - Utilizing therapy as a tool for self-awareness and uncovering how to address issues in a therapeutic context.33:59 - The complexities of reconnecting socially as the pandemic restrictions ease up 41:53 - Navigating the social media as a queer youth and the fears of parents having their kids faced with the hate that is out there49:08 - Transitioning from queerness being a central component of your existence to being really just a part of who you are and how living in New York has allowed him to live openly55:03 - A look at Rainbow Capitalism and it’s detrimental effects on queer artists and the pseudo support of businesses during PrideAbout our Guest:Want to know more about Connor and his story? Check out his earlier episodes on Just Breathe. Connor Shares His Story - Part 1: 2: 3:
Unapologetically Me with Katie Miller Creating a safe place for people to speak the truth, Katie Miller, the co-founder & assistant director of the Teen Suicide Prevention Society and host of Adulting Sucks podcast, is here to share her story of coming to live her life unapologetically herself and encouraging others to do the same. Do not miss these highlights:04:07 - Keeping her bisexuality under the radar, Katie is now speaking up about it and holding space for people who have just have things they need to share07:03 - We don’t need to meet the judgments, opinions, and expectations of others, We just have to meet our own.10:48 - Take your time to process what it is that others are saying because you might not know what's going on when you're not in the same room with them all the time.15:66 - When others are under stress or distraught we need to show them the options they have as it is not always seeable and this is the concept used for the Team Suicide Prevention Society. 20:39 - Embrace and reinforce the positive belief that you are capable, creative, and resourceful enough to figure out anything26:49 - Listen without judgment and have a response based on love.About our Guest:Katie MillerKatie is the co-founder & assistant director of the Teen Suicide Prevention Society.She knows that every message matters. Katie knows what it was like to be afraid to speak up. After launching her podcast “Adulting Sucks, but it does not have to”, Katie became more aware of the need for people to feel safe when speaking. So, Katie has created that safe place with her podcast. Katie’s calming presence will let you focus on what you do best, sharing your message with the world. Join the "How to Bust Your Limiting Beliefs" every Wednesday at 3:30 pm ET. Website and social: your free gift: Why Not Workbook Sucks Podcast:
Be You; Do You with Sam Castle Overcoming adversity that led him to his life’s passion of being a life coach, Sam Castle is here to share his story about removing stigma, bias, and fear. Sam shares about his gender transformation, how life coaching changed his world when traditional therapy could not, and his overall love and passion for helping others to live life courageously. Do not miss these highlights:04:42 - How hiring a life coach changed his life in a way that 10 years of therapy could not08:28 - “You are valuable, you are loved. And it all it all starts in your mind, in the thoughts because you are the creator of your reality.”13:48 - Fear is keeping people from being more vocal in their support and those that are vocal in their misinformation are giving their opinion on experiences that they themselves have never had. 18:06 - Don’t stay in that place, whether mental, emotional or phsyical, seek help. There are resources.21:34 - When you invest in yourself, be it financial, time or other resources, tohse are the ones that you get the most value from23:26 - Our ups and downs are meant to grow us, not break us.28:20 - Be authentic. It is okay to be messy, people want to know how you got through it.35:49 - Trust in yourself and don’t be afraid to seek out the support you need.About our Guest:Sam Castle - “I am Sam of BE YOU; DO YOU podcast and life coach. Be you; do you podcast was inspired by my gender transition from female to male and learning to love and accept who I am....a show that amplifies REAL and RAW stories of authenticity and courageous living! Be you; do you will create a transformation for listeners and participants as you begin to see that even in our differences, we are so much alike. Be you; do you is a safe space for the queer community to be seen, felt, and uplifted and encouraged. It's time to BE YOU; DO YOU and live courageously!”You can find Sam’s podcast on spotify at
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