Coming out to parents as gay
by Audrey Spiers
Coming out to parents as gay - or any aspect of LGBTQ - is a big step, and one that most people think they must take in order to truly be who they are. Here are some tips to keep in mind when deciding how/when/where/if to come out to your parents.
Many parents are accepting, if not immediately, then over time, but some parents donít take the news as well. This may be because they need time to mourn the future they envisioned for you - a future featuring husband/wife, biological grandchildren etc. (even though today, those goals can be achieved no matter your orientation/identification.) If you do decide to tell your parents you're gay, the following tips may help you create the best circumstances for a conversation that will be important to you.
- You need to accept yourself and be comfortable with who you are before you expect someone else to.
- If there is a great chance that you will be kicked out or disowned, you might want to consider waiting until you have enough independence to take care of yourself, or make sure you have somewhere to stay.
- Consider coming out to friends or other family members first to gain a support net to fall back on if things go wrong (you get kicked out, disowned, or such).
- Decide on what to say ahead of time so you arenít babbling like an idiot.
- Choose an appropriate place (that is safe in case something goes wrong, in other words, not in a moving car) to come out to your parents. Perhaps you can choose a place where both you and your parents will feel comfortable.
- Pick a time when your parents are in a good mood. Shouting at them in the middle of a heated argument that you are queer may not be the best idea.
- Explain to them that you are still the same daughter/son (or however you identify) they have always known, and that this doesnít change that.
- Tell them you love them (if you do).
- If you are too nervous, or afraid of their reaction, try writing a letter. Sometimes it is easier to write things down than to say them, and this will give your parents time to think it over before seeing you in person.
- Donít expect them to be accepting right away (although if they are, thatís great!). They might need some time to cool off, or get used to the idea.
- Do some research, maybe buy them some reading material (such as So Your Child is Gay by Dr. Jerald Bain) to ensure them that this isnít the end of the world, and that you arenít the spawn of Satan (although very few parents will think that).
- There is no telling what your parents' reaction will be. Some people think they have the most anti-gay parents in the world, yet when they come out, their parents are totally cool with it. Give your parents benefit of the doubt, but prepare and cushion yourself for a negative reaction, just in case.
If you need help, whether you have nowhere to go, or are feeling depressed/suicidal, there are always hotlines for you to call. Donít be shy. They are there to help and wonít judge you. There will be different hotlines based on where you live, and if the ones below donít work for you, try google to find some that will.)
Coming out videos may help
This is just one of many videos related to coming out you'll find on YouTube, Tumblr and elsewhere. It may help you to see how others have handled coming out and what the immediate and longterm reactions have been.
Resources, links and helplines for coming out
The Trevor Hotline-Preventing Suicide among LGBTQ Youth:
There are other resources too for you if youíre suicidal:
Or if you are homeless/want to run away:
The It Gets Better Project:
Response of one mother on being told the news by her son that he was gay
Tell Mookychick your coming out experiences
It would be really helpful to other readers if you want to tell us your own experience of coming out to parents. Simply email editor @ mookychick.co.uk or tweet it, and we'll add your experience to this article - either named or anonymously, as you prefer.