When loved ones learn of the sexual orientation or gender identity of a LGBTQ loved one, they can experience many emotions ranging from relief and acceptance to shock, denial, guilt or anger. It’s important for families of LGBTQ people to be informed and ready to provide support.
It’s also important for families to know that if a loved one comes out, it’s not just about that person’s orientation or gender identity. It’s about their whole being and how they live. It’s about their relationships with everyone in their life, including family and friends. It’s about their sense of security, safety and well-being.
The first step is to make a plan and decide how you want to come out to your parents, grandparents or other family members. It’s also important to think about back-up plans if your parents don’t respond in the way you hope they would. If you’re worried that they might harm you, for example, it may be safer not to tell them at all.
It’s a good idea to find a quiet place without other distractions, where you can talk privately. It’s also helpful to bring a friend or sibling who already knows, especially if they support you. They can be there to help defuse a difficult conversation and to take pressure off you if the reaction is not positive. They can also be there to provide backup if your parents get upset or angry, and they can keep the conversation going.