How to Talk to Your Parents about Being Gay
Originally Published: March 14, 2008
Revised: September 5, 2012
Everyone assumes you’re straight, but maybe you know you’re attracted to people of the same gender. Recognizing that you’re lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) is a big step, and letting other people—like your parents—know is even bigger.
So, if you’ve decided you want to talk to your parents about your sexual orientation, how do you go about telling them? There isn’t one way that works for everybody, but here are some tips that might help you have the talk.
- Rely on the support of a friend or someone who already knows and accepts you as you come out to your parents or guardians.
- Write a letter. The best way for me to do anything is to get all my feelings out on paper. So, I would suggest that you write a letter to your parents or guardians. Tell them what you have been feeling and why you wanted to let them know. You can either leave the letter for them to read and let them come to you in their own time, or be there when they read it and have a conversation with them about it afterwards.
- Have an up-front conversation with you parents, if you’re not the letter-writing type. You may be quite surprised at how well your parents or guardians take it. You can say flat out, “I’m gay,” or build up to it. Try not to scare your parents too much, though! Remember that when you say you want to talk to them about something, they might get just as anxious about the conversation as you are. In the words of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, DON’T PANIC!
- Be prepared to answer their questions. Your parents or guardians may have questions about your sexual orientation. Parents, Families and Friends of Gays and Lesbians (PFLAG) offers support and can answer questions your parents or other family members may have. They also have meetings for your family to attend. Go to Pflag.org for more information.
- Contact a close friend, relative or a local community center that can provide a place for you to stay, if there is a possibility that your parents or guardians won’t take the news well. In some worst-case scenarios, teens get kicked out of their homes after coming out to their parents or guardians. While this only happens on occasion, it happens more than anybody would like. You know your parents best, be prepared.
Coming out to your parents or guardians is a big step. To those of you planning to come out, I say, “Good luck and congratulations.”
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