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I’m lesbian, gay or bisexual. Should I tell my parent(s)/guardian(s)? How do you think they’ll react?

This can be a tough decision to make and, ultimately, only you will know if and when you should tell your parents. But Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), an organization with chapters all over the U.S., offers some tips.

PFLAG says many lesbian and gay teens that come out to their parents feel closer to them afterward because the relationship is more honest. They feel relieved not to be keeping such a big part of themselves a secret anymore.

But sometimes parents aren’t so understanding. Some parents force their teens to leave home. Some get abusive. And some family relationships are never the same.

Before you come out to your parents, think about a few things:

  • How do your parents react to gay people in general? Listen to what they say about lesbian, gay and bisexual people and ask some indirect questions.
  • Do they have any lesbian, gay or bisexual friends?
  • Do they read books or go to movies that include same-sex relationships?
  • Does their religion accept lesbian, gay and bisexual people?
  • Have you heard them say negative things about lesbian, gay or bisexual people?

And think about your relationship with your parents:

  • Do they show love for you, even when they’re mad at you?
  • Are they supportive of you, even when you do things they don’t like?

Honestly answering these questions should help you gauge your parents’ reaction to telling them you’re gay, lesbian or bisexual. If you think they will take it so badly they might throw you out of the house, then don’t tell them until you have a safe place to stay. You might even decide never to tell them because they won’t understand. Trust your gut. It’s normal to be scared to tell your parents, but if you’re terrified, then hold off until you feel more comfortable.

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