So you’ve read a few blogs or articles, maybe watched some stuff on YouTube… generally done some research on how to come out to your parents. Some have been helpful, some are downright patronizing. But all of them leave you thinking “that’s all very well and good but you don’t know MY parents…”
We’ve got you covered. If you have homophobic parents but you want to come out or you’re thinking about it – this article is for you.
1. Find outside support.
Make sure you have support and tell at least one adult that you trust before you tell your parents. This could be a teacher, someone from your extended family or a friend’s parent. This will give you a safe space to turn to if your parent’s reaction is hostile and help you feel stronger going into it.
2. Check out your options.
Is now the right time? Would a safer option be to wait until you move out or go to Uni? What is your plan B if the worst does happen? Do you have the number for helplines? Can you go and stay with extended family or close a friend if you need some space while your parents adjust to the news. Your safety and well-being must always come first. While it might feel scary to have to think about these questions, it’s crucial to be prepared.
3. Be clear on what you are telling them.
If you are coming out as gay, avoid the trap of thinking that coming out as bisexual first is an easier way to help them reach a place of acceptance. Stick with the truth, if you are gay, tell them. If you are bisexual, tell them that.
4. Give time, time.
First reactions are raw, unprocessed and unpredictable. We all need time to process big news regardless of the situation. Give your parents time to adjust to this news and know that first reactions are not always lasting reactions.
5. You are not alone.
Right now as you read this article there are millions of people all over the world facing the same situation as you. Never lose sight of the fact you are not alone, you can and will get through this. Keeping your sexuality a secret can be enormously stressful. No matter how scared you might feel now, this will get easier. On the other side of that fear is relief and liberation.
6. Shame is a liar.
If your parent’s reaction is to try and shame you for your sexuality. Please know that shame is a liar. What it tells you and how it seeks to make you feel is distorted bulls***! The whole process of coming out of the closet is going against the shame that plays a part of keeping you hidden and in the dark. Your sexuality and shame have no place together. Your sexuality is normal and there is nothing wrong or bad about loving who you want to love.
7. Homophobia sucks.
Coming out to your parents can be a scary prospect. Add a dollop of homophobia on top and it’s downright petrifying. Bottom line is: homophobia sucks! It sucks because we don’t choose our sexuality. It sucks because we live in a society that places one sexuality as the norm at the expense of any other. It sucks because life can be tough enough without experiencing ignorance and hatred towards something you are powerless over. It sucks because your family might miss out on the chance of loving you because they can’t see past their own fears based on ignorance.
8. Talk to us.
Everyone’s experience is different so whether you are on the brink of doing it, have done it but are struggling or need support with it all, join our community to talk to one of our awesome mentors who understand completely what you are going through and get advice from others who have similar experiences…
Join your local LGB Community. There is nothing more powerful than being around and supported by people who get what you are going through. Don’t deprive yourself of the opportunity to find belonging. We can’t choose our family but as life unfolds, we can choose our friends. You get to come home to the people who love you for you, regardless of sexuality.