You’ve managed to pluck up the courage and found a way to tell your parents the truth. You’ve just come out, and you are gutted as it hasn’t gone well. What do you do now?
Here are 5 tips on how to cope.
It’s not your fault
Maybe you’ve read lots of coming out stories full of sparkle and joy and were hoping to feel that euphoria after coming out. Not everyone’s coming out goes well. It’s not your fault, you have done nothing wrong. You’re not responsible for other people’s unacceptance of your sexuality or gender.
For some top tips on coming out, watch this!
Be gentle with yourself
It’s a very sad time for you. You’re probably a lot more tired than you realise as your brain has been racing through all eventualities as you’ve been getting ready to share who you really are. Give yourself time to rest.
It is likely that you’re feeling very alone at this time and wondering who you can trust. Having supportive peers who know what it feels like to have to come out can really help. There are loads of communities of LGBT+ young people online and in person. Why not reach out and start a chat with someone?
Initial reactions can change
You don’t have to keep arguing. Consider letting this settle and coming back to the conversation (if safe) when things are less heated. Remember you’ve likely been thinking about and preparing for this for a long time, but this news may be a sudden surprise for your parents, and you might have caught them off guard. That doesn’t, of course, excuse their hostile reaction, but it may be that over time they might try to understand and accept you. As a counsellor I’ve worked with many clients whose parents have ended up becoming more supportive after the initial reaction. This sometimes takes days or even years.
Support is out there
If your parents have kicked you out, you might be wondering where on earth you can be safe again. Is there anyone in your life who you might be able to crash with for a bit while things settle for you? If you find yourself with nowhere to live this can be incredibly scary.
- The Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) supports LGBT+ young people aged 16 to 25 in the UK who are homeless or living in hostile environments. Get support here.
- For general LGBT+ support and info you can contact LGBT+ Switchboard, or, for trans-specific support there’s Mermaids.
- Ditch the Label is also here to provide support on all the issues that affect you the most, from coming out to dealing with difficult relationships. Go to the community for support now.
Remember, this is YOUR journey
Lastly, remember only you can decide what this coming out means to you. Maybe you’ll be able to keep living in hope that your parents will start to accept you. Then again, maybe you decide things feel so bad that you choose to remove them from your life for the sake of your own mental health. You don’t have to make any decisions immediately. Ultimately, try to do what you can to look after your own safety and mental health.
Chloe Foster has a background in working in mental health and youth work. Today she runs Sussex Rainbow Counselling where she specialises in counselling LGBTQ clients online.
Chloe holds a postgraduate diploma in psychotherapeutic humanistic counselling from The University of Brighton. She is also an approved accredited registrant member of the National Counselling Society, and an accredited gender, sexuality and relationship diversities therapist with Pink Therapy.