How to Come Out to your Family and Loved Ones?
Updated: Mar 29
You have finally teased apart your place in the LGBTQ+ spectrum and now you’re ready to tell your parents and loved ones. It can be a scary and uncertain situation to be in. We understand that it can be hard to manage your expectations and organize your thoughts to be able to finally find the courage to share this part of yourself with others. But remember that this is important so that you live a full life of authenticity, so your parents, friends, and loved ones should hear this from you. Since we know how things could go, it’s important to be ready for all the possible outcomes.
Pick a good time to tell them. Pick a time where they are not distracted and will focus all their attention on you and what you’re telling them. After all, this is important! Try a private intimate moment, perhaps without your other siblings or family members so that it’s just you and your parents. This will provide you with a safe space and opportunity for you and your parents/loved one to discuss things candidly and calmly.
Remember that it could take some time for them to absorb this news. Be prepared to for their possible reactions, as we know that sometimes it could not be what you hoped it would be. It can be difficult for a parent to process and come to terms with your sexuality. Typically, parents, especially heteronormative parents, have expectations of what their children’s life might look like. It tends to look heteronormative. This doesn’t mean that they won’t come around one day, but it also doesn’t mean that they will. People need time to process and grief their own ideals, thoughts, and hopes. It’s important to communicate with them about the situation and let them ask any questions. Be open and understanding, you’ve had many years to process your own sexuality and/or gender identity, now it’s their turn.
As stated previously, be ready to be asked questions and possibly even teach your parents/loved ones about your sexuality/gender in a way that makes sense to them. Provide them with material to read. I know that the whole non-binary thing could be pretty new to the older folks, so providing them with more knowledge and perspective on the subject could open doors. In previous blog posts on LGBTQ+ folks, I have provided some resources that include support groups, community services, and even religious support. Read it HERE.
Lastly, it’s important to ensure your safety. We know it’s not safe for everybody to come out. Some of us know from our parents/family comments if LGBTQ+ folks would be accepted. Some families might not even tolerate LGBTQ+ youth living in their home or being part of the family. Sometimes it might be safer to disclose this if you have been living on your own or if you have plans on what to do if things go south. I have written another blog about dealing with parents/families that aren’t accepting of LGBTQ+ people that could help if this is a factor in your life. In previous blog posts on LGBTQ+ folks, I have provided some resources that include support groups, community services, and even religious support. Read it HERE
I hope that when you do decide to come out to your family and loved ones that it is a happy, welcoming, and affirming experience, but like it was stated before that isn’t always the case or maybe our nerves might get the best of us. It’s important to remember that coming out should be YOUR choice and when YOU want to. There is no shame in hanging out in the closet until then. Good luck, friends.