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What's the best way to cope with family members who will not accept your sexual orientation?

15 Answers
Last Updated: 04/13/2020 at 6:40pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
South Africa
Moderated by

Claudette Pretorius, MA Counselling Psychology

Licensed Professional Counselor

I know how overwhelming it can feel when you're having a tough time. I offer clients a space that is non-judgemental and empathetic whilst navigating these times together.

Top Rated Answers
Erynn
January 14th, 2015 8:22am
It can be very helpful to cultivate a supportive community outside of your family. For many, the ideal supportive community is close friends. But, a local queer group can be a good place to start searching for supportive friends if you don't have many/any supportive friends yet, and it can also help extend your supportive social circle. Queer events can also be fun and empowering. There are also many online communities and resources you can access to find support. When I am having a hard time, I enjoy: queer music, reading queer history, reading books with queer characters, reading queer studies articles, queer youtubers, watching drag, LGBTQ+ films, tumblr, and LGBTQ+ news sources. Your family may change their opinions, and I hope that they do. But even if they don't, there is an entire community ready to support you. Hang in there. It can get better.
RoxyPeeps
February 15th, 2015 6:37pm
Either cut off communication with them or make sure to avoid them whenever possible. Talking to them will only give you negative feelings you do not need and will not improve the way you feel about your own sexual orientation.
GentleMom
May 11th, 2015 3:10am
Be patient...some people change. Our society is becoming more understanding. Until then, remember that you don't need anyone's permission to be you.
4you247
June 9th, 2015 1:04pm
Time is a great healer for them. Do not focus on a lack of acceptance, but perhaps a shock factor that they are dealing with in their own way. How they feel now is unlikely to be lasting. Stay strong and true to yourself :)
Waterbear
June 14th, 2015 6:48am
They will generally get more accepting with time. It can also help to get other parents of LGBT people to talk to them. Try to spend as much time as you can with people who are accepting, so you have something to counteract your family members' worldview.
Anonymous
November 10th, 2015 11:46am
Cut them out of your life or help them understand that who you are is what you've always been even if you don't look like it.
serenePresence54
November 16th, 2015 2:06am
Talk to those that are accepting because sometimes you just need to be in a positive environment. Some of them may even come around in time because some of my family members have because they have learned more about the LGBTQ+ community through me and have become more understanding. The sad thing is that there is no promises that all of them will come around but you need to allow yourself to feel the love and positivity from the ones in your family that are accepting you.
friendlyMoment33
December 28th, 2015 6:31am
The best way is time. Continue to talk and have open discussion with those family members, because there is a good chance the are just incorrectly informed. If they aren't coming around then move on and fill your life with positive people.
Anonymous
February 23rd, 2016 12:03am
The best way to communicate with your family member would try and sit them down. if they will not except you for who you are just give them sometime.
politeFish31
March 1st, 2016 5:27am
Depending on which country, what laws and how 'homophobic' they are, it is a brave step to come out, but coming out of the closet can be managed so that you don't find yourself in compromised situations. Be smart about it, but at the end of the day, your parents are your parents being true to yourself despite what may happen, it will set you free!
praesenti
September 5th, 2016 1:18pm
Try to not start conflict, rather take a careful approach and try to engage them in conversation about why they think they way they think. As hard as it may be, try to ignore their negative words. If it's becoming abusive and you feel threatened, I think you should take contact with a trusting adult that you feel can help.
listenercat5678
October 18th, 2016 9:59pm
Tell them that it's not something that will change who you are. You are the same person you were and always will be. Good luck!
Anonymous
March 28th, 2017 2:14pm
It's really tough, but one way I've learned to cope with it is to find supportive friends, and sometimes even an accepting community online where you can casually and openly be yourself while giving your family a bit more time to digest it. Occasionally they don't get over it, but often they do
Clarisse29
October 9th, 2018 7:08pm
Well, it’s best to I guess not really talk about it in front of them and to read enough of stuff so that you can oppose their views and state the correct things and acts if they put up any points like religion and history to justify their non acceptance to our sexual orientation. Also, conservative people are hard to change but in the end they ARE people. So yeah, if you really want them to accept you, you can start attempting to change their point of views. But In the majority of times, if it isnt safe for you to discuss about your sexuality in front of anyone, then you don’t have to do it.
NewDay18
April 13th, 2020 6:40pm
This can be a difficult issue. To some having family support is very important which is very understandable. Every person an family situation is different. I feel education to the family is always a good option. another good option with coping with this is deciding what family truly means to you, weighing the pros and cons of keep this kind of support in your life and committing to make changes to better yourself and your mental health. i am a big believer in most people may not actually be non accepting but just uneducated. Going through this process it is important to know that you have an alternate support system behind you that is free of judgement