There is no single, sure-fire way of telling your parents that you are lesbian or gay. Just as no two families are exactly the same so the method, even the words, will vary from one family to the next. But many reactions are common to all families, and knowing this, it is often possible to work out the best method for your family. Very few parents imagine that their children could possibly be lesbian or gay. Even those who may have had suspicions still feel shocked, sad or angry when confronted with the fact. Try to understand this. You have had, perhaps, several years to gradually come to terms with the fact that you are lesbian or gay. Your parents, when you tell them will have had no time at all. Although teenagers sometimes find it difficult to accept that no one knows them as well as their parents there is no denying that they have watched you develop from birth to the present moment. So they will find it hard to accept that there is a side to you they never knew about.
In the immediate reaction there are certain things that nearly all parents say. These include "How can you be sure at your age?" "I went through a phase like this, you'll grow out of it". "You haven't tried hard enough with the opposite sex", and, ominously, "What about this terrible AIDS?" These are difficult things to answer if you feel at all unsure of yourself.
If you are young and under the age of consent legally, after a recent equalisation of the law in the United Kingdom, 16 for both homosexuals and heterosexuals (Age of consent in other countries) remember there are two aspects to your situation. The first one is your homosexual feelings, and the second one is your sexual experience, if any. You should therefore carefully consider to what extent you are going to reveal yourself to your parents. Be very careful in countries where homosexuality is illegal.
Homophobia (hatred or prejudice against homosexuals) has many forms but it is based upon ignorance and can be dispelled by knowledge. Remember your parents will have to consider how they will deal with relatives, neighbours, friends, and perhaps their employers or the local church who may become aware that you are lesbian or gay. Try to understand this concern, perhaps point out that you too have to deal in greater measure with the hatred of others. Your parents' reaction may be to become overprotective. Remember that to balance all the homophobia, there exists a lot of positive and enlightened thought and attitudes.