What are some good things to have in place before coming out to your parents that might not be accepting?
Last Updated: 08/05/2019 at 2:03am
Melissa Hudson, MS Ed, PhD(c), LMFT
Marriage & Family Therapist
I work with clients of diverse backgrounds on a multitude of concerns. My approach is, at times, directive, yet always curious, nonjudgmental, collaborative, and validating.
Top Rated Answers
Have a good support group, formal or informal, or at least a friend who knows you're coming out and can be there for you afterward (or if there's no one in your life right now to support you, find people in the LGBTQ Forum or elsewhere who will be there for you in spirit ; some may have already come out and perhaps you'll inspire other people to do so in the future ). If you are coming out as trans (my older son is), have some literature for them on what it is to be trans and perhaps links to articles on trans people who share their religion or other values; media portrayals of gay and trans people can be extreme and may show only LGBTQ people in trouble rather than the whole range of people leading all kinds of lives(including happy and boringly average--in a good way--ones!) Think about the love and connections between you and your parents and good memories you share so that you can remind them that you will always be you and will always love them. Be prepared to be patient -- your mom and dad may respond differently than each other and both may need some time to get used to the news (and may be more accepting in time). It takes time to get used to changes in what we thought was fundamental about our kids. Hold a vision of the best possible outcome and the best part of your parents' nature and give them the benefit of the doubt. Since our son transitioned (FTM), we have been amazed at how we have heard only positive things from friends and family -- about how brave he is to do so and what an amazing person he is and how we are so supportive. And so many people astonished us by revealing that they have trans friends and coworkers and extended family (they may have seemed too straight-laced, too Republican, or too religious but it turns out that we were the ones who judged them unfairly!) Even the Pope just wrote some very positive things on how to support people who are transgender, so it's possible that your parents may surprise you. Finally, whatever happens, whatever it is you are coming out about, have a healthy, nurturing treat or experience planned in the days afterward to reward yourself for your courage. This is your one wild and beautiful life to design for your own happiness so go for it! Good luck!
I came out to my parents before I came out to anyone else. Before I went in there I had to be accepting with my parents (even though I was the one coming out!) because I know there was a chance they wouldn't accept me as who I am, at first my dad didn't but I reminded him I was still the same daughter he knows and loved. He came around eventually.
reminding your parents how much you love and respect them; and how hard it has been for you to hold a big secret from them; remind them that things might not be as complicated as they think it would
Make sure that the environment is safe. If it's not, stay closeted. Your safety is top priority. Make sure you have a back up of supportive friends and relatives that will take you under their wing if something goes wrong. Finally, ease your parents into it! Don't drop them head first into the water and hope they know how to swim! Provide resources and become very educated so if they have questions, you have answers. If you're coming out with a new gender identity, remember that your pronouns and name are very new, so be flexible if your parents accidentally mess up :)
Try talking about LGBTQ things before coming out to them, such as a gay pride parade coming to town, or asking their opinion on gay rights to see what their opinions and reactions are. This will give you a better comprehension of what kind of reaction they'll have.
Have a support network in place, make sure your friends or the rest of your family can support you if they are not as understanding as you had hoped. Just make sure that your self worth doesn't depend on their approval. Your still an amazing person!
A place you can stay for a worst case scenario. A good friend. A support system; really just some form of security for yourself.
I find that having a support system in crucial. Sometimes, it can be hard for parents to come to terms with their children's sexuality or gender, and having someone to talk to, preferably an adult, is an amazing resource. Consider contacting a teacher, consular, friendly parent, other family member etc. if you feel your parents may not be supportive.
Sit them down and slowly ease into the topic. don't try and force yourself to come out if you're not ready
Make sure you are safe. If you feel unsafe about coming out please know what sources you have that can help you. Call a trusted friend and ask if it's possible to stay for a few days. Look into LGBT support groups that you could reach out. The biggest thing is that you are safe on all fronts (physical, mental, emotional ....)
Some good things to have in place are a support network such as friends or support groups. Another thing you may need is a place to stay if they don't take it too well.
Begin to speak to your parents about LGBT+, as they may start to suspect that you are LGBT. Your parents might talk to you about coming out instead of you coming out without them suspecting anything.
Realize that you are from a different social context and generation, and that they grew up in a very different social context and generation. So, that basically means most of the information they have on your sexuality, most probably, comes from movies, TV shows, and conversations they have had, or heard about. So, when you are "coming out," you are really just having a conversation to make them feel comfortable. Sit down with them, share what you want to tell them, and help them become comfortable. Have them ask you questions, and answer them. Explain it to them. Even if they ask "rude," or "mean" questions--or even "inappropriate" questions--realize they do not know. And, that is why you are there. To help them become more comfortable.
This is always a very hard topic, but I first and foremost suggest a place where you can stay, even just temporarily, like a friends house. Have a backpack on when you tell them, packed with any money you have, a blanket, warm clothes, water, and food like protein bars. Also, if you can, it's helpful if there is another LGBT supportive family member (like aunts, uncles, siblings) that can help talk your parents down. And I know it's really nice to be out of the closet, but if it really seems like coming out will lead to dangerous situations, you might want to stay in and try to figure things out a little better. I hope this helped, and that your parents will accept you!
It's best if you're not minor, you should probably have a place to stay if they really don't accept you, and patience because they might be in a shock and react badly in the heat of the moment, but I think most parents come around, because in the end you are their child.
You should have a plan depending on how unaccepting you think your parents might be. If you think they might kick you out then have a plan to stay at someone else's house, if they just disrespect you than prove to them that you deserve their respect and that you haven't changed by coming out.
An alternate place to live in case they put you out of the house and a job are the best things to have to prepare for this. That way if they turn their backs on you you can take care of yourself.
It's always a good idea to make sure you've got a good foundation on what you're trying to convey. Be sure to understand your own sexual, romantic, or gender orientation before coming out to a parental figure. If you are nervous, make sure there is a place for you to calm down after coming our. It's important to remember that not everyone will have the same views as you. If you're having trouble coming up with words, consult a person close to you, so you will know exactly what you're trying to say. Most importantly, make sure it's safe for you to come out.
It can help you to build yourself a supportive network of people to rely on, so in case anything goes wrong, you know you won't be alone and you'll have trusted people by your side to support you through this. It may also be useful to try to prepare yourself for any question they may have, so you'll feel more comfortable when you'll decide it's the moment to tell them.
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