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What's the best way to react to extended family's questions once you've come out?

19 Answers
Last Updated: 10/29/2019 at 2:36pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Stacy Overton, PhD.


I am an enthusiastic life-long learner and also a professor of counseling. I have a passion for peoples stories and helping to guide and empower the human spirit.

Top Rated Answers
March 26th, 2015 5:08am
Try your best to answer them. As long as the questions aren't disrespectful of course. Hopefully they are just trying their best to understand you so they are better able to support you. Give them that opportunity.
October 3rd, 2017 6:56pm
People tend to be confused once we've come out. They ask questions and that's normal. If you're comfortable with answering them, go ahead, but if not just say you don't know or you don't feel comfortable saying. If anyone is making you feel uncomfortable you don't have to say anything to them.
January 11th, 2015 6:08am
The best way to handle it is to use lighthearted humor while standing your ground. You will gain more with patience for family member's questions. Adjusting and accepting a big change can be a tricky and lengthy process. If your family members are asking questions, it means they are most likely trying to understand. It'll be better in the long run if you answer with patience and humor while standing your ground with calm, assertive energy.
June 26th, 2018 10:47pm
The best way to do this is when you’re ready. Once you’re ready, starting out with a member or two of your extended family and telling them and explain to them that you’ve come out might relief the anxiousness you could be facing.
January 18th, 2015 6:52pm
Appreciate that questions are far better than silence and answer with a sense that you are talking about something as normal and right as anything else.
April 29th, 2015 8:09am
Be polite, but remember you only have to share as much as you're comfortable with. You don't owe them anything.
July 27th, 2015 1:29pm
I think you should be patient as much as you can be but still, I think there should be a limit. I mean if they start to be rude and agressive about their questions then I think you should do what is right for you. But other than that, being patient is the best way to go. I hope you have a nice family who is willing to learn and change when needed. :)
September 7th, 2015 9:35pm
I find that it's most important to be true to yourself, than please others. Be you, and if they don't accept you, then that's just too bad.
January 4th, 2016 6:19pm
Openly and honestly. Oftentimes people are just curious, and they may not be able to express themselves perfectly all the time. Just explain things and realize that it's confusing to some people.
March 22nd, 2016 1:16am
The best way to react to extended family's questions once you've come out is to know what you're talking about and be prepared for all of the questions that they may have. The best way to be ready for this is to prepare, prepare, prepare.
May 9th, 2016 9:20pm
Personally, the best way to react to questions from extended family after coming out is to just do it. Back when I was interested in another girl (I'm female), I instantly went to my family. My extended family asked tons of questions, and I responded to them all. Just do it!
June 27th, 2016 9:26am
Be generous to inform the details, at least they are taking the interest to know. It will be difficult for them to understand as maybe they are not used to it yet, but once they see that you are comfortable with it they will be too.
July 26th, 2016 5:33am
Respect their questions as long as the question was said for good intentions, and just be calm and confident.
February 21st, 2017 4:55am
With patience. If they accept you and are trying to learn more, you need to realize that they are using these questions to get to know you better and to understand you without offending you. If they ask a question that offends you, let them know calmly and explain why so they don't do it again.
July 10th, 2017 1:43pm
Answer them honestly. Your family wishes to understand you and you need to help them with that. They will love you and support you no matter what the situation is!
December 11th, 2017 1:13pm
i would say to try and answer their questions as best you can, most of their questions will come from a place of not knowing or being misinformed rather than a place of malice. if their questions anger or upset you in anyway, if they sound like they arent understanding, try not to take offense as for the most part they dont realise that their questions are causing offense.
July 2nd, 2018 9:57am
When we come out, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by questions from our close ones. Thing is, you'll do your best. Maybe you'll be ok with answering them, maybe you won't. In any case, try to keep your own limits at eyesight : it's not your job to educate people or to feed their (sometimes not very sane) curiosity. It can get exhausting and draining. Some tips could be : - be clear about your limits and boundaries (how are your energy levels, are you in a mood to answer questions about your private life, what's off limits in term of informations you're ok to give, etc....) and respect them ^^ - Get some ressources, links, leaflets etc that can be useful for your family, to help them educate themselves : it'll save you time and energy, and it'll give them the freedom to learn at their own pace... Some leaflets even list the questions to avoid asking after a coming-out...^^ Depending on how you feel, how the questions are asked, by whom, how much energy you've got, etc, you may want to react by educating them yourself, sending them to documents or organisations, telling them to ask later or to stop asking/harrassing you, answering with humor, or with anger, or even ignoring them. You've got the right to be angry, tired or hurt by questions, and you definitely have the right to express how you feel when people ask you this or that question. For instance : "Listen, I'm sorry but you're the tenth person who ask me about my sex life / my genitals / any intimate subject, so you can it's really deshumanizing for me, I have a right for privacy and I'm not sure you would ask that question to anyone else... So please, I'd like you to stop asking me that kind of questions, thanks." Or "I know it worries you and you wonder what my future will be. For now I can't answer all of that, I just need you to trust me. I'm fine. If you've got worries, there are some LGBTQI+ organisations that can talk with family, or you can talk with some therapists LGBTfriendly. Woudl that be ok with you ?" Hope it helps :)
- Expert in LGBTQ+ Issues
August 5th, 2019 11:21am
If their questions are respectful and they ask simply because they don't know something about your reality and want to understand you better, you can answer open-heartedly and give them a chance to learn something and understand you better. If their questions are unsensitive and unwelcomed, you have the right to stand your ground and tell them what is wrong with their question or simply that you don't feel like answering it. It's ok, you're not obliged to tell them things you don't wish to share, what you do or do not share is entirely up to you.
October 29th, 2019 2:36pm
Congratulations on coming out! Self-acceptance is extremely important, and opening up to your family is a sign of bravery. Well done! Questioning your sexual orientation can be a long and difficult process, and coming out can be more so. In response to your family's questions, you should answer with as much honesty as you can- you just revealed a whole new part of yourself to them they've never seen before. Asking questions is a good sign, one that may be leading to support. Remember, your family may be confused and/or curious to understand your sexuality. Asking questions is vital to accepting you, one step at a time and may hopefully lead to your family supporting you unconditionally. This is why answering your family's questions with honesty and patience is important. It may seem annoying to answer their (maybe) repetitive or boring questions, but they are just trying to understand who you are.