Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

Why do I have to tell my parents that I am queer but my straight friends do not have to tell their parents that they are straight?

24 Answers
Last Updated: 11/30/2020 at 1:01pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Lindsay Scheinerman, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

My work with clients is to help them recognize and build on their strengths to find solutions for the conflicts presented in their lives.

Top Rated Answers
Anonymous - Expert in LGBTQ+ Issues
January 13th, 2015 10:56pm
Because of what's called heteronormativity. General society considers heterosexuality to be the "default," so people are generally assumed to be straight and thus don't need to announce their straightness to everyone. Coming out is when those of us who aren't straight correct the assumptions that we are. Similarly, there is cisnormativity in which everyone is assumed to have the same gender identity as the sex they were born as, and amatonormativity which assumes that a heterosexual amorous relationship is the end-all-be-all goal for all humans. Because of these assumptions, we have to "come out" and tell people the reality of who we are. Otherwise, they'll be left believing we're something we aren't. That may be preferable sometimes, especially if your well-being may be at risk if you came out. Many people choose to wait until they are financially independent before telling their parents, just in case. These things shouldn't happen. We should all be accepted and validated for who we are, and we should never be assumed straight or cis-gendered or treated like aliens if we want something other than a fairytale romance. Unfortunately, general society isn't to that point yet, and it's up to us to help get it there. Just remember: if you feel it, it is real and valid, no matter what others try to tell you.
December 13th, 2015 1:19am
This is referred to as heteronormativity. Our social considers that anyone is heterosexual unless they specify they aren't.
March 24th, 2020 7:08pm
it's a double standard! we live in what's called a heteronormative society. it's a big word, but basically it means that in our society, "straight" is considered the default. so everyone assumes you're straight until they're told otherwise. it's really unfortunate, and people are slowly starting to challenge that belief, but it takes a long time for things to change. in the meantime, you can do your part to educate others about how straight isn't the default, so that everyone can teach their future children that and we can go on to make our world a more accepting place.
April 11th, 2015 5:52pm
Because of heteronormality. Hetersexual and cisgender are automatically assumed to be the 'default', even though they are not. Basically, most people assume others to be cis and straight, unless otherwise told so.
June 18th, 2015 2:29pm
I think, in our society, it is assumed that people are straight. And because of that, your parents probably assumed the same for you. Ultimately, it is YOUR choice to tell them otherwise. If you want them to know who you are, and how you identify as a person, that is completely up to you.
- Expert in LGBTQ+ Issues
June 17th, 2019 7:55pm
Since LGBTQ+ identities are a minority, there is this idea that LGBT people should make announcements rather then simply living their life naturally, without making a big deal about it. Straight people are the majority, so people take it for granted that it's the "default" identity. But you are free to live your identity in any way you prefer. You're not obliged to come out, if you don't want to. You can just live your life, follow your heart, do what makes you feel good, without making a big deal or making big announcements. They will still find out who you are, unless you actively try to hide it, but you'll have your chance to deal with it in the way that feels most natural to you.
April 6th, 2015 12:21pm
Because we live on a society that expect the "default behavior" and want to know what is considered outside of it.
April 12th, 2015 10:51pm
In all honesty you don't have to. This is entirely your choice. Allow yourself space and time in order to feel comfortable having that conversation if you so wish but remember there is no rush.
May 8th, 2015 12:54pm
Sadly, because we live in a heteronormative society. This means that in our society, being straight and cis are considered default, and for this reason, most people have a habit of assuming people's gender and sexual/romantic orientations. That's why straight cis people don't have to come out, everyone already assumes that's their identity.
June 23rd, 2015 12:06am
We live in a society that is predominantly heterosexual and cisgender. Because of this, our society assumes being straight is the sexual orientation that we should all be. This is something that is ingrained in our society. For example, a heteronormative assumptoin would be that a man will grow up straight and marry a female. These assumptions form the closet that so many people in the queer community may choose to come out of.
September 14th, 2015 1:59pm
Parents just assume that their child/children are straight because it's the most common sexuality. They do not expect other sexuality therefore they must be informed by the child.
September 16th, 2015 11:45am
I think because society hasn't 100% accepted the LGBTQ community. Most people are straight/cis, so they just assume everyone is straight/cis, though that's not always the case.
November 23rd, 2015 12:14am
Unfortunately, the world tends to assume everyone is straight unless stated otherwise - this bias is called 'heteronormativity'.
December 8th, 2015 4:59pm
Because of the society, because of the our religions. They said us 'being normal is love opposite sex." They still dont get it 'love is love.'
December 12th, 2015 9:17pm
I know it doesn't really make sense, but that is where our society is at right now. I hope that we can grow to not expect our children to be straight, so people won't have to come out. But also, remember, even though coming out is something that many people feel is important, if you don't want to for any reason, you don't have to.
December 15th, 2015 6:38pm
I've actually always asked myself this question. It's like if they say "Oh I'm straight." They don't say anything but if you tell them that you're queer, they make a giant deal out of it like what?
April 11th, 2016 6:03am
This is because in the society its a norm to be straight. Its published in movies and so on. But if you are different from straight it will be a new thing to many even your parents as it is not a norm or widely spoken of.
April 11th, 2016 4:14pm
Okay imagine your straight male friend came home and told his parents he had a girlfriend. Would they be very surprised? Probably not. At least not because it's a girl. If your parents don't already think that you're gay they probably will be surprised if you tell them that your partner is of the same sex as you. Therefore you tell them. They won't be surprised of your partner after your outing. But you can choose if you want to make it a spectacular thing to step out of the closet or if you, just like your straight friends, only introduce your partner without discussing your sexuality before. Nobody can force you to officially announce your gayness.
May 17th, 2016 9:44pm
Technically, if you don't want to tell your parents that you are queer, you don't have to, you'll just be keeping a big part of your life from them. It is kind of unfortunate that it is the way it is and that it has to be such a big deal to "come out" to your family, and that everyone is assumed to be straight unless they say otherwise. It's just the mindset that everyone is in, that straight is the norm, which I hope will change as time passes.
October 18th, 2016 10:05pm
That is something I don't understand either. I guess it is the "coming out" thing that causes the hush hush in the LGBTQAI+ community. But just don't say anything and come home with your boyfriend or girlfriend and see how your parents react.
January 16th, 2017 2:10am
Due to stigma in the past about being queer being "unnatural" probably. It's frustrating, as all relationships and preferences should be treated equally. People are becoming more accepting of things outside the traditional norm set up though, to the point that in the future it won't look anything like it does just now!
January 23rd, 2017 7:35pm
We live in a hetero-normative world, which means, unfortunately, that most of the people expect you to be straight. In order for them to recognise your true self and your sexual orientation, you need to tell people. And while doing that you make change to this world - so maybe one day, queer people would be no different to straight.
August 27th, 2018 3:41am
Sadly in our society being heterosexual is considered default so if we never clarify our sexual orientation people just sort of assume we are straight, sometimes it’s an honest mistake and people don’t really mean anything by it. So coming out to our parents is almost always necessary because though some people can be quite perceptive most need to be told to let go of preconceived assumptions. Remember that coming out, specially to family, is a very important moment, be honest and open with your feelings, and no matter the outcome remember that your sexuality does in no way alter the way you are as a person and how much you are worth.
November 30th, 2020 1:01pm
Straight is assumed to be the default in today's society. Unfortunately, that means that parents will generally assume that you are the "default" unless proven otherwise. This does not mean that being straight is right or wrong, just that it is the norm. While some parents have committed to raising children in a gender-neutral environment, that situation is unfortunately not the norm yet either. Ultimately, you do not have to tell your parents that you are LGBT; that is your decision to make. You should do whatever you feel will be best for you. Hopefully society will continue to normalize LGBT people more and more until people are not forced to come out to anybody if they don't want to.