When and if you decide to come out is a decision that should be entirely up to you. For many, coming out is a process that never seems to end. As you go through life as an LGBTQ+ person, you will consistently meet people to share this part of yourself with. The coming out process is different for everyone, but one experience many share is the daunting task of coming out to their parents.
Because we live in a world where everyone is different, no set of parents is the same. Some parents loudly encourage their kids to be the most authentic versions of themselves, while others aren’t so accepting. Some parents are allies and foster an environment full of love, and others are cold and don’t make it clear to their kids that their home is a safe space.
The first step to coming out to your parents is deciding you want to. Depending on what your family is like, this can be a lot harder than it sounds. If you think you are ready to come out to your parents, keep on reading.
There are a few things you should keep in mind before coming out to your parents.
Although your parents may have a strong presence in your life, understand that you don’t owe them anything. Coming out to them could be a great decision, but it is one you have to make for yourself. Don’t feel pressured to come out before you are ready.
While you shouldn’t lay in bed and contemplate every possible version of events, it can be helpful to consider how your life might change after coming out to your parents. You need to be ready for anything and have a plan in case anything goes poorly. There are many resources available online, such as the Trevor Project’s Coming Out Handbook which was created for LGBTQ+ youth.
Before you come out it is vital to have a support system in place. That could mean a close friend, a counselor, or options like the Trevor Project, where you will find a safe space to text, call, or chat with someone online. If you have a support system in place, no matter how things go when you come out to your parents, you will have people to turn to.
How should you come out to your parents?
Choosing the right time to come out to your parents is important. Read the room and figure out the best moment to share this part of yourself with them. It tends to be best to sit down with them where you have some privacy. This will help you not feel rushed as you are coming out and give you the time and space to say what you need to say.
It is helpful to plan out what you are going to say before coming out to your parents. While sometimes people have success coming out spontaneously, having a word track planned can be handy. You could write down some things you feel are important to share with them, or plan a full script.
You need to understand that while you have had time to think about this, this will be news to your parents. They may not react how you want them to right away, so giving them time to process is key. This doesn’t mean they don’t love you, they just won’t be as prepared for this moment as you are.
How you come out to your parents is entirely up to you. It depends on your family dynamic.
If you still feel it is time to share this part of yourself with your parents, go for it!
You may be questioning if things will change after you share this part of yourself, and they might. Some parents disown their children and even kick them out of their homes after finding out they identify a certain way. According to True Colors United, millions of youth experience homelessness each year, and 40% of them are LGBTQ+.
While these negative possibilities are something you should consider before coming out, change can also be a good thing. You may find relief in getting this off of your chest. Whether or not your parents accept you, this will still take some weight off of you.
Once you get this out in the open you can feel free to celebrate who you are. If your parents embrace this part of you, it will make a real difference in how you feel about yourself and the amount of love in your life.
LGBTQIA+ youth need to know that being who they are is okay. If you are a parent, you should allow your kids to feel pride in who they are. If you are a person who identifies as LGBTQ+, know that you are a beautiful soul who is just as deserving of love and acceptance as anyone else.