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Coming Out to Your Parents, Guardians, or Loved Ones

It’s important to note that everyone’s story is unique. There is no one size fits all, and there is no ultimate guideline or script. This is about you. What emboldens you? What empowers you? What uplifts you? If those answers lead you to coming out, then here are three important points to consider.

1) Your timing is your timing

There is no right or wrong time to come out to your parents or guardians. There is only your timeline. This could be freeing and empowering to release, but it does not have to feel rushed or forced. It will take bravery, but you can do hard things (you reading this is a thoughtful testament to that). There is no absolute, ultimate right way to breach the conversation. I’ve had clients come out through text, email, or in person. This is about you, your life, and your sexuality. You should feel emboldened to express yourself in whatever means you feel is appropriate to your relationship with your parents and to the comfort and safety of yourself.

Some thoughts to consider:

How do I anticipate this conversation to go? Do I want to answer questions and have a conversation? Do I just want to deliver information and have them process on their own? Is there a preferred setting where I would feel most comfortable?

Counselor’s can engage in role play to simulate this conversation. This could help replicate feelings that might come up, and help provide you with tools to work through before they arise with the ones you love.

After you’ve come to the conclusion to come out to your parents, it’s important to note that their initial reaction isn’t always their final reaction.

2) Their initial reaction doesn’t necessarily mean their final reaction

Their reaction might come from a place of fear, and it might be disappointing and initially hurtful. In juxtaposition, they could surprise you and come from a place of instant love and support. It’s important to note that how they initially respond does not mean it is their ultimate stance. It is the beginning and opening of a conversation. It could take time and adjustment. As we still live within a heteronormative narrative, difference is scary for people (especially guardians). They can still love you, and they can still not react the way in which you feel celebrated. This is an unfortunate truth, but it’s also okay to feel that in the moment. This is a journey, and I’ve found that most relationships strengthen after time through the total honesty humans can have with each other. There is more genuineness to truth, and you being genuine will only help you in the long run. Despite their reaction, it’s important to note that

3) You are loved and supported no matter what

If the initial conversation did not go as well as you’d hoped, it’s important to acknowledge those feelings but to keep the aerial perspective that you are not alone. There are millions of LGBTQIA+ humans who are looking to connect, looking to share, and looking to support. Reach out to friends, coworkers, and family who love you. Embrace and take in all their love and support. Sometimes all it takes is reaching out to one loving person to help make you feel seen and heard again.

After it’s all said and done, appreciate and thank yourself. For your bravery, your perseverance, and your honesty. It is a rare and admirable quality, that will continue to foster a beautiful relationship with your most authentic self.

Thank you for reading. Hope you go on to have a bright and emboldened day.

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