Coming out to anybody in this world, no matter who they are (friends, siblings, parents, etc.) can be one of the toughest experiences in the world, mostly because you do not know how they are going to react and worse, whether or not they will accept you for who you are. This is why when you’re sharing something so intensely personal with people, you have to be careful. This is not because you might go wrong, but because your actions (or words) might bring out bad reactions from people. Especially if those people happen to be your parents. So the question you should be asking yourself is "What is the best way to come out to your parents?" But don’t worry, we have it covered.
How to Come Out to Your Parents
Choose the right time and place
This is very essential. For something so serious, you need to have the complete attention of your parents. Don’t come out to them when they’re watching their favorite TV soap or a football match. And never make the mistake of coming out to them when you’re out on family events. No. Your parents need a peaceful and quiet place to process the bomb you’re going to drop on them. Do it when they’re alone and have enough time to process the new information that you’ll share with them.
Be prepared for the worst
Irrespective of how your parents might feel about you being LGBTQ+, you have to prepare yourself for the worst. That’s because if the worst really comes to pass, you are already prepared for it and won’t be heartbroken over your parents’ reaction. But if they do accept you with open arms, you’ll be on top of the world!
Give them time
While you’re pondering over how to come out to your parents, know that while you have been aware of your sexuality for months or even year, all they will have is a few minutes to process this important information about you. It is natural for your parents to have preconceived notions or expectations about how LGBTQ+ people are, so just give them time to process all this.
Tell them this is just as difficult for you
Sometimes parents don’t understand the level of stress you’re under because of bearing the burden of being closeted. Explaining to them that it’s just as tough on you as it is on them makes them more likely to listen to you with an open mind.
Explain why you are coming out
It’s the same concept as mentioned above. Sometimes, parents overreact more out of concern for their children, like worrying about your future, afraid you will be alone and lonely, etc. Reassure them that you have your own support system and they needn’t worry about you.
Tell them you’re still the same person
This is important. For your parents, your sexuality is obviously important, but they may be more concerned about if you can still be you. So, you need to make them see that your liking for boys (or girls) doesn’t make you a different person. Also remember to tell your parents that you still love them.
Never respond with anger
Because while you know everything that is considered gay friendly and homophobic, your parents are 99% not aware of which words and phrases are considered homophobic. It’s not their fault – blaming them for their lack of LGBTQ+ related info is like they being angry at you for not knowing details about rocket science. So if they do say something offensive, engage in a calm conversation where you can explain to them your point of view. This is one of the most important tips to keep in mind while contemplating how to come out to your parents.
Now this might shock you, but religious people do not hate LGBTQ+ people as much as the media has made you believe. There are many Christian, Buddhist and Hindu groups that openly support gays and participate in gay prides. If you cannot find any such community near you, search for them online and ask for advice. If even that is not possible, simply google some quotes about love, compassion and tolerance from the Bible, Bhagavad Gita, etc. to make your point.
Tell them it’s not just about sex
A LOT of people think that being LGBTQ+ is just a matter of sex. So tell them it’s a LOT more than that! Make sure they know that this is just the beginning of your life, not its end as they picture it.
Be ready to teach them
As already mentioned above, there’s a very good chance your parents know as much about gays as they get to hear from the media, which, let’s be honest, is always an exaggeration. So when they ask you questions, answer them. It doesn’t matter how stupid or offensive they might sound to you – what matters is that your parents’ doubts are cleared. If you’re at a loss, then look to websites like PFLAG or Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People. They have great material which you can download and go through.
Tell them if they can spread the news
Keep this in mind when thinking of how to come out to your parents. Sometimes, sharing your private details (like your sexuality) isn’t as much a deal for parents as it is for you, so make sure they know whether or not this is a private discussion. Don’t expect them to read your mind and carry on with their lives as you want them to.