Coming out as queer (which is an umbrella term used for people of sexual and gender minorities who are not cisgender and/or heterosexual) can feel very daunting. For most people, coming out to their parents may be the most important, yet difficult, step to make.
Everyone should come out in their own time. Think about why you’d like to come out to your parents. Do you feel ready to do so? Do you feel pressured by others or by your partner? Coming out is about you and no one else. If you feel that you are doing this to please others, you might lose sight of what is really important, which is your peace of mind and happiness. Focusing on yourself and what you need is the first step to take. If you feel ready to come out, but don’t feel that you fit a particular ‘term’ such as lesbian, gay, bisexual etc.. don’t worry too much about it, as this is absolutely fine. If, however, a specific term feels right and may help you in your experience of forming your sexual identity, listen to your feelings and feel free to use whichever term and pronoun you prefer.
Before you come out to your parents, it might be helpful to read people’s testimonials about their experience of coming out. There are many stories and videos online which could give you a better idea of what you can possibly expect and how you can do it in different ways, according to your personality, culture and beliefs. Most people go through very similar thoughts and feelings, and knowing that you are not alone might help you feel a bit more empowered, and it may also bring a sense of acknowledgement and relief.
Coming out to your parents can be very stressful and it is very common to feel nervous or anxious, and because of this, it might probably be a good idea to make a plan beforehand, as this can support you in your decision.
- Talk to a trusted friend, relative or mental health professional
If there is anyone who already knows that you are gay and is a person who supports you, you can talk to them about your fears and ask for their advice. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can also ask them to join you whilst telling your parents. If not, you can ask them to meet up for a supportive chat after you speak to your parents.
- Make a plan of what you’d like to say
Writing down what you’d like your parents to know or how you’d like to explain your experience, may help you identify what is most important to say, how much or how little detail you’d like to go into, and how you think you could answer their questions best.
In the second part of the blog we shall continue exploring what can support you in this very meaningful step in your life.
Claire Borg is a gestalt psychotherapist at Willingness. She works with adolescents and adults. She has a special interest in mental health. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.