Coming out to your parents may be the first step that you’d like to take before letting others know, whilst for others it may be the last step, after telling other relatives, friends and colleagues. Whichever you choose to do, it is entirely up to you. The only crucial aspect is making sure that you feel ready and safe.
In the first part of the blog we discussed some tips of how you can achieve this. In this part of the blog we shall be continuing this.
- Make sure you are safe
If you are worrying that things may not turn out well and that there might be a risk of verbal aggression, make sure to inform someone you trust where you’d be and when so that they can be on call if you need their help. Ideally you should have the conversation with your parents in a quiet but public place where other people would be in the vicinity, and somewhere where you’d be able to leave easily if you need to. If you are worrying that you’d be at risk for physical aggression or that you might get kicked out of your home, it might not be the ideal time to talk to them about your sexual identity. Talk to a professional beforehand if you are worried about this.
- Give them time
If you believe that by telling your parents, you will not be unsafe, you can perhaps talk to them in the comfort of your own home as this might help you, and them, feel more contained. Even though your parents might not react negatively, this does not mean that they might not need time to process it. You might have needed months or years to reach a place where you feel comfortable with being queer. Your parents will need time to assimilate this as they might have not seen it coming. Surprise and shock does not necessarily mean disapproval. It also doesn’t mean that you’ve done anything wrong or that as parents, they are now seeing you differently. They may have questions and may also need support. It might be a good idea to direct them to professionals, services or online material which can guide your parents in getting the right information about how best to support you and to support themselves.
Finally, be proud of yourself for having this conversation. Regardless of how your parents take the news, having this conversation means that you are putting yourself as a priority, which is great. Do not dwell too much on how the conversation goes, as it is very normal to have conversations which might not go exactly as planned. You will have time to follow up later on. Obviously, the experience is different for everyone but hopefully this step will mean that you feel freer, and that you can start living your life more authentically.
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.