A Conversation for Advice on Coming Out

Parents and family

Post 1


A friend gave me a perspective I hadn't thought of: that when you come out to your parents and friends, it's usually when you've had a chance to come to terms with your sexuality. They haven't. Unless they've always known or suspected the truth, they'll probably be quite shocked and need time to calm down. Some of their initial reactions will be very far away from how they feel later.

I think that most parents have an idea of what they want their kids to be, based on their own hopes and dreams and what they think their kids' talents and aspirations are. Many parents simply *assume* that their children will grow up and get married and have children just like they did, and when their child says "I'm bi/lesbian/gay/transgendered/transvestite", all their most basic assumptions about their world come crashing down around them. Not a comfortable place to be.

So you have someone who has screwed up all their courage to tell the people most important in their lives that they're not what they've been assumed to be, and their parents have the rug pulled out from under them. It can result in everyone getting very upset and saying things they genuinely regret later. As people have said, the shock is the main problem. The advantage the person coming out has is preparedness; if they can just hold onto that in the face of possible fireworks, and remember that their parents are probably simply trying to cope with the fact that they got it wrong for years about their own child, they've got it cracked, I think.

The other thing is that there is no "perfect time" to come out. Waiting for the ideal moment will have you waiting forever. I had planned to tell my parents about my religion (I'm Pagan), but they found out by accident and spent the whole night before seeing me working themselves into hysterics about me having joined a "mind control cult". It was not pretty, but the relief on my part was tremendous. That's another thing to hang onto - that weight lifting off your chest and shoulders as you realise you no longer have to censor your every conversation.

I do like the suggestion of having somewhere set up to stay for a few days if you live with your parents. That seems to me to be very helpful.

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Parents and family

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