One of the most intimidating prospects for any GLBT young adult is the thought of coming out to their friends and family.

What to Expect

How your loved ones react to the news will depend on the individuals. Remember that you aren't alone – many people before you have had to tell people about their sexuality, too. As time goes by, more and more people are beginning to accept and understand homosexuality. Still, especially in rural areas, some people may not be aware of the existence of LGBT+ people or might have heard myths that you will have to dispel. Being open to answering questions they have will help to ease some tension.

How to Tell Them

If you aren't sure how they'll react, test the waters first by bringing up a related issue like gay marriage, gay or bisexual characters on a TV show. You can judge from their reactions how they will likely respond to your news. Many teens find it easier to simply avoid telling too many people. Start with someone whom you trust and whom you think will react positively, rather than negatively. This might be your best friend, teacher, or family friend. Once you have successfully come out to one person or more, it will start to become easier. If your family strongly opposes homosexuality, it might be easier to avoid telling them until after you move out on your own (depending on how comfortable you are with your sexual orientation being a secret).

Emphasize to them that you're still the same person as always, and you'll answer questions that they might have. They might even surprise you and say that they've always guessed you weren't straight!

With a little careful planning and open-mindedness on both parts, it might end up being a positive experience for everyone.

Safety First

Always remember that you cannot predict how people will react to this news. While coming out can be a big weight off of your shoulders it can also be very dangerous depending on the circumstances. If you have tested the waters and still think your friends, family, or others might not be accepting, then it might not be a good idea to "spill the beans".

Coming out is not required. You are who you are whether or not you tell others. Prioritize your safety and quality of life and if necessary, wait until you are on your own feet in an independent living situation before having the talk with parents.

If you want more advice or ideas on how you might broach the subject in your particular situation please feel free to strike up a conversation in the LGBT+ Family & Games community Discord ( https://discord.gg/lgbtfam ) or reach out to other local LGBT+ organizations for help.

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