How will your parents react to your coming out? Do they already suspect something, without asking you the question directly, or will the surprise (and sometimes the shock) be total? Not easy to know for sure when you announces your homosexuality to your immediate family. Understanding coming out from your parents' point of view and preparing for it (so that it goes as well as possible) seems essential to us. Follow the leader !
Coming out: a clash of representations
The goal: to put all the chances on your side so that you live this important moment as serenely as possible.
Your parents, like any other individual, are shaped by their experiences, but also their education, their culture, their religion and many other external factors of which they are not always aware. Even if you surely have an idea of their position on the subject, do not forget that there are chances that your revelation will come up against preconceived ideas on their side.
Think about how they will receive the news.
A Canadian study has highlighted different emotional reactions of parents when their child comes out. And the most represented is parental distress: negative emotions felt during the announcement ranging from disorientation to shock, pain, sadness or anger.
Do these majority negative reactions mean the non-acceptance of their child's sexual orientation? Not necessarily. These are hot, uncontrolled emotions.
For some parents, what is expressed here is the fear that their son or daughter will suffer homophobic violence, be the victim of prejudice or the fears linked to exposure to HIV, in particular among gay boys.
For others, there may be disappointment related to their preconceived ideas: they already imagined your heterosexual marriage, their grandchildren coming from a traditional family pattern. In reality, it is their expectations that are disappointed, what they projected. It's not up to you to carry that weight, even if we know that's easier said than done!
Some may then have difficulty accepting their child's homosexuality, but that comes later and this time is no longer a hot reaction, but a potentially more lasting attitude: questioning homosexuality or transidentity, talking about "passade", wondering what they did for you to become gay or lesbian, even rejection.
The timing of your coming out also matters a lot: choose it carefully. Avoid talking about your homosexuality, bisexuality or transgender identity in the middle of a heated discussion or during a large family gathering. The social pressure linked to other members of the extended family or the tense context of the moment can make your coming out of the closet impossible to receive in a serene way.
3 mistakes to avoid to successfully come out to your parents
To properly prepare the announcement to your family, there are 3 big mistakes to avoid! If you're stuck on the words to use, you can also take inspiration from texts to come out of the closet [link to: TEXTS TO ANNOUNCE] that we have created.
Mistake 1: Not preparing the ground
If you are totally dependent on your parents, live with them, do not have your own sources of income, etc. It is even more important to test the waters upstream. Your safety remains the priority.
You can :
- Observe and listen to your family circle during debates around LGBT+ issues,
- Watch movies or shows that address the subject of homosexuality or trans identity with them to see their attitude,
- Probe with small questions, for example if you have someone in your entourage who has already come out, start the discussion about this person with your parents.
You probably already know the general opinion of your loved ones on homosexuality or gender issues. Even if it seems positive, keep in mind that hot reactions can be negative when surprised. And if you think the announcement will be a real shock to them, factor that into how you're going to come out to your parents.
Mistake 2: being alone with your family
"What happens in the family stays in the family" Yes, but not in fact! If you need to be surrounded or supported: do not deprive yourself of it.
Whatever happens, it is important to connect with people in the gay, lesbian or transgender community who understand what you are going through. That's what we do at HappyGayTV with this great community!
If your siblings are already in the know and have respected your choice not to tell your parents until then, they can be very supportive.
If you have close friends who accept you as you are, you can invite them to come with you on the day you come out to your parents. If these friends also know your parents, their presence will be even more accepted.
Obviously, there is no question of others talking to your family for you, but having kind support is reassuring and will help you take the plunge! Build a support network around you to support you no matter how your parents react.
Mistake 3: Waiting for their immediate full acceptance
They are different people from you, with their own representations, their first reaction will not necessarily be the one you hoped for, understand that they have a way to go that concerns only them and their own projections.
You yourself may have taken a long time to accept your homosexuality: months, maybe years!
If they have never questioned your sexual orientation or gender identity, they may be very surprised and unsure how to handle this new information. Do not expect full and complete acceptance from them from the first minutes.
Their first reaction will not necessarily be their final position.
You can even take the lead with a sentence like " I know this may come as a surprise to you and it may take you some time to accept this part of me that I haven't shown you before. . The important thing for me is that I no longer have to lie to you about who I really am. »
Or even explain to them what you expect from them, like " I haven't talked about it with you until now, because I felt like I had to keep my homosexuality a secret for fear of being rejected. I would be happy if you could take the time to..." (we let you complete with what matters to you!)
You can even prepare resources for them to help them better understand what you are going through on your side, and sometimes to deconstruct their prejudices.
To go further together :
- What if your coming-out was running in disaster? HappyGayTV can help you avoid such a fiasco!
We now invite you to come out with insurance and success. Now join our Academy with its exclusive and proven methods! Discover the 11 essential questions that you absolutely have to ask yourself before you come out.
Before acting, be sure of your true sexual orientation. Learn how, when and why do your coming out. Prepare you like a sportsman, avoids the most frequent errors and the most subtle traps.
Communication is essential. Manages reactions, avoids conflicts, maintaining harmonious relationships. No longer lets fear hold you down. Click here to join our Academy and embrace your true identity.
- Feel bad about yourself as gay or transgender?
Click here to discover the solutions that we are able to offer you to get better.
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