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The Coming Out Guide for Parents of LGBTQ+ Children

The Coming Out Guide for Parents of LGBTQ+ Children

The Coming Out Guide for Parents of LGBTQ+ Children

Coming out as LGBTQ+ can be a transformative and challenging experience for individuals, but it also profoundly impacts their parents. In this guide, we will explore valuable insights and practical tips to support parents in navigating the journey of their child’s coming out. 

What is the Process of Coming Out?

Coming out is the process of self-acceptance and disclosure of someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation. It can be a complex process, and the support of family and friends is key to helping make it a positive experience for the person coming out.

It can be a difficult process because people may fear rejection or discrimination from those closest to them. Having the support of family and friends can make the experience much less daunting and help to create a safe space for the person to explore and affirm their identity.

Why is it Critical for Parents to Support Their Children When They Come Out?

Support from parents when a child comes out as LGBTQ+ is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Mental Health and Well-being: Rejection or lack of support from family members can profoundly impact a child’s mental health. LGBTQ+ youth who face family rejection are at higher risk of depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. In contrast, supportive parents can protect against mental health challenges.
  2. Positive Self-Identity: When parents support their LGBTQ+ children, they develop positive self-identity and self-esteem. Feeling accepted and loved for who they are fosters self-worth and confidence.
  3. Emotional Safety: A supportive home environment creates emotional safety. LGBTQ+ children should not have to hide or suppress their identities or feelings. Feeling safe at home allows them to express themselves authentically and openly.
  4. Stronger Parent-Child Relationships: Parental support can strengthen the parent-child relationship. It demonstrates that parental love is unconditional and transcends sexual orientation or gender identity. This can lead to closer and healthier bonds between parents and their LGBTQ+ children.
  5. Reducing Risky Behaviors: LGBTQ+ youth without family support are more vulnerable to risky behaviors like substance abuse or unprotected sex. Supportive parents can guide their children toward healthier choices.
  6. Academic and Career Success: When children feel supported and accepted at home, they are better positioned to excel academically and pursue their career goals without the added stress of familial rejection.
  7. Reducing Homelessness: Family rejection significantly contributes to LGBTQ+ youth homelessness. Supportive parents can help prevent their children from becoming homeless and facing street dangers.
  8. Building resilience: Parental support equips LGBTQ+ children with resilience and coping skills. Knowing they have a support system makes them better prepared to handle discrimination or challenges outside the home.
  9. Positive Role Modeling: Supportive parents are positive role models for acceptance and inclusion. Their attitudes and behaviors can influence other family members, friends, and the broader community.
  10. Advocacy and Allyship: Parents who support their LGBTQ+ children often become advocates and allies in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance. Their involvement can have a positive impact on society as a whole.

Tips for Parents When Their Child Comes Out

Here are some tips to consider if your child is coming out:

Creating an Open and Safe Environment

One of the first steps in supporting your child’s coming out is to establish an open and safe environment for communication. Encourage open dialogue, active listening, and reassure your child that their feelings and experiences are valid and respected. For instance, you can let your child know they can come to you if they need to talk by asking questions like “How do you feel about this?” or “What would you like me to do to support you?”.

Show your child that you are open to learning more about what it means to be LGBTQ+. Demonstrate your support by attending a pride event or reading books written by or for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Educate Yourself

Educating yourself about LGBTQ issues is crucial in understanding your child’s journey. Read books, attend workshops, or seek guidance from support groups specialized in LGBTQ topics. By expanding your knowledge, you can better empathize with your child’s experiences and become a more effective ally. For example, the Human Rights Campaign offers a variety of educational resources, including books, videos, and webinars, to help parents and caregivers understand gender identity and expression.

Managing Your Emotions

Coming to terms with your child’s coming out may trigger various emotions. It is essential to recognize and manage these emotions in a healthy way. Seek support from friends, family, or therapists who can provide a space for you to express your feelings and gain clarity.

It is also important to remember that you have the right to take your time to process your emotions. Above all, keep an open mind and a loving heart.

Seeking support networks

Connect with other LGBTQ parents who have gone through similar experiences. Local LGBTQ organizations or online communities can be valuable resources for finding support networks. For instance, PFLAG is a national organization with local chapters around the U.S. that offer support to LGBTQ parents, children, and allies.

PFLAG provides resources on parenting, coming out, and navigating social and legal issues. They also offer educational programs and support groups for parents and allies of LGBTQ people. Additionally, PFLAG facilitates advocacy work to ensure the rights of LGBTQ people.

Understanding terminology

Familiarize yourself with LGBTQ terminology to effectively communicate with your child and others. By understanding concepts like gender identity, sexual orientation, and pronouns, you can uplift your child’s experiences and advocate for their rights.

This is important because it can help create an inclusive environment where your child feels comfortable, accepted, and respected. It also helps create a space where they can express their true selves without fear of judgment or prejudice.

Celebrating Diversity and Advocacy

As a parent, embracing diversity is a powerful way to support your child. Celebrate LGBTQ culture, attend pride events, and engage in activism to promote equality. Becoming an advocate contributes to a more inclusive society for your child and the broader LGBTQ community.

By embracing diversity, you are teaching your child the importance of respecting and accepting of everyone’s unique identities and experiences. This sets a positive example and helps create a more accepting and understanding environment for the LGBTQ community.


Embracing your child’s journey of coming out is a transformative process that requires love and an open heart. By creating a safe environment, educating yourself, managing your emotions, seeking support networks, understanding terminology, and celebrating diversity, you can become an unwavering source of support for your child. Remember, love knows no boundaries, and by standing by your child’s side, you can foster growth, acceptance, and a more inclusive world.

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