When a loved one comes out as LGBTQ+ or questions their gender identity or sexual orientation, it can be a challenging experience. As a parent, relative, or friend, it's natural to have questions and concerns. In this blog entry, we'll address some common questions and provide guidance on supporting your loved one with empathy and understanding.
Coming out as LGBTQ+ is a challenging experience for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for young people who may not have a supportive environment. As a parent, relative, or friend, it's essential to ensure that young people feel safe and supported when they come out. Here are some tips on how to react when someone comes out to you.
Firstly, it's important to remember that sexual orientation and gender identity are not choices. Nobody 'chooses' to be LGBTQ+. It's also not something that can be changed, so it's crucial to accept and support your child, relative, or friend's sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
One common misconception is that upbringing, experiences, or environmental factors cause someone to be LGBTQ+. However, there is no evidence to suggest that this is true. All sexualities and gender identities are normal and can change over time. So, if someone comes out to you, there is no blame to find, and you should make sure they know that.
When someone comes out to you, it's essential to take your time and show your support. Remember that it has likely taken a lot of courage and anxiety for them to get to the point of telling you. Listen to them and thank them for being honest about something important. Be supportive, understanding, and respectful of their identity.
Suppose your child or friend comes out to you as trans and expresses an interest in changing how they present themselves in society or medical transition. In that case, it's crucial to remember that the trans experience is a long and challenging process. Please don't assume they are making a snap decision they may regret later. Medical transition does not happen overnight, and it's essential to support your child, relative, or friend through the entire process.
Some parents worry about what being LGBTQ+ might mean for their child's future. They may have preconceived notions about their child's life, such as getting married, having children, or building a family. However, being LGBTQ+ does not mean someone cannot achieve these things. You can still be a grandparent, and your child is the same person. It's essential to support and help them achieve their dreams, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In conclusion, coming out is a significant step for any young person, and it's crucial that they feel supported and safe when they do so. As a parent, relative, or friend, you can make all the difference by being accepting, supportive, and understanding. Remember that sexual orientation and gender identity are not choices and cannot be changed. By showing your support, you can help your child, relative, or friend navigate the challenges of being LGBTQ+ and live their lives to the fullest.
This piece will include a follow-up post as there are areas which we would like to expand on further. Remember, if you want to get involved in the blog, please message us, and we can arrange a chat and see what you would like to contribute.