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Should I come out to the rest of my family?

Question:

I came out to my dad in May 2013. I haven’t come out to any other family. My dad is uncomfortable with it and I’m not quite sure if he accepts me or not. I don’t know if I should come out to the rest of my family quite yet. I know they would be supportive, my uncle is gay and has been with his partner for over 10 years, but I’m really scared. I have come out fully at school. I actually came out to my best friend in December 2012. Should I wait to come out? Should I come out to my uncle and ask him for advice? What should I do?

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Hello,

You took a very big and courageous step by coming out to your Dad, and while it may be uncertain whether he accepts you or not, you seem to be on the right track. It is completely normal to be nervous or scared about coming out, even when you think you will be coming out into a supportive environment. It’s also great that you are out at school and to your best friend!

In regards to coming out to the rest of your family, it’s completely your decision and what’s most important is that you feel safe and comfortable. Just remember you can decide how to do that on your own terms and there isn’t a rush. Since your uncle is already out, that may be a good place for you to start so you feel safe and comfortable. Your uncle might be a good gauge for the rest of your family and may have some great advice to give you. If you feel now is the right time to come out to your uncle, or the rest of your family, that’s absolutely fine. If it’s waiting a while longer, that’s fine too. What is most important is that you are comfortable and safe.

In regards to your Dad, he may just have many questions about your sexuality/gender identity and may need time and help to become more understanding and supportive of you. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a great organization, made up mostly of parents, which supports LGBTQ people and works to help parents and others to become more supportive and accepting of their loved one’s sexual orientation/gender identity. On their website at www.pflag.org click on “Get Support” then click on “For Family & Friends” where you’ll find the pamphlets “Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People” and “Frequently Asked Questions about GLBT People,” which, if you’re comfortable, you can share with your family members/friends to help them become more understanding and accepting of you. PFLAG also runs support groups where parents and others can discuss questions and concerns they have about a loved one’s sexual orientation and where LGBT people can discuss issues they’re having with people in their life. On their website, you can search for a chapter near you. If no chapter is near you or if your family members/friends won’t attend, you could still contact the nearest chapter and get support and learn ways to help them become more understanding of you. Other resources you might share with them are the books “Now That You Know-A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Their Gay and Lesbian Children” which addresses many issues and questions that arise for parents of gay and lesbian children and “Straight Parents, Gay Children: Keeping Families Together.” There are no guarantees but they may help.

Just remember it’s normal to be scared about coming out, and the most important thing is your comfort and safety whencoming out to the rest of your family. Just do what feels right to you and remember you are not alone. We are always here for you at the Trevor Project with Ask Trevor, The Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR, TrevorChat, and TrevorSpace at www.trevorspace.org  the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 their friends and allies. It’s a great supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you’re having about your sexuality/gender identity.

Best,

Trevor Staff