Coming out to your parents can be the most nerve-wracking moment in your life of kissing men. The response from your parents can feel like the most definitive moment of acceptance, and you may find yourself taking anywhere from weeks to years to prepare. However, your preparation to come out to your parents—regardless of your age—has less to do with how exactly to tell them and more to do with your own readiness to tell. Here’s “How to Come Out to Your Parents,” for a little added preparation.
Make sure you already love yourself
This is incredibly important. Whether it’s your sexual orientation, your body type, or anything else you could feel self-conscious about, you need to accept yourself exactly as you are. Attempting to glean your self-worth from people outside of your own head is dangerous. In the end, no amount of compliments or pretty words will make you believe you’re an awesome person if you haven’t already come to that conclusion on your own. When you love yourself before coming out to your parents, you’re simply telling them a fact about yourself instead of pleading for validation.
Have a support structure
The stronger, the better. Before you come out to your parents, surround yourself with friends that already know about you and encourage you to completely be yourself. If they’re in the LGBTQ community, share with them your current situation with your parents and ask them for advice on how to come out. Sit and let them tell their stories if they’re willing to give them. Let them help you with role play of different responses your parents may have. Have them coach you in giving your statement of gayness as direct, unashamed and unapologetic. Your true friends will be there to help you. There’s no such thing as too much camaraderie.
Be financially independent
Aside from generally transcending into adulthood, it’s important for you to not be financially dependent on your parents before you come out to them. Do they pay your phone bill? Your rent? Your tuition or debt payments? Are you still on their health insurance plan? These are some important things that you probably don’t want suddenly ripped away from you in the worst-case-scenario possibility. If you have to work three jobs while going to college, then so be it. It’ll suck, but it still beats being shoved back into the closet over a freaking data plan.
Be aware of timing
Don’t drop the potential bomb on them when they’re dealing with emotionally heavy things such as a death in the family, severe financial crisis, or job loss. If they’re already bogged down with feelings, it could very well alter their responses to you and most likely toward the negative. In the event that one or both of your parents always act like the sky is falling despite what’s really going on, the concept of timing becomes irrelevant. Just prepare yourself for a potential drama fest if that’s their nature.
Give them a little time
If they don’t immediately accept your news, it’s because they need to process the information. If they truly didn’t see it coming, then they may need to go through, well, the stages of loss. Hear me out here. They probably imagined you in a white wedding with a girl on your arm, but now they need to go through the shock, anger, denial, and guilt of that reality never coming true. Depending on their personal beliefs, upbringing, and religious affiliations, it’s very possible they’ll eventually hit the acceptance stage, in which they’ll realize you being gay isn’t really that big of a freaking deal.
For more information on the potential stages of your parents’ acceptance, visit GLBTSS.