By Jana Angeles
It’s not uncommon for parents to realise their sexual orientation later in life. With certain experiences and with gender being such a grey area to discuss about, closeted parents may choose not to come out due to the reality of expectations placed on them. It becomes difficult for parents to discuss this with their children because it can be very confusing and difficult for them to understand.
It’s okay to feel like this at some point when you’re ready to come out to your children but don’t wait until you are overwhelmed with emotion. As soon as you’re aware that you’re bisexual, trans or gay, you owe it to your kids, to be honest with your sexual orientation as much as possible. So what tips should you keep in mind when it comes to officially coming out to your kids?
The Conversation is Not Over Once You Tell Them The Truth
Coming out to your kids will feel like some weight has lifted off your shoulders but the journey doesn’t end yet. This is new information for them to take on board and depending on how they are as people, we can’t expect them to be fully accepting of the news. This is especially if they are quite young and aren’t aware of the varying sexual orientations that exist among people either. Be thoughtful and considerate of their feelings and understand that this will take a while for them to process. Open up and answer any pressing questions they might have about you and be honest when you answer them.
Have A Sympathetic Ear
Change is something that can happen in an instant and for most kids, it can be very difficult for them to adapt to something new in their lives. Coming out to your children is a huge step and once you reveal your true sexual orientation, nothing will be the same. It’s okay if your children begin to share their worries when it comes to the family dynamic. Listen with a sympathetic ear and do your best to see their point of view. Depending on their age, you have to give them time and space to think about the situation.
You Are Teaching Your Kids That It’s Okay To Be Different
A very common saying is ‘better out than in’ and if you think about this in relation to coming out, acknowledge the fact that you are freeing yourself and not hiding anymore. Being a closeted LGBTQ+ individual is challenging and most may battle forms of mental illness and depression. Coming out will make you feel so much better especially when you have children you need to discuss this with. You will be showing them that you’re comfortable in your own skin and that you’re not afraid to show them who you truly are. This will be an important lesson for them to value individuality and to not be scared of being different.
Some other tips to remember…
- If your children are not comfortable in discussing with you after coming out, allow them to speak with other trusted adults (with your permission).
- Feel proud! Coming out is not an easy task and many withdraw from ever doing it especially when they have families already.
- Remind your children you love them no matter what. Coming out and showing them your true sexual orientation will never change your unconditional love for them.
- If you are planning to come out to your children, gather them round privately and give them time to discuss and ask questions.
- The reactions from all your children will vary so be prepared for all types when you come out!
- If you are nervous about coming out, try and write down what you’re going to say to process your thoughts effectively.