Talking about your sexuality can be awkward. Maybe you feel embarrassed and nervous at the thought of it. This is pretty common as our society sadly shames sex and sexuality being openly talked about. So, when it comes to talking to your parents about your sexuality it’s likely to feel really tough!
Straight people don’t have to come out and can usually escape this conversation. But when you are LGBTQ+ if you don’t tell your parents, most are left assuming you are straight.
Coming out as queer, gay, bi, pan or ace can be really scary for many people. It’s common to feel scared of rejection or worry that you won’t be believed or taken seriously.
It can feel really isolating not knowing what the reaction will be, who to tell first and how to say it. In my experience as a counsellor these worries and anxieties can last months, years and even decades. For some people they may never tell their parents, and that’s ok too.
But if you do decide to tell your parents here are some tips on how to start a conversation about your sexuality …
- Think about how they might react. If you think they could react badly it might be safer to wait until you are living independently.
- Try talking about LGBTQ+ celebrities and characters on TV shows to gauge how/if they are accepting.
- Think about how you might want to tell them. Some people like talking in person, others feel safer and more comfortable talking on the phone or through messages/email.
- Think about what you want to say. Some people prepare a few notes or rehearse with a friend. This can help you feel ready and give you an anchor to lean on if you find it difficult to say the words out loud.
- You might want to consider taking a friend with you for support or having a friend with you when you send the message/email.
- Be aware that although you will have taken the time to plan and prepare for this conversation, for your parents it may come as a shock. Their initial reaction may not be the best, but it doesn’t mean this can’t change with time as the news settles.
- Give your parents time and space to process this news.
- You might not feel up to answering a ton of questions, but you can share with them some useful YouTube videos or websites you found helpful. With more information and education, it is likely that your parents will have a better chance of understanding and accepting you.
Lastly remember, there is no right or wrong way to talk to about sexuality with your parents. This is your life and totally your choice if, when and how you want to talk to them.
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Chloe Foster has a background in working in mental health and youth work. Today she runs Sussex Rainbow Counselling where she specialises in counselling LGBTQ clients online.
Chloe holds a postgraduate diploma in psychotherapeutic humanistic counselling from The University of Brighton. She is also an approved accredited registrant member of the National Counselling Society, and an accredited gender, sexuality and relationship diversities therapist with Pink Therapy.