Helping you get through life
If you're thinking of 'coming out' about your sexuality, you should read our advice on weighing up whether or not to do it, who to tell if you decide to go ahead with it and how to go about telling your parents...
Telling people about your sexuality is called coming out. Lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) people may 'come out' many times throughout their lives, whenever they meet new people. But the first time you consciously tell people you are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be daunting, especially if it's close friends or family members.
Remember, you don't have to tell anyone you're gay or bi if you don't want to but you might feel better if you can be honest about who you really are.
Start by telling someone you really trust, and who you know will be supportive. Then you can gradually tell more people. It's a good idea to suss out people's attitudes on sexuality before you talk to them.
As with all 'announcements', the circumstances in which you choose to tell people can have a big impact so be sure to tell people somewhere where everyone (including you) is comfortable and can be talk freely.
Whatever your reasons for coming out to your parents, be prepared for shock, maybe a bit of outrage, or any emotion you might not expect. Like it or not, this may be quite a big deal for your parents at first. But hopefully they will accept and support you.
Planting ideas ahead of time could help lessen the surprise factor. It might not be possible for you to do it face to face; in which case think about writing an honest letter and allowing them time to respond.
Think about whether they may already have an idea what you're about to tell them.
If you feel a bit awkward about saying "I'm gay" maybe go for, "I have a boy/girlfriend" or "I'm not really into guys/girls".
Warn a friend in advance that you're about to tell them, so you have somewhere to go if you need to give your parents (and you) a bit of space. This hopefully will not be necessary, but it's good for you to have someone to talk it over with afterwards.
Give your parents time - they may need a while to get used to the idea. And remember, their initial reaction won't necessarily be their long-term one.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to come out. Whatever the response, it's likely you'll feel better about it being in the open so that you can be yourself.
Don't expect everyone to support you. Unfortunately homophobia (fear or negative attitude towards gay people) is all too common and many gay people have a hard time getting friends and family to understand.
Read our homophobia factfile for more information.
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