My Son Just Came Out as Gay. How Can I Be a Supportive Parent? – 2023
Every day, MQ gets messages from our readers about life in the LGBTQ+ community. This week we are focusing on parents of LGBTQ+ kids. The following topic is a question we get asked often – “My Son Just Came Out as Gay. How Can be a Supportive Parent?”. Below we share one reader’s story and give a comprehensive guide on what to do if your child comes out of the closet, and how to be a supportive parent.
My Son Just Came Out as Gay
“Hey Mr. Q,
My son just came out as gay and I am unsure exactly what to do. I love my son no matter what and want to be there for him. I know almost nothing about what he is going through, and I just want to be there for him as a parent without overstepping. Honestly, the past few weeks have been a challenge, as I am not really sure what to say, what to ask, or even if to ask. What are some ways that I can be supportive as a parent?
Thanks so much.”
Thank you for the message. First off, your being here and reaching out is a wonderful first step. You are doing a wonderful thing to be curious and proactive. I myself and many other youths would be lucky to have someone as supportive as you already are as a parent.
Asking questions and being open-minded is an important start because let’s face it, coming out can be a difficult process for all people involved. The fact that you are wanting and are willing to be there for your son is in and of itself the perfect place to start.
If your child has recently come out to you as gay, it can be a challenging and emotional time for both of you. As a parent, it’s important to be supportive and create a safe and accepting environment for your child. Here are some ways that you can support your child after they come out as gay.
Listen to Your Child
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to listen to your child. Create an open and non-judgmental space for your child to talk about their feelings and experiences. Ask questions, but be respectful of their boundaries, and don’t pressure them to share anything they’re not ready to talk about. Be an active listener and let them know that you are available to communicate if they need you. And when they do choose to share with you, try your being to listen and take in what they tell you.
Keep in mind that anything they tell you relating to their sexuality is likely information they have thought about for a long time, regardless of the fact this is the first time you are hearing it. By listening to your child, you can better understand their experiences and provide them with the support they need. You don’t need to have all the answers. What is important is that you are available and supportive.
Show Unconditional Love
Your child needs to know that you love and accept them for who they are, regardless of their sexual orientation. Make it clear that you support them and will always be there for them. This can help your child feel more comfortable and confident in their identity.
Your love as a parent will help them through navigating new and unfamiliar experiences. Remember that your child might not always have people in other parts of their lives who love and support them. That is why being there as a parent is so vital.
Educate Yourself on LGBTQ+ Experiences
Take the time to learn about the LGBTQ+ community and the challenges that they face. This can help you understand your child’s experiences and provide better support. There are many resources available online, including books, articles, and support groups. By educating yourself on the challenges and experiences of other people in their situation then you can better understand your child’s experiences. Empathy and education are some of the best tools you have to provide them with the support they need.
Advocate for Your Child
Be an ally for your child and speak up against discrimination or bigotry when you encounter it. This can be particularly important if your child is still in the process of coming out to other people. By advocating for your child, you can help create a more accepting and inclusive environment for them.
Respect Their Privacy
Although your child is ready to come out to you as a parent, it does not necessarily mean they are ready to come out to others. Coming out of the closet is an ongoing process and everyone’s timeline is different. Who, how, and when to come out are your child’s decision. This means that you should not tell others about your child’s sexuality or other information they share without their consent. Be sure to respect their privacy and allow them to share information where and when they choose to.
Connect with Other LGBTQ+ Families
First off, ask to see if your child is willing and ready to build a wider support group. Offer to seek out support groups or other families with LGBTQ+ children. Organizations such as PFLAG offer great resources to parents and families of LGBTQ+ youth. You can also search for local LGBTQ social groups in your community. These groups and organizations can help you learn from others and find a sense of community. By connecting with other families, you can find support and resources that can help you better support your child.
In conclusion, coming out can be a challenging and emotional experience for your child. As a parent, it’s important to be supportive and create a safe and accepting environment for your child. By listening to your child, showing unconditional love, educating yourself, advocating for your child, and connecting with other LGBTQ+ families, you can better support your child during this important time. Remember that your child needs your support and acceptance and that you can make a positive difference in their life.
If you have any other questions you can feel free to contact us directly. We are always happy to help answer any questions to make you or your loved one’s experience more friendly and inclusive.