Until your child comes and tells you that they are, or might be LGBTQ+, there is no way of knowing for sure. Try not to make assume and let them come and tell you in their own time. You can try and make sure your child feels able to talk to you about it by creating a positive environment at home. For example, say positive things about LGBTQ+ people when they’re on TV and don’t allow others to say negative things when around your child.
Some children may feel upset if you ask them if they are LGBTQ+ without them speaking about it first. Approaching the subject gently can be a good way to start. You could begin by talking to your child about sex and relationships. You could tell them that you want them to be happy and that you will always support them no matter what decisions they make. Give them the space to let them tell you in their own time.
Many young LGBTQ+ people have negative experiences when they tell their family or friends about their sexual orientation or gender identity. For others it can be an exciting phase of their life and having a supportive family can make all the difference.
If you child has recently come out to you and your family;
- Do not make assumptions
- Do your research
- Be supportive
Your child may fear being rejected and they may feel they have had to hide a part of themselves away from you. Facing rejection from their family and friends can be really upsetting for a child. Don't forget, it shows a great deal of trust and bravery for your child to come out to you. It’s important to say that you believe them and that what they’ve told you won’t change how you feel about them. Show that you’re going to be there to support them no matter what.
You may be unsure how you feel about your child being LGBTQ+ or how to respond. It’s okay to be honest and tell them that. You will probably not get everything right. The most important thing you can do as a parent or caregiver is remember that they are still the same person you have always loved and cared for. Letting them know that you love them will go along way in making them feel supported and respected.
- Listen. The most important thing you can do is give your child the opportunity to open up and share their feelings to you.
- Try and learn the terms and language used in the LGBTQ+ community, this shows that you care enough to make the effort
- Research resources. There are lots of online resources available which can provide support to your child.
If you find it hard to come to terms with your child coming out, you may need some support for yourself before you feel ready to support them. If you have mixed emotions, or worries about how this may affect your child or the rest of your family you can contact FFLAG on their confidential helpline. They can provide reassurance, information and support. They can be contacted on 03006880368.
Who Can Help?
Fflag are a national organisation who support families and their LGBTQ+ loved ones.
If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.
For 11–25 year olds Kooth is a free, confidential and safe way to receive online counselling, advice and emotional well-being support.
Young Minds Parents Helpline - Call 0808 802 5544 for free Mon-Fri from 9.30am to 4pm.