Young people may begin to explore their gender identity and sexual orientation whilst at High School.
Identifying as LGBTQ+ can add to the pressure and anxiety that young people may already feel. There is no ‘one size fits all’ for every family and every situation, but here are a few tips that may help you and your child if they come out to you:
Things to do:
- Take it seriously. It’s positive that they can place their trust in you and want to be honest with you.
- Think about their feelings, many people find coming out really scary.
- Be aware of your own values and judgements.
- Ask questions and find out what they need from you (if anything).
- Let them educate you: ask questions, be curious. It shows you’re interested, and this can really boost their confidence and self-esteem.
- Keep talking to them. They might not open-up fully at first but in time they may want to confide in you.
- Find your own support.
Things to avoid:
- Saying: “It’s just a phase”. While some children and young people may be exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity, phrases like this can dismiss or make light of how they feel.
- Saying: “I thought so”. This could make them anxious that people have been talking about them or they may worry about what they have been doing to make it obvious to others.
- Overly questioning if they are “sure” that they are LGBT+. It’s important to listen to and accept how they feel. Dismissing or disrespecting their feelings could push them away at a difficult time.
- Reacting with confrontation or anger.
- Don’t make it all there is. Their identity isn’t everything they are. They’re still the same person you know and love.
If you need more support, there are groups for parents and carers of LGBT_ young people. You can find more information about those below
Religious families, particularly of Christian or Muslim faith, may find the following articles/resources useful: