Coming out to your family

Realising that you are lesbian, gay, bi or trans* can be a very scary experience especially when you are a teenager. Even though it shouldn’t make a difference who we fancy, unfortunately there is still a big deal about coming out. It can be especially difficult and confusing if your family have very traditional or strong religious beliefs as they may find it difficult to accept same sex relationships or gender issues.

The most important thing is to realise you are not on your own. There is always someone you can talk to. Many areas   specialised youth groups for gay and trans young people. Have a look in the service finder for one.

Some people may have really accepting families who are nothing but supportive. Unfortunately, there are also some people whose family can’t cope with the thought of their little girl or boy being gay or trans. There are lots of helpful websites too with advice on how to tell the people closest to you.

At the end of the day it is up to you who you tell what to. You will know your family better than we do. You can tell them and risk being rejected or don’t tell them and live that part of your life in secret.

It’s not ideal however that is sometimes the choice.

Indeed, for this reason many people wait until they have left home or moved away before they come out and live their life as an openly gay person. The fact is, only you will be able to gauge how your family will react. However, give them a bit of credit as sometimes families can often surprise you. At the end of the day they are your family and most just want you to be safe and happy. We forget that parents and grandparents have lived a bit themselves, and are more open minded than we presume.

Organisations that can help

© Going off the Rails 2012. Adapted from ‘Playing Downstairs’ by Jonny Hunt

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