Be Supportive: Coming Out 101 for Parents

Greetings! My name is J.J. and according to my friends, I have a mouth. If this be the case, then what an outlet! My expertise in blog writing is simple: I have opinions and I’m gay. So let’s do this …

Recently, a close friend of mine living in Fairbanks came out to his parents. Both mom and dad lean heavily to the Christian right and despite their love for their little boy, at 26 years old, his worst fears were confirmed.

Now that he’s officially gay, he is no longer a member of the family.

At first I found this news to be somewhat comical in light of who he is: campily sarcastic, a loud nelly laugher, just a big ol’ free-spirited queen who also happens to be the happiest, gayest-gay serving in Alaska’s military. How in the hell could his parents not know?

Ok, so he MIGHT be able to pull off straight in a pair of Carharrts, Xtra Tuffs, and a ball cap. But once he opens his mouth, five yards of pink chiffon flies out. His parents had to have known! Are they blind?

Then I realized how crushed he really was from this sudden rejection. Really? Not a part of the family? His parents’ no nonsense approach to homosexuality had reared its ugly head.

God says “No” to your lifestyle.
Your choices are the sin of sinful.
Your life is now condemned to damnation.

Through weeks of spiritual channeling and Oprah-style therapy sessions from our close knitted gay pack, he finally came to his senses, shook the depression off and realized his decision to come out was the right one. “Honey badger don’t give a sh**!” he declared. Being honest and able to give the long-awaited declaration of personal gay independence was far more important than being ostracized for life.

Sorry, Ma and Pa, I be who I be, he told me.

Still, I could sense his disappointment. Who wouldn’t be crushed? Would they ever change their minds? Is it his job to change their minds? And in 2012, is this the reaction gay boys and girls are still getting when they come out?

Parents, listen up!

The process of coming out is one of the hardest things your lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered (LGBT) son/daughter will ever do. They are not trying to ruin you or embarrass you. This is who they are and how they want to live their life.

Your son/daughter has FINALLY developed a sense of contentment with being LGBT and sees it as a valid way of life. They hope you will too.

They are going to fall in love – furthering their confidence and helping them combat the social stigma that they may suffer every day. They want to share their stories of love with you. They want to bring their partner home for the holidays. They want to be needed and loved like your straight son/daughter. Through your limited understanding, they will need your help.

When your son/daughter comes to you with the declaration of who they are – Listen, Love, and Respect. Be supportive. Your parents did the same with you when you came to them with your passions and ideas, right?

If more is needed, the help is there. Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG) is a good place to start. It’s that or risk losing one of your own due to ignorance and misunderstanding. And nobody wants that to happen.

Do you have a similar coming out story you want to share with us?  Or maybe your parents were supportive and you want to give them a shout out for our readers?  

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9 thoughts on “Be Supportive: Coming Out 101 for Parents

  1. YAY! JJ…good job for your Fairbanks pal….It is my experience that the parents are afraid. Given time they will accept…If they don’t it is a big lose for them.

  2. “Is it his job to change their minds?” (Unfortunately) Yes! It is all of our responsibility because these people/parents make it our duty to pay attention and transcend their ignorance and staunch, conservative religious dogmatic character and views. It is up to us to help ameliorate such a hateful existence, fore they are forcing not only their views but a profound amount of negativity to not only their son, but the rest of their family, and it has even passed on to me, someone 3,000 miles away, etc., etc.. Unfortunately that etc., etc. is very important because it can be compounded like an earthquake, now either they can start being more positive, loving and compassionate or they can continue on their hate-filled, begrudging life-style where they feel that they are “right.” Well, have fun with be right, miserable and without a son – good job.

    1. You are right, Trevor. Luckily for us, we have the power of persuasion and I agree with Fran’s earlier statement: Parents are scared. They tend to go to the dark places with our discovery. I, like many others, have been lucky to be blessed with caring families.
      My friends on the other side of the coin often back away from the ignorance with love and tolerance and begin building our new family in the gay community. In any scenario, the power of positive is a choice for us to find.

  3. My son came out to me about two weeks ago (he’s a young boy). We are a devout Christian family, he’s a Jesus-loving, genuine, wonderful soul, and we accept him for who he is. Just because he’s different than we are doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love him any less! I’m still going to drag his stubborn behind to church every Sunday, he will sit there and absorb the sermons, and he will know that everything in the Bible pertains to him also. It’s a different generation, and I truly hope your friend can reconcile with his parents :).

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