I came out to my parents, but…

I came out to my parents yesterday, my mom took it better than my dad but I feel sick now. My dad said it was the worst day of his life and told me to reconsider things…

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Hey there,

Thank you for sharing this.

I’m hearing that you’re in very painful place at the moment. It’s so tough when the people we love and crave acceptance from the most aren’t too understanding; but I really admire your courage in coming out to your parents. Give yourself permission to feel pride in that.

It sounds like your Dad is feeling really shocked and upset. Some folks have a hard time wrapping their heads around their child’s sexuality or gender identity; they may feel a lot of different things, like loss, fear, anger, or betrayal. When a person is upset, they may say unhelpful and even hurtful things. This sucks, but it’s not your fault. Homophobia has been a part of Canadian (and many other) cultural landscapes for a long time, and your parents, like so many others, are not immune to its influence. They may be scared for you, they may be miseducated about queer identities, or they may have culutral or religious concerns.

While most parents eventually become accepting, it’s an unfortunate truth that some never do. My hope for you is that your Dad will come to understand. It’s possible that he needs a little time to digest this information; some parents even experience a sense of grief or bereavement after their child comes out. Give your Dad some space to absorb what he’s heard and come to grips with it. You might remind your dad (and your mom too) that you’re still you, and that you’ll always be their child.

Please remember that it is never someone else’s place to tell you who you are. Your Dad may be having a hard time accepting what he’s learned about a child that he loves, but it is not fair for him to ask you to change.

It could be useful, down the line, to try and connect him with some resouces. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a great place to start; it may be helpful for your mom as well. By connecting your parents with these resources, it could help them to understand that this is not something that you can simply reconsider.

I understand that this situation is probably causing a lot of stress and anxiety for you, and in times like these it’s so important that we take care of ourselves. Give yourself some space. Do things that nourish you, lean on your friends, seek safe places, and reach out for support if you need it. This might mean hanging out with your friends and allies, checking in with supportive family members (this doesn’t have to mean your parents- it could be siblings, cousins, aunts or uncles), attending a facilitated peer group, like CampOUT, or even accessing more formal support, like the Couple and Family Therapy Centre. Do what feels right for you, at your own pace.

Whatever happens, don’t be afraid reach out.

If you ever want to talk to someone who’s been there, give us a call. We’d love to listen.

(Mondays, 3:30-6pm, Wednesdays from 6-9pm, and Fridays, from1-3pm)

❤ Liz

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