If your find yourself as one of the parents of gay children, understand that the coming out process is a time of confusion, anger, disbelief, rejection to understanding, concern, calmness and acceptance. One of the LGBT issues that requires greater understanding from parents is the coming out process. Find out more about it below.
Understand the Process
The coming out process happens when the gay individual recognizes, accepts and shares to others his gender identity and sexual preferences. The term "coming out" is a shortened version of the "coming out of the closet" phrase. It is often referred to as a metaphor for individuals who reveal their sexual orientation.
Coming out is more or less life-long and begins at a certain age; the process itself is not the same for each person. It is not an easy phase to be stuck into; your gay child can expect rejection from others and discriminatory actions from peers. However, coming out is also a very liberating experience. It allows gay individuals to lead a more honest live resulting to a more genuine relationship with others. Sometimes though, coming out can create another set of problems. You might want to talk to your gay child about the advantages and disadvantages first before deciding to come out.
Learn about Each Stage
In order for you to know when and how to support a gay child who is undergoing the coming out process, it is best to learn about the stages and what to do best in each stage.
It usually starts within the gay individual himself; admitting to one's self that he is indeed gay. He becomes aware of his feelings for people of the same gender or to both sexes. This stage often involves moving toward an acceptance and recognition of one's sexual orientation. The best you can do at this time as a parent is to listen.
The second stage involves gaining support from the heterosexual and bisexual population. Your gay child may seek the company of these people as they are less likely to judge and react negatively. You can assist him in looking for support groups and networks that will make him feel at home and comfortable. You can contact transgender or bisexual organizations nearest you or visit gay or lesbian bars.
Coming out to non-bisexual and transgender people is the last part of the process. Before coming out to these people, your child may have to test the waters first to check for initial reaction. At this stage, it is best to show your daughter or son that there's exactly nothing wrong in showing who they really are in the society.
Create a Supportive Environment
Creating a supportive environment during the coming out process is also important. Consider having family therapy with a counselor who specializes in gay teens. If you have questions yourself about LGBT issues, educate yourself first. Most cities in the country have their own Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gay's organization. This group offers a variety of sources about the LGBT community.