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"My parents have literally NEVER mentioned anything gay or culturally diverse AT ALL. We don’t talk about any of that stuff, but they’re not mean people, so, maybe they’re down? I don’t know. Whatever. My point is, how should I come out to them if I have no clue how they might react?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

This is kinda where I was sittin pretty when I was about to come out to my parents. I knew my dad was cool, but the only thing I knew about my mom was that she referred to John Kerry as “scary kerry” but she loved Ellen.. So it could have gone either way.

I ended up sitting both of my parents down and very calmly, quietly, and awkwardly telling them I was “dating someone …and it’s a girl” I LITERALLY SAID THOSE WORDS. And soooo dramatically. Y’all, no regrets (justlove), but if I could go back in time I think I would make it wayyyy less of a deal. If this were now and I was dating a girl, I would say, “Hey, mom, I’m dating someone I’d like you to meet, her name is Demi Lovato.” If my mom had questions, I’d let her ask questions, but my mom and I don’t really TALK ABOUT STUFF, so it isn’t something I think I’d wanna spend a bunch of time preparing myself for…ALSO

Sorry, next paragraph, *clears throat* ALSO. I think coming out by way of letter or email or gchat is totally fine. I feel like we get dirty looks and eyes rolled for doing that, but who cares?! It’s much more comfortable and you give your parents the space to think for a hot minute before saying the first thing that comes to mind, which may very well be “You know you people can adopt in Romania now” (legit, my mom said that). So, know that the time and space that coming out via written word allows is awesome and you should absolutely do that if it’ll make things easier on you.

Kristin Says:

Parents are tricky little buggers, aren’t they?

This scenario really hinges on who you are, and how you prefer to express yourself when it comes to your family members. The first thing you’ll want to think about is whether you’d like to take the TIPTOE approach or the CONFETTI-GUN approach. Never heard those terms before? That’s because I just invented them.

The TIPTOE approach would go as follows: You bring up tiny tidbits of news over time to suss out their more general reactions. For example, you’d say, “I read this article today about some of the movements that are happening in Russia because of their anti-gay laws,” or, “My school’s GSA had a bake sale today to raise money for The Trevor Project and the cookies were SO GOOD,” or anything else that teases some gayness into the convo. Perhaps they will engage in a positive manner. Perhaps they will grow a bit quiet. Perhaps they will go into a rage about the evils of homosexuality. Hopefully it will be one of the former, but these reactions will help you better understand what kind of a climate you’ll be facing once you come out to them directly. Perhaps you’ll be able to talk about some of their feelings on the issues, and even bring more knowledge to their experience before coming out, which will help them to better process the information.

The CONFETTI-GUN approach would go as follows: You just f*cking do it. You hold your breath, and you shoot gay confetti all over the house for better or for worse (I mean this metaphorically, but if you really want to cover your house in confetti whilst screaming I AM A GAY, that is fine, too). It might be in a letter, it might just be blurted out of dinner, but it will almost certainly feel weird and awkward. It almost always does… that’s okay. This method is a little riskier, of course, but it comes with the freedom of knowing you’ve said what you needed to say, and you have catapulted to Phase 2: Dealing With the Aftermath. I wouldn’t recommend the confetti-gun approach to anyone who thinks that they might get thrown out of the house or cut of from necessary financial support — those situations require more planning and preparation — but moreso for those of you who are unsure, yet confident your parents will still protect and care for you as they always have… but just possibly be upset, mad, confused, scared, ignorant, or all of the above.

Like we say often: coming out is not just that isolated moment of saying who you are… that is just the very beginning. Regardless of your approach, you will likely need to be patient with your parents as they (hopefully) try to learn about what this means, understand terms and new concepts, and re-imagine a life that they may have always viewed in a different light. If you remain patient and strong, there is a good chance that your parents will be able to grow along with you, despite some potential bumps along the way.

PS: The Parents Project will be up and running in about a month, and our book for parents whose kids have just come out to them comes out this September, so STAY TUNED.

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