Check out the advice that Enrique gives you on how to come out of the closet and talk to your parents.
WHY AND WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO TELL THEM?
It is important that your parents know how you feel and how you live. They must know all aspects of your life, especially your sexual orientation because it has a great impact on your self. Fear will always be your worst enemy and depending on the way your parents are, you may or may not make the decision to tell them about your sexual orientation. But inevitably it is something they will have to know, sooner or later. Communicating your sexual orientation to your parents is extremely important. The moral support and love they can offer you is vital to survive the abuses of society and the intolerance towards the gay community. Many parents, especially mothers, know about their children’s sexual orientation without necessarily being told. They have always known. If you don’t see any hostility from your parents, then they are ready to listen.
Being prepared means that you know very well how you feel about your sexual orientation and you are comfortable with it. You have experienced and approved it and you have realized that it is something completely natural for your being. There may be confusion but it vanishes with the support of people who have already been in your place and you can talk to, or seeking professional help if possible. Being prepared means that you know your parents and have an idea of how they will react. The fear of rejection is real. It can stop you from coming out of the closet. Be more cautious about the issue and plan the best strategy to deal with them. Make sure you find the courage to confront the issue and be aware of the consequences. Having friends or family members who already know your sexual orientation and are on your side can be vital in dealing with a negative response from your parents.
WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO SAY
Try to anticipate your parent’s reaction to prepare for the moment you talk to them. Write about your state of mind and how you feel about this. Chronicle the events or feelings that made you realize your sexual orientation in a clear way, your fears, your expectations and what you expect from your parents; this is a healthy way to channel your fears. Then, find the strength to proceed with your plan. Imagine all the possible scenarios and plan accordingly so that when the day arrives, you will know how to act and will not feel overwhelmed or terrified by those negative responses.
PICK THE RIGHT MOMENT
It is very difficult to know when the best time is, but before it arrives, whether it is planned or not, it is important that you are prepared. In theory, the best moment is when there is peace and tranquility in your family, when you have already explored the possible answers and especially when you have no doubt about your sexual orientation. In reality, it is never as you imagined. The best moment might be when you feel comfortable with your personality, with who you are today, with what you have made of your life and the pride of knowing that you are not a bad person and that you are good son or daughter. Those elements will suffice to get ahead despite a possible rejection from your parents.
The best message is related directly and without confusion. Go straight to the point in a few words without beating around the bush. Without question, nerves will make this task much more difficult, but the sooner you get it done, the more relieved you will feel having taken the weight off of you. Then comes the most difficult stage: the reaction from your parents. Once their opinion is expressed, then the discussion can begin, preferably in a civilized way, even in case of a negative response.
TELL YOUR STORY
It is important when talking to your parents to put things in context. In other words, tell them about your life, the one they do not know about because they are not physically with you all the time. Talk about those moments during which you find yourself alone and confused, or the ones in which you have found and loved yourself. Tell them about your friends, about those who support and understand you. Regardless, your parents might be cold or negative, but remember that we can all relate to the universal life stories that we as human beings share and this can generate empathy that works in your favour with your parents.
LISTEN TO YOUR PARENTS
A vital part of the conversation is listening to your parents. Give them time to assimilate the news you have given them. Do not push them. For some parents it can be a real surprise, for others a simple confirmation of what they already knew. It is their turn to know what to do with this information. Be patient and give them time, answer their questions or concerns with a calm and understanding demeanor. Once they have an answer for you, you will act accordingly, avoiding as much as possible any verbal and even physical violence. The goal for the good of the whole group is to lead the conversation in the most peaceful way. If your parents are violent, it is obvious that they have not understood. Do not respond in the same way, it would only complicate things more, especially for you. You have no choice but to respect their response, whatever it may be, and hope that over time they will be more understanding.
PROVIDE FACTUAL AND POSITIVE INFORMATION ABOUT SEXUAL DIVERSITY
In an atmosphere of tranquility that comes after the news you have given your parents, information is a positive and effective tool in dissolving their doubts and prejudices. If possible, when you come out or even a few days after, provide them with information, brochures, books or articles that speak about the topic and explain objectively the phenomenon of sexual diversity. It is important to educate your parents about this issue since negative reactions always have their basis in ignorance. Well informed parents are usually loving and rational and will support you at all times. The more educated they are, the better will be their acceptance of your sexual diversity.
GIVE TIME TO YOUR PARENTS
Best case scenario, your parents will give you a hug and say that there is nothing to worry about, that they love you and always will. But there are parents who need time to process the idea that their son or daughter is homosexual and this can take years. Whatever the type of negative response from your parents, things will change over time. There may be immediate rejection and brutal physical or verbal violence but this does not mean that it will be like that forever. It will be very painful at the time and for the following months, but over time they will seek information and eventually, they will become the parents you would have wanted them to be when you came out to them. Have strength and patience. Sometimes, it is just as difficult for you to come out, as it is for parents to accept the news.
As mentioned before, having the support of friends or other family members can be of invaluable assistance in the case of a negative response. Ideally, the day you talk to your parents about your sexual orientation, it would be just them and you, but if you feel a friend or close relative could provide you with the courage to face this event, do not hesitate to have them there. Coming out can be a terrifying event for many. There is nothing wrong with seeking the moral support of someone else. This could give comfort in case of a negative unexpected reaction.