Advice for parents and friends

I've had a lot of letters over the years from the friends and family of gay loved ones, asking how they can best help and support them. Perhaps a parent who's not sure how to deal with their child's recent coming out, or perhaps someone who's worried about a gay friend who's having problems adjusting to their sexuality.

Here are some tips to help you to help them:

Adjusting your expectations after they come out

Traditionally we tend to equate having a happy, healthy and fulfilling life with being in a heterosexual relationship, getting married and having children. You might have had hopes of arranging a heterosexual wedding for your child some day. Maybe you were looking forward to having grandchildren. There’s nothing wrong with being excited about those things. Like any good parent, you want your child to be happy and to find love. When a child comes out it’s a time of adjustment. Suddenly confronted with the reality of your child being in a same-sex relationship can be a real shock. It’s vital to understand that although things are different from how you had imagined, the one central hope you had for your child can still be realised: their happiness.

Things are different, but they’re no worse. Your child can find the same love and fulfilment through a same-sex relationship as they might have had in a heterosexual one, and there’s no reason why you can’t be an important part of that. Of course your son or daughter will likely not have any children of their own. But don't forget that they may have chosen not to have kids if they’d be heterosexual. It’s wrong to force our hopes onto our children. They have to discover what happiness and fulfilment mean to them, with your support and acceptance. It’s a time of adjusting the ideas you might have held for your child's future, but it can also be a time of embracing a more open and honest relationship with them.

More

  • Support for parents links page.
  • The problem page isn't just for gay visitors, it's for parents and friends too. Get in touch if you have questions.

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