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Coming out to your children

 

Gay parents face one hurdle that other gay people will never have to face: coming out to their own children. Coming out is generally not an issue if your child was born or adopted into a family with same-sex parents - the evidence is right in front of the child’s eyes. If your child first knew you as a straight parent, however, you may feel that coming out to them is both incredibly difficult and incredibly important. The following tips from parenting experts may give you insight into how to proceed:

  • Think carefully about the right time to come out to your child. Avoid coming out when your child is going through a period of upheaval (e.g., a move to a new home or a rift with a former best friend).
  • Tell your child in a private space where the conversation will be completely confidential, leaving plenty of time for any questions your child may have.
  • Explain your sexual orientation in an age-appropriate way, focusing on your feelings of love and caring for members of your own gender.
  • Let your child know that you are the same person you were before coming out to them; emphasize that you will still do the same things with your child (such as playing catch) as you did before coming out.
  • Offer to connect your child with other children of gay parents; children benefit enormously by knowing they’re not alone.