How do I get my family/friends to accept my sexual orientation?

Some background, some drama

Coming to terms with your own sexual identity can be difficult, but made even more so when you know your family/friends will react badly. If they have demonstrated homophobic attitudes in the past, it may make you want to hide from sharing that part of your life with them. Just remember, regardless of what they think, be who you are and don't let anything stand in your way even if it is hard.

Do’s and Don’ts

However, if you want to come out, you need to be strong and determined to deal with your homophobic family/friends. The “How Do I" series tries to list down a few Do’s and don’ts to guide and help you to get your family/friends to accept your sexual orientation.

Do’s

  • Understand the consequences of your honesty. Homophobic parents tend to react quite dramatically to the news that their child is not straight, so be prepared.
  • Realize that your life is yours alone. If you choose to share tell your parents, their reactions should not sway or influence you.
  • Be kind and compassionate. Your parents may react badly or deny the reality. Tell them it will be okay.
  • Allow them their reactions and responses. Listen respectfully. Respond carefully and compassionately, but firmly.
  • Realise they may need time. Don't expect things to be perfect immediately.
  • Be prepared for the worst. If they give you an ultimatum, plan accordingly for your future actions.
  • If you are in danger, go to a trusted neighbour or friend's house and use their phone to call the police.

Dont’s

  • Don't expect to gain their approval, but make it clear you don't require their permission.
  • Don't argue or fight with them, it won't work. Remember, you don't need their permission, but they can withdraw their support.
  • Don't give up on them. If you continue to try to reach them, it's likely they will eventually respond.
  • Don’t contemplate suicide or self-harm. You will scar people close to you for life.
  • Don’t come out until you can financially support yourself or be in a safer living environment if coming out will threaten your safety and well-being.
  • Don’t feel obligated to always tell your parents your personal business. If they are not willing to accept it they're not worth telling.

Last words

You may encounter numerous obstacles in your path when you decide to come out about your sexual orientation. However, it’s important to feel good about your sexuality rather than fearing that “something went wrong" or that you are a sinner. To live an authentic life freely and joyfully is an ongoing journey for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. And that’s all that is important!

Sources and citations