Coming Out in the Community

Before we had children, we might have chosen when and how much we told people about our sexuality or gender identity in order to preserve our privacy or protect ourselves from discomfort or discrimination. However our children make it difficult to stay in the closet.

Our children can “out” us by speaking openly about their families with others. They will invite friends over for sleepovers or talk to their friends’ parents about you when they stay at their house. They will draw pictures of their family, or talk about their “daddy and papa” or “my two mummies” at their school.

People we have never met before will ask naïve questions about our family, presuming heterosexuality – “Does she have her mother’s eyes?”, “Does your husband help with the baby at night?”

We might be out to our friends, colleagues and family but when we have children suddenly we find ourselves coming out to someone at the supermarket. We also have to talk openly about our family when dealing with health professionals, childcare centres, schools and others who are caring for our children.

An important thing to remember when faced with coming out as a LGBTIQ parent is that we are modelling to our children how to communicate with others about their family, and to have pride and confidence in who they are and who their family is. How we respond to questions from others is a personal decision for each parent. Sometimes it is good to think about and practice ‘one-liners’ before coming out in the community. You might like to visit our forum to talk with other parents about their experiences coming out as LGBTIQ parents and some of the ways they talk about their families with others.