Coming Out to Your Kids

Regardless of whether we knew our sexuality and/or gender identity before we had our children, or discover our identity afterwards, as parents we are all faced with coming out to our children. The challenges and reasons for being “out” will be different in every family.

Some good resources for LGBTIQ parents looking for information about coming out to your children are:

Some of the key messages from these resources are:

  • Remember, coming out as parents is not a one-off chat but a conversation that continues throughout our child’s lifetime.
  • Children might want information, but they may also be seeking emotional reassurance.
  • Talk to your children but also listen – Listen and ask your children what they already know and feel about LGBTIQ people.
  • Sympathise with what your children are going through – we cannot change who we are to make their social lives easier, but we can be a sympathetic ear.
  • Wherever possible, make sure your children know other children with gay dads, lesbian mums, transgender, intersex or bisexual parents – the forum on this website is a good place to meet other parents.
  • Be proud of the lessons you are teaching your children – having a parent who respects her/himself and is not afraid to appear different is an excellent model for a developing child.
  • Provide clear explanations of terms such as “gay” “bisexual” or “transgender”. Your answer might be slightly different depending on your child’s age.
  • Teach your children that people who discriminate are the ones who need help.

For those parents who have come to know our sexuality or gender identity after having children, especially those with young adults, there are a few things to think about the first time you talk to your child:

  • Feel proud of yourself and comfortable with your sexual/gender identity before you talk with your children. Children pick up on our insecurities.
  • Tell your children in a private space and make sure you tell them when there will be plenty of time for the conversation to continue if it needs to.
  • Try writing it down first or practising out loud.
  • Remember children’s reactions to you coming out will vary. Some might take a long time to process it, and might not want to talk with you at all about it. Others might ask a lot of questions. Each child is different and you need to respect their journey.
  • Let your child/ren know that no matter what, you love them. They might worry that you are going to change – it is important that at this time you are consistent and attentive.
  • Give them options of other supportive adults to talk with.

You might find our forum is a good place to talk with other parents who have come out to their children.