Coming Out: For Friends & Family

What should I do when someone I know comes out to me?

Listen. Listen some more. And reassure them that you love and respect them. Coming out is not about you, your skills as a friend or parent, and is not about your beliefs and ideas. Coming out to you means the person telling you is vulnerable yet trusts you; respects you yet may fear rejection; need you to know so you affirm their identity. Youth who come out to their parents and family are significantly less likely to think about suicide and much less likely to act on suicidal thoughts. Adults who come out later in life likely spent many years hiding parts of their identity; hiding their interests and likes and skills and talents. Listen. Listen some more. Seek your own support.

It is not uncommon for loved ones and friends to have lots of questions about the person who just came out. Check in with yourself and seek support from others before asking too many questions from the person that came out. Remember, they came out to you because they want you to know not because they want to educate you about everything about them!

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