Happy Pride Month, everyone!
A month dedicated to honoring acceptance, equality, the work of LGBTQ+ individuals, LGBTQ+ history education, and raising awareness of issues that impact the LGBTQ+ community.
The process of acknowledging, embracing, and revealing one's sexual orientation and/or gender identity with others is known as coming out. For some people, coming out is a lifelong journey rather than a single moment. Though often challenging, coming out can lead to a profound feeling of liberation. The process may be much easier for some than it is for others, but it is extremely important that friends and family of those going through the process are extremely supportive. For parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ+) young adults it is important to keep in mind each person is unique and you will have your own experiences and feelings along the way- don't try to compare their experiences to others.
How can you provide a strong support system for someone coming out as LGBTQ+?
Below are a few suggestions that you may wish to follow.
If someone is choosing to come out to you, they came to you because you are an important part of their life. Give them reassurance of your continued friendship and support. Someone who is coming out to you for the first time may be very nervous about being rejected and losing you as a person in their life. Continue being their friend as normal.
Saying ‘I support you’ and ‘I love you’ are enough to elicit a sigh of relief. Being able to express your ability to encourage your loved one to be themselves and letting them know that you love them for who they are is always a great reminder to provide.
Let your loved one express how they're feeling and what the experience is like; be their safe haven and show them unconditional support by giving them/being a space for them to talk safely.
Help them build a chosen family by offering to attend LGBTQ+ events with them that they might not feel comfortable attending on their own. It will help them to connect with people who will be able to provide ongoing social support and relate best with them.
If someone comes out to you, remember that they are still the same person; you just have more information about them than you did before!
It is okay and encouraged to reach out if you are struggling with finding ways to support your loved one while they go through the coming out process. If you are someone going through the process of coming out as LGBTQ+ and don’t know how or where to start you can also reach out for support to guide you through taking the next steps. We are always here to help at Bespoke Wellness Partners.