What do you say to the parent whose child just came out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer? What are the words they need to hear?
I asked this question in my Facebook group for parents and the answers were pretty universal. Because we have a policy of complete confidentiality, I cannot repeat what was said but I can give you the gist of what was said.
First and foremost, hug them and let them know you love them. It seems like this should go without saying but parents have a range of reactions when their child comes out. Some suspected and others are totally thrown and surprised. People ask how can a parent not know their child is LGBTQ? It is possible and happens all the time. Yes, it can come as a complete surprise.
No matter what your reaction is, what your feelings are, your child needs to know you love them and they are safe. Yes, you will have feelings and reactions. Your child has been thinking about this for a very long time and to you, it is new. They cannot be responsible for helping you deal with your feelings. Find support. Go to PFLAG, find an online support group. If you have friends who are LGBTQ, talk to them. Let your child know you will be there for them no matter what.
Recognize the courage it took for your child to come out to you. Acknowledge that to them. Let them know you are proud of them and the courage it took to come out. Remember they felt safe enough to tell you. You’ve done a lot right!
There may be a lot to process once a child comes out. That’s okay. You have a journey just as they have had. Let yourself take the journey and one day, not too long in the future, you will look back on this time and wonder why it was such a big deal. You will find the enormous love you had for your child has grown beyond what you ever thought. You will have a sense of pride in them beyond what you’ve experienced so far. You will be okay and so will your LGBTQ child.