Tips For A Teen Who Just Came Out

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Hi Dr.Darcy. I am a teen who recently came out and I am having a hard time making sure it doesn't make people think differently of me or interfere with family life. I don't want to be asked a million questions by my parents about my sexual orientation because frankly I'm still not so comfortable about talking about it. Do you have any tips? Thank you so much! 

ANSWER

Congratulations on coming out! Now that you’ve made the declaration, you’re learning that coming out involves more than one conversation. It’s often a period of adjustment for both you and those in your life, and having questions fired at rapid speed often comes with the territory.

Generally speaking, parents suck at this part (even the amazing ones). There’s no manual for parents to follow, and often what works for one parent won’t work for another. If they didn’t ask questions or make reference to your sexual orientation, you (or a different teen) might feel invalidated or like they hadn’t heard (or believed) you when you came out. They’re sort of in a lose-lose situation. I’m telling you this because I want you to tap into some compassion for them. They’re simply clueless – which puts the burden on you to guide them.

You have to tell them what you want and don’t want. You might consider sending them this post for starters. The bottom line is that they’re not mind readers and you’re going to have to give them feedback (and set some boundaries) around what you are and aren’t comfortable discussing. Send them to PFLAG (linked to here) for some support and education. And let them know that you’ll initiate conversations when you’re ready.

As far as making sure that people don’t think of you differently, that’s a tough one – made tougher because we have no control over how people think. People will form whatever opinions they’re going to form – with or without your approval. And since you have no control over this, I suggest you focus on yourself. Connect with other LGBT youths. Make sure you’re getting the support that you need to adjust to being gay. And again, congratulations on taking this huge step. It’s an amazing time in history to be gay.

Writer’s Stats: Male, Gay.