- It’s not your story to tell – you will not feel the scrutiny, your child will.
- Keep pace with your child – their comfort level is most important.
- Get permission – ask if you can talk to a particular person (even your sibling or best friend).
- Judge your audience – they may break confidence or gossip.
Definition: The timing of telling friends, family, or anyone that your child identifies as transgender and/or LGBTQ is important. This is complex and must be based on your child’s decisions of who knows and when.
Why: Keeping pace with your child is a way to support your child, find support yourself, and become an advocate
Timing: Depends on your child’s comfort level. Becoming completely open could happen quickly, or it may take years, or it may never occur. You must take cues from your child about whom to tell and when.
6 – Protecting Privacy: Child Is Only Out to You
- Caution: Do not “out” your child.
- However emotional you are, respect your child’s privacy. Take time to find your balance and gather helpful information.
- Be an ally.
- See the independent actions above and pursue all you can.
- Educate yourself.
- This is support for you as well and there are many options (e.g., strongfamilyalliance.org/resources, PFLAG).
- Find a confidential and supportive space.
- Online groups can be especially helpful, such as those from Trans Families which hosts events by age of your child in both English and Spanish.
- Work with an affirming therapist.
- Talk with accepting clergy.
- Tell your story anonymously
- Post your anonymous story on our website at strongfamilyalliance.org/Family Stories.
7 – Assisting and Asking Permission: Child Has Told A Trusted Few
- Keep pace.
- Don’t ask your child to stretch and don’t hold them back.
- If asked, be willing to help tell others.
- Help your child tell someone else if your child wants your help. You may be part of the conversation or you may be sent as a messenger.
- Ask permission if you want to tell someone.
- For someone your child knows well, such as a relative or close friend, it’s essential your child agrees. It’s their relationship too.
- Ask how you can help.
- Sometimes they want help and other times not. It’s important to ask, so they stay in control.
- Keep the conversation flowing.
- Ask normal questions about life, school, work, and friends. Don’t make everything about being LGBTQ.
- Keep your worries to yourself.
- Find a trusted resource to talk with but don’t lay your fears on your child.
8 – Acknowledging and Educating Others: Child Is Out to Some Family Or Friends
- Be a welcoming home.
- Invite their friends to your home. Make an effort to know ALL their friends, but particularly those close to your child.
- Find your comfort zone.
- Practice talking about this change until you have the words comfortably down.
- Ask your child how to handle questions.
- Find out how they answer and parallel them.
- Be a buffer if needed.
- Keep your balance if someone else such as a relative is emotional or critical. Don’t let them grill your child.
- Discuss possible gossip.
- Help your child be realistic that others may talk. That may be good or bad – take your cue from your child.
- Get your statements and answers down pat.
- Find positive, affirming ways to answer if someone asks or implies something. You are an ally – act like it.
9 – Creating Normalcy and Ease: Child Is Progressively Open
- Grow with your child.
- Be more open as your child is more open. Make it ordinary. Talk easily about this and many other topics around school, activities, sports, etc.
- Be ready for dating and relationships.
- Try to apply consistent guidelines about dating, especially if other children are in the home. Curfews, activities and boundaries can still be appropriate.
- There may be open affection. Try to think “if they were a co-ed couple would this bother me?”
- Make your home a destination.
- Not only will you know your child’s friends, you can become a friend to others whose families may be rejecting or on the same journey.
10 – Speaking Up: Both You and Your Child Are Out
- Take a public stand.
- Join one of the many Support and Advocacy Groups
- Actively advocate for LGBTQ rights. Be a public voice when possible.
- Help other families and youth.
- Support or help your school start a GSA Club.
- Recommend GLSEN resources to teachers and school counselors.
- Be available to parents with a child coming out as a support. Help them find resources and information.