How to Tell Your Family That You Are Gay

Are you gay? Do you want to know how to come out to your family? There's no right or wrong way to do it, but there are some ways to keep things as direct and painless as possible. Coming out is a significant experience in many gay peoples' lives, and it can be intense, either in a positive or negative way.[1]


  1. Image titled Tell Your Family That You Are Gay Step 1
    Choose the best time for you and your family. You will be the best judge of when the best time to tell each person is. You may want to tell everyone at a family gathering, or you may wish to take each family member, one at a time - your own personality, style, and family dynamic will determine the best way for you to share your news with the family.
  2. Image titled Tell Your Family That You Are Gay Step 2
    Look for an ally in your family. If you think one of your relatives might be more accepting and tolerant of your gay identity, tell that person first. Ask them if you could meet when they can spare some time to talk about something important to you. When you meet, be direct - don't beat around the bush. Say it simply and without apology, and wait for their questions. If this person is accepting, get them to help you come out to your whole family.
  3. Image titled Tell Your Family That You Are Gay Step 3
    Have your supportive relative on hand. If you choose to make an announcement to come out, be sure that the relative you have already confided in is on hand to help cue the other family members to behave maturely. If you choose to tell some loved ones in a smaller, more private way, let your confidant know your plans so that he or she will be prepared to talk with the relatives you've just clued in.
  4. Image titled Tell Your Family That You Are Gay Step 4
    Keep it simple. If you decide to make one announcement to the whole family, try to keep from being too dramatic or making too huge a deal of it. Think of it as getting your family to deal with it the same way as they would deal with finding out that you wanted to change your major in college.
  5. Image titled Tell Your Family That You Are Gay Step 5
    Speak clearly, don't joke or laugh. Whether you're telling the family as a group, or just one or two people at a time, the more confident and easy you are when you make your announcement, the easier your family will handle it. If you treat it like you are ashamed, they will be more likely to be ashamed.
  6. Image titled Tell Your Family That You Are Gay Step 6
    Make sure your family understands the terms you're using. Are you coming out to your family as transgender? Bisexual? While keeping it simple is best, be sure they understand your news, especially if you're getting into terms like "gender queer" or "dysphoria."[2] Prepare simple, easy to understand definitions beforehand. If you're coming out to older relatives, there is a good chance they have never heard these words before.
  7. Image titled Tell Your Family That You Are Gay Step 7
    Allow time for them to process and assimilate your news. Some family members may accept your announcement with a shrug and smile, others may cry and ask if it's their fault. Whatever the reaction, remain calm and know that these things take time. If you remain calm and confident, it will help them handle your announcement. If someone tells you they are shocked, angry, disappointed in you, devastated, etc., tell them, "I wish you didn't feel that way, and I hope you'll wish the best for me, even if you don't agree with the way I need to live. I love you and I understand you may have some concerns or questions, and I'll be glad to talk with you about it any time."
  8. Image titled Tell Your Family That You Are Gay Step 8
    Repeat as necessary. There are some relatives who may willfully choose to ignore what you have told them, and continue to make remarks about you "Finding the right person," or having "a nice friend whose son/daughter would be perfect for you," or "someday you'll get married and put all this nonsense behind you." Accept their opinions about it, but keep your stand and don't consider changing your mind. Be as firm as possible without screaming or yelling. Remember to be direct.


  • Hold your head up and just be yourself. Don't apologize for being gay - it's just a part of who you are, and you know it. It's easiest for others to know it if you simply expect them to come to the party that way.
  • Let them know that you are happy. When family members are upset by finding out that a loved one is gay, it's often because they imagine that you will live an unhappy, unfulfilled life that is second best. Assure them that life is good, and your relationship makes you very happy (if you are in one).
  • Don't be shy about coming out- if you hang back or avoid eye contact it will appear that you are ashamed- and that will definitely be a deciding factor as to whether you are accepted and blessed by your family and friends. Be proud and don't be afraid of letting people know.
  • Don't joke or laugh about it right away, and don't present an attitude of shame.
  • The more you take the news in stride, the more your family will. They will take their cues about how to react from the way you make the announcement to them - if you seem furtive, ashamed, or scared, they will think it's a bad thing. If you seem relaxed, calm, and confident, look them in the eye and say it with a smile that tells them everything is okay, they will take it much better.
  • There are several support groups for family members - PFLAG is one, "Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays". Take a look online to find an organization in your area you can refer your family to if they need it.
  • For yourself, look for gay and lesbian counseling services online. The Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender National Help Center offers a hotline you can call to speak with a counselor: . Groups like this exist worldwide, for instance, in Australia, check out ACON (Aids Council of NSW) and the "Gay and Lesbian Counseling Service" in Sydney, Australia.
  • Are you searching for the right time to come out? If you're putting it off, October 11th is National Coming Out Day in the U.S.[3]
  • DO NOT come out if you feel your health may be threatened! Wait until you can either move out of you parents' home or be able to survive financially without the parent/family member/relative.
  • Think about it before. Play it out in your head if your parents are easy going then I would kind of let them get a feel that you like the same gender first and then tell them when the time is right.


  • Your family might not accept you immediately, and may even actively discourage your lifestyle. Be prepared for the conversation to be painful, and for the process of acceptance to take time.
  • If you are under 18, or financially dependent on the family you are coming out to, think about the possibility they will cut you off, or kick you out of your home. Do you have a Plan B in place, such as staying with other relatives or friends? If financial or safety concerns are at play, consider waiting to come out until you are more independent.
  • If you are under 18, and are considering coming out to a guidance counselor, teacher, or another professional in your life, you should check your school or the institution's confidentiality policy. In some cases, these professionals are obligated to share information with your guardian(s).

Article Info

Categories: Coming Out as LGBT