Some families may find themselves wanting help because they think or know their child is gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans. Lots of families have found themselves in this situation.
The good news is there’s plenty of support available. Even better news is that most families, given time, manage to accept this news and carry on with family life, keeping their child where they belong - in the heart of the family.
How are you feeling?
Your family member coming out to you might be something you were expecting or it might be a big surprise. It’s important to remember that you may have lots of different feelings, like guilt, grief, sadness, anger, relief, shock, or even happiness.
The important thing to know is that your family member chose you to come out to you for a reason. They probably trust you and want to talk about how they are feeling and see that you still love them for who they are. It was a big step for them and it’s important that they feel supported and loved. It might be awkward or uncomfortable for you, but in time your relationship will feel normal again. It is also important that you can find the support you need for yourself, because you may also be going through a lot of emotions.
Information and support for families
What can really help when you realise someone in the family is gay is reliable information and the chance to talk to someone who understands just how you might be feeling. There are lots of support groups and helplines available for you.
FFLAG (Familes and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) runs a website, support lines, and groups.
Phone: 0845 652 0311
PACE is a counselling organisation with a lot of experience in helping all members of the family, straight or gay. They run a helpline for anyone dealing with family issues to do with someone’s sexuality.
Phone: 0808 180 7223
If your child is trans, there are a number of support organisations. Mermaids support parents of trans young people so may be a good starting point.
Sex and sexual health
If your child is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or trans you might have questions or worries about HIV and safer sex. You can talk over what’s on your mind with someone from our helpline THT Direct by calling 0808 802 1221.
Information and support for you if you're gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans
Although most families come to terms with having someone in the family who’s lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans, it can take a while. So you might want some help in the meantime. Or perhaps you haven’t told your family (or anyone) and would like some tips on how to do it.
There's some tips on telling your parents you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans on the Manchester Parents Group too.
Mermaids are a support organisation for trans people and their families.