Reviewed By Cara Swanston - Registered Member MBACP Adv. Dip.
Supporting Someone: Coming Out
27 June 2023
When they come out, be the rock they need. Learn the dos and don'ts of providing love, acceptance, and understanding.
Counsellor @ uHub Therapy Centre
When someone decides to “come out” and share their sexuality, it can be a daunting experience for that person. They may have been thinking about coming out to you for quite some time, and are scared that the response may be negative. If a loved one comes out to you and shares with you their sexuality, the most important thing is to show acceptance and non judgement.
Here are some do’s and don’ts if a loved one comes out to you
- Listen quietly and carefully, don’t interrupt what they’re saying.
- Thank them for being open and trusting you.
- Reassure them that you love and accept them and that nothing has changed.
- Educate yourself- if you are unsure about terminology or something that they have said , do some research and don’t be afraid to respectfully ask questions, they will appreciate that you are trying to learn.
- Give them comfort. Comforting words or a hug go a long way and for some people they will be scared or anxious so this may be appreciated!
- Be judgemental.
- Use phrases such as “are you sure” – phrases like this can be invalidating. The individual may have been questioning their sexuality for a while and this phrase can be harmful and cause anxiety.
- Say things like “I already knew” or “I’m not surprised” again these phrases can invalidate the personal journey that person has been on.
- Make inappropriate comments or jokes or ask invasive questions.
- Do not share their sexuality with anyone else. They will tell other people if and when they are ready it is not yours to share.
Be a source of comfort, understanding, and acceptance for your loved ones. Let's make Northern Ireland a place where everyone feels celebrated!
This video below shows more ways in which you can support someone who comes out to you. 🌈💙
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