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How to talk about

Sexuality

Sexuality

According to The Guardian the average age people are coming out is getting younger.

It wrote: "A poll for Stonewall of 1,500 people who were already out found that among the over-60s the average age they had come out was 37.

"But those in their 30s had come out at an average age of 21, and in the group aged 18 to 24 it was 17."

This research suggests your child is likely to approach you in their teenage years.

Whatever age they are, give them time to explore their own emotions.

They may want to discuss their uncertanities with you, they may prefer to wait until they are sure of how they feel before opening up to you.


What are the signs?

FFLAG (Families and friends of lesbians and gays) is a national voluntary organisation and registered charity dedicated to supporting parents and their lesbian, gay, bisexual and Trans daughters and sons.

It offers this advice:

Just occasionally parents will realise that their child might be lesbian/gay/bi before their child feels able to approach them.

It might be that you have found something that indicates your child might be gay – perhaps accessing gay websites, something on a mobile phone. 

It might be that someone outside the family has said something to you.


How do I talk to my child about their sexuality?

FFLAG provides an advice booklet covering this question, you can download the full guide here:

What lesbian/gay/bi people generally say is that for them, the easiest way for the subject to be brought up would be if one of their parents were to say something like the following:

"I’ve wondered for a while if you might be lesbian/gay/bi. If you are, I want you to know that it makes no difference to the love that I feel for you. I will always do my very best to support you. Whether you are lesbian/gay/bi or not, I love you, and if you want to, let’s talk about things."

In some families it might be better to write something rather than speak. This perhaps can provide a bridge for the child who may be anxious to talk but is unable to find the words.

Even young people who clearly know that they are lesbian/gay/bi can have difficulty in accepting the reality – and putting it in to words to your parents, makes if very real.

Your child might well deny that they are lesbian/gay/bi. You might have read the signals wrong or it might be that they simply aren’t ready to tell you yet.

But gradually and gently restate, over a period of time, your love for your child and the strength of that bond.

In that way you will create an atmosphere in which it is easier for your daughter or son to talk to you when they are ready.

If your child makes the first move and tells you the news, FFLAG has this advice on how you might feel and the best way to react:

  • Although you might be surprised/shocked by your child’s news, try and remember how vulnerable they are feeling.

  • Remember too, that they are still the same daughter or son that you have always known and loved. Being lesbian, gay or bisexual is part of who they are, not what they are. No-one, gay or straight, is defined entirely by their sexual orientation. They have shared an important part of who they are. Please accept their honesty and openness and move forward together as a family in that spirit.

  • There are a whole range of emotions that are common to many parents who have just learnt their child is lesbian, gay or bisexual. These emotions can be everything from a sense of loss, guilt, denial, worry, isolation through to relief and affirmation. 

    Some parents feel a sense of loss when their daughter or son comes out. Guilt is another emotion that many parents experience. Some parents simply try and deny the facts.

    On learning their child is lesbian/gay/bi many worries come to the fore. Parents worry that their daughter/son will be ignored or rejected by their friends or other family members or they will be bullied at school. They worry about their child finding a partner and having a loving relationship. They worry about their child’s sexual health particularly about HIV.

    Sometimes parents are saddened by the thought that they might not become grandparents.

     Many parents talk of their sense of isolation when they learn that their child is lesbian/gay/bi. They might be totally accepting of their child, but still have concerns that they find difficult to share.

     To some parents it comes as a relief to know that their child is lesbian/gay/bi. They might have known that their child was worrying about something.


Where else can I get help?

  • SupportLine provides emotional support and details of agencies, counsellors, helplines, support groups across the UK. Call them on 01708 765200 or email info@supportline.org.uk
  • EACH - Educational Action Challenging Homophobia are on 0808 100 0143 or online here 
  • FFLAG can be called on 0845 652 0311 or head to the website
  • LGBT Foundation can be 
called on 0345 330 3030
 or head to the website


© Produced by Adele Norris in association with Eagle Radio