Coming Out as Family and Friends
- It shows support for our gay friends and family members in an openly and pervasively homophobic culture and legal system.
- It supports the gay people we meet who we don't even know are gay. Plenty of GLBT people are still closeted or quiet about their orientations. Our open support is encouraging to them.
- It supports the straight people we meet who have gay family members. Just as we don't always know who around us is gay, we're equally unlikely to know who has GLBT family members and friends. Our openness helps those who are struggling quietly, whether we know it or not.
- It helps educate the straight people we meet who do not have close gay friends or relatives. Many, if not most, straight people who are not gay-friendly are more uncomfortable and frightened than they are hostile or intolerant of non-heterosexual orientation. Our being open allows them to ask questions, learn, and reduce their fear and discomfort.
- It's good for you. It feels good to stand up for what you know is right, even though it might be difficult the first couple of times. It also builds up your own strength and courage when you do it in not-so-friendly situations.
Engaging in conversation with your family member about their life, without avoiding talking about the gay parts of it
- Some families talk about each other's lives, but at the same time actively avoid discussions about sexual orientation.
Spending time with your family member's GLBT friends, and getting to know who they are as people
Educating yourselves and others around you
- Visit and tell your friends to visit the website of a local PFLAG chapter near you (to find the nearest chapter, go to “contact Stay Close” and select the “PFLAG Chapter” tab). You will learn more about how PFLAG can help your family stay closer and what PFLAG is doing in your region.
- Attend one of the PFLAG meetings where you can meet other people going through similar experiences (look up the activities of a chapter near you).
Spread the correct information about GLBT people. The misinformation and stereotypes people get of the GLBT community make it harder for families to acknowledge the fact that someone they love is a GLBT person and to pursue lifelong rewarding relationships with that GLBT loved one.