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Coming Out as a LGBT Teen

Should you come out as a LGBT teen? Whom might you tell, and how?

Choose Your Person. continued...

That happened with Erin Oliveri. Although her father was emotional, he immediately accepted her declaration that she was a lesbian. But her mom took longer, at first protesting that Erin was just going through a phase, like when she tried the guitar for a few months.

Of course, you don’t have to come out to everyone. Just because you’re out at home doesn’t mean you want to or have to be out at school, or at church.You need to feel comfortable about how the person may respond. “People need to earn the right for you to come out to them,” Logan says.

Be Patient.

Remember, it probably took you awhile to adjust to the idea of being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. “Have empathy for parents if their reaction is shock and not immediately embracing,” Belge says.“It was a process for you. Your family and friends haven’t necessarily done that process yet and they need an adjustment period, as well.”

Find Your Tribe.

You’re not alone. There are literally millions of other kids out there who’ve been where you are. You need to find them and help each other. 

Look for a high school gay-straight alliance or a local chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG, www.pflag.org), or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN, www.glsen.org). If there’s nobody local, you can find support online through communities like PFLAG, GLSEN, the Trevor Project (www.thetrevorproject.org), and Lyric.org.

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Reviewed on August 30, 2011

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