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Teen Health

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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 Moment.

You may be tempted to respond angrily to someone’s anti-gay slur with “Oh yeah? Well, I’m gay, so shut up!” But that’s not likely to get a good reaction. 

Pick your time and place carefully. “I don’t recommend giving a monumental dissertation at a holiday dinner. It tends not to go well,” Logan says. “Instead, try for a relaxed afternoon that doesn’t have a holiday or a big event tied to it.” 

She suggests writing down what you’re going to say first, and role-playing with someone else who already knows.

Choose Your Person.

Logan says that most LGBT teens choose to come out first to their mom, but her research shows that coming out to the opposite-gender parent is often most successful. “Boys coming out to their moms tend to get a better reaction than boys coming out to dads, and girls coming out tend to be more successful with their dads,” she says. “It may be because the same gender feels like you’re rejecting their parenting.”

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.”

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