My child just came out to me! What do I do?

My daughter told me she has a crush on another girl. My son just told me he is non-binary. My child came out to me as pansexual, I'm not sure I understand what that means! WHAT DO I DO? First of all, congratulations! If you child told you about their identity that shows they care about your relationship. You probably have a lot of questions on your mind right now:

  • Aren’t they too young to know this?
  • How do I show my child that I support them - even though it is alot for me to take in right now?
  • What does non-binary even mean?
  • Will they get bullied in school?
  • Do they need therapy?

Take a deep breath and know that you are not alone in this.

10 first steps you can take:

  1. Listen to your child. Just listen even if you are uncomforable and thank them for telling you about themselves. You can also tell them that you will educate yourself.
  2. Write them a card with the simple statement “I love you for who you are!”. It is a small yet very supportive gesture. You can create the card in the colors of the pride flag. If your child is not out to all members of your household then you can use the colors in the writing - it is not obvious, but your child will get it.
  3. Educate yourself. Do some research. There are probably a lot of terms that you have not heard yet. You can start by reading articles from major newsoutlets, or directly go to LGBT+ sites. As always - the internet has a lot of information out there, and some of it is not supportive of LGBTQIA+ people, so be mindful of the sources of information. Of course you can directly ask your child, if there are websites or books that they wish for you to read.
  4. Look up your local LGBT Community center, do a google maps search for “LGBT Center”. Here you can find out if there are local offers for your child, such as Youth Groups or phone counselling. During Covid-19 times many LGBT Centers offer meetings online. In case there isn’t a center close to where you live you can contact the nearest one by phone or email and ask them, if they know of youth groups or services for young people in your area.
  5. Your local LGBT Center can also provide you with referrals, for example for therapists & doctors that support non-binary or trans* children, they can provide you with resources for your child's school or sports club, or churches that are supportive of the LGBT Community. Don’t hesitate to ask. If you are looking for a therapist in the US, check out the
  7. Join a facebook group. If you are on facebook you can search for groups, such as "PFLAG" + your location, "Parents of" + your childs identity, e.g. non-binary children, "Parents supporting" + your childs identiy or LGBT etc. As with all things online, some groups are very supportive, others not so much. Feel it out and trust your judgement if this is helpful for you or not.
  8. Ask your child who else they have come out to. You need to respect that this is their process. For example, if they don’t want to tell other family members yet, please respect that and appreciate that they have told you. You may ask them if you can talk to one of your grown-up friends, who will respect their privacy.
  9. Ask your child how they are doing. Do they have friends, with whom they can openly speak about her identity with? Do they experience bullying? Let them know that they can talk to you and that they can call a queer youth hotline if they ever want to talk to someone else. In the USA you can provide them with the info of the
  10. Practice Saying:
  • Thanks for correcting me. I didn’t realize that.
  • I hadn’t thought of it like that. I understand now.
  • I was wrong about that, and I’ve changed my mind.
  • I should do some more research before I argue this point.

Hello, my name is Joy, and I want to support you in this process. I am a 41 year old migrant lesbian mom. My wife and I have two kid, 9 & 11 years  old. Growing up I did not know any queer people, I didn’t tell anyone about my feelings toward other girls until I was 18. When I first came out to my mom, she told me I was crazy and this is just a phase. I have so many queer, trans* and non-binary friends, who don’t have meaningful contact with their parents anymore. So everytime I hear of parents that truly support their children, my heart jumps with happiness. By now I am a parent myself, and as a coach from and for the LGBTQAP+ Community I love supporting other parents who want to show up for their children and support them for who they are. It is ok to have questions & you will inevitably mess up a few times in this process. Even if you fully support your child for who they are, there will be moments where you think you are failing - and moments where your kid simply drives you crazy. Your life is more complex than the life of other parents. That can be a very good thing. It can also be challenging at times, so you don’t have to do this on your own. I am here to support you.

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