The national body FFLAG, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gay Men, has updated its support booklets for young people coming out to their parents and for parents themselves.
The booklets recommend young gay people find the right time and space to talk to their family members, avoiding busy, emotionally-charged events.
One parent recalls: “Sara told us she had a girlfriend on the morning her elder sister was getting married. I was trying to hold it together for everyone but there were so many emotions spinning in my head I didn’t know what to do.”
It recommends giving parents sufficient time to process the news of their child’s coming out, examining how parents’ attitudes to LGB issues may change after if their own child is gay or bisexual and where to find further support.
The organisation adds that advice is available via email and telephone from FFLAG along with Stonewall and other gay switchboards.
FFLAG’s other relaunched leaflet aims to help family members and friends deal with a son or daughter coming out, stressing that sexual orientation is not a choice, the importance of parental reactions and emotions and directions to advice on squaring a child’s sexuality with religious faith.
One parent wrote: “I was distressed to realise that my son knew from around age 11 that he was different, had hoped it was a phase he was going through, and later had prayed he’d be delivered from it. He had been going through something on his own for years and thought he might never be able to tell anyone. I’d hoped I was a good mother and yet I had been totally ignorant of all of that.”
Paul Roberts, Chief Executive of LGBT Consortium said: “The booklets produced by FFLAG have always been an amazing resource for both lesbian and gay people as well as their parents. Having seen the updated versions we are confident they will continue to be vital resources for many, many people for years to come. They look amazing and contain some incredibly useful information.”