I know both of my parents are transphobic and homophobic. Should I come out to them or not?

I know both of my parents are transphobic and homophobic. I don’t know if I should come out to them or not. I don’t know if they would kick me out or not. I am an ftm Demi-Boy but I don’t think either of them would respect it. They are conservative Christians. I have proof that they are transphobic and homophobic. What do I do?

Béatrice (elle/she/her)

Hello Parker,

First of all, thank you so much for writing to us and trusting us with this question. I’m sorry that you’re going through this difficult situation, but I admire your courage in seeking out help and sharing your story. From what I understand, you’re a trans teenager who’s wondering if you should come out to your parents. You’re uncertain because you have reasons to believe your parents are transphobic and homophobic, so they could have a negative reaction. I understand how this could make you feel hesitant to come out. 

I want to reassure you that you’re not alone in feeling this way and that there are a lot of people out there who are facing these same feelings of uncertainty, fear, and doubt around coming out. I want you to know that you don’t have to come out until you are ready and feel safe to do so. Some people prefer to wait after they’ve moved out of the house, or when they’re more financially independent, to come out to their parents. The most important thing is that you are safe, so if you plan on going through with your coming out, here are some things you can do to prepare.

  1. Test the waters: Talk about LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer) topics around your parents to get a feel for how they react. You say you have proof they are homophobic and transphobic. What kind of proof? It may not mean that they will react negatively to your coming out. You can’t tell for certain whether someone will be accepting or not, but you can guess based on how they react to other queer people. This can include people you know, celebrities, or even fictional characters. For example, you could ask things like “Did you hear that this actor just came out as gay/trans?” to see how they respond.
  2. Start where it’s safest: Seek out support from friends, other family members or trusted adults, like a teacher. It may be helpful to come out to one trusted individual first and even have their support if and/or when you decide to come out to your parents. If you know another trans or queer person, it may also be helpful to speak to them beforehand. 
  3. Prepare the coming out itself; What will you say? How and when will you say it? For example, you might prefer to write a letter rather than to speak to them directly. Also, you might want to choose a time when you know your parents will be in a better mood and open to listening. 
  4. Prepare emotionally for a negative reaction. Unfortunately, as you pointed out yourself, your parents might not have a good reaction. If that’s the case, there are resources available to help you (see the list below). You might also want to plan for a safe place to stay, like a friend’s house, after coming out. Above all, remember that people’s reactions are about them and don’t reflect on the realness of your identity. It is not your fault if people are not accepting of you. 

I want to add, because you mentioned that your parents are conservative Christians, that faith and religion don’t have to be in opposition with acceptance and support of LGBTQ+ people. Queer people of faith exist all over the world and being religious does not mean that you are automatically homophobic or transphobic. Of course, I understand that it may play a role if your parents are conservative too.

Lastly, here are some resources that may be helpful to you:

  • This Healthline article gives some good coming out tips.
  • The Trevor Project put out this coming out handbook for young LGBTQ+ people. The Trevor Project provides information and support to young queer people. You can visit their website for more information, and you can call 1-866-488-7386 anytime for support. Also, using TrevorSpace, you can connect with other young people who are facing situations similar to yours.
  • PFLAG is an organization that supports LGBTQ+ people and their loved ones. They have chapters all over the United States and even offer resources for faith-based support. Go on their website to find a chapter near you or to see what resources they offer for family members of LGBTQ+ people.
  • The LGBT National Help Center offers peer support, community connections, and resource information. They have different hotlines, including one dedicated to supporting people coming out (1-888-688-5428) and one supporting young people (1-800-246-7743).

As I’ve said at the beginning of my answer, you absolutely don’t have to come out if you’re not ready or if you don’t feel safe and comfortable enough to do so right now. It does not make your identity any less valid. Some people come out when they’re older and some never come out, and that’s okay too. However, I understand that hiding this part of yourself can also be painful and if you feel that you must come out now, I hope the tips and resources I’ve given you will be helpful. Remember that whatever happens with your parents, you are not alone. Your identity is valid, you are deserving of love, and you are valuable. 

Good luck to you and don’t hesitate to reach out again if you need it!

All the best,

Béatrice (she/her), volunteer for AlterHéros