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21 Nov 2005

in die closet
Ek is in die closet. Ek wil graag vir my ouers se maar ek weet nie hoe om dit vir hulle te se nie. Ek weet nie hoe hulle gaan reageer daarop nie. Ek ly 'n dubbele lewe. As ek na my ouers toe gaan sal my partner saam gaan maar ons is net vriendinne. Dit is nie baie lekker nie. Is daar dalk iemand wat vir my raad het oor hoe om my ouers te vertel ek is gay.
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Gay, lesbian and bisexual expert
Gay, lesbian and bisexual expert

01 Jan 0001

Hi Closet and thanks for your question.

The prospect of coming out to parents is extremely daunting for many people. You are not responsible for how your parents will react - all you can do is to provide them with the relevant information and allow them time to come to terms with your being lesbian. The following suggestions may be of value:

1. You don't need to come out to both parents simultaneously - many people come out to one parent first, to whom they feel particularly close and who they think will be more understanding or accepting.

2. Choose your time well - don't come out when there's already considerable stress or tension in the family.

3. Don't come out to a parent when they've been consuming alcohol.

4. Prepare yourself emotionally - ensure that your friends know what you intend doing, so that they can support you if needed, and feel confident of yourself; you have no reason to feel ashamed or guilty and if there is a negative response it is due to social prejudice and homophobia. You're simply being honest.

5. Allow your parents time to come to terms with the news. Unless they already suspected you're lesbian the news could be a shock to them and they may need time to 'mourn' the loss their straight daughter before they can really accept you as gay.

6. If you come out to one parent, negotiate with them whether you want them to inform your other parent. Coming out is a confidential matter and you may need to remind them of this - they cannot inform others without your consent.

7. Don’t overload your parent with too much information. Inform them that you’re lesbian, and what this means, and be prepared to answer their questions. You do not need to answer questions that are insulting or humiliating. It may not be wise to introduce your partner to them as your girlfriend at the same time if you’re concerned that they’ll blame her for ‘seducing’ you – you can always explain your relationship to them later.

I hope coming out goes well for you, and that your parents will respond well. Please keep us informed.

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