So Your Kid Came Out of the Closet

Coming Out Day just passed on October 11. If your kid just came out to you as LGBTQ2s and you’re struggling with it, I imagine you’ve spent the last while feeling alone, afraid, angry and betrayed.

I want you to understand that, while I am a proud queer woman, I am also a parent. This means I am on your side. I do not judge you. I do not think you are evil for having a difficult time dealing with your child’s newfound sexuality and identity. If you don’t judge me for taking my driver’s test three times before the adjudicator took pity on me and my horrible parallel parking, then I won’t judge you for being human. Deal? Okay.

Here are some things I imagine might be going on in your head.

IF MY KID IS QUEER, THAT MEANS I FAILED.

Let’s reframe this. Do you remember the decision your child made to be brave enough to take their first steps? Say their first word? Go down the slide by themselves? Introduce themselves to new friends? You have, through your love and confidence, trained them to be the brave person they are. It is with this guidance that you have given them that they came to you to tell you their truth. Most likely, they have considered the terrifying possibility of losing you and still were brave enough to come out to you. Pat yourself on the back. You’ve raised a kick-ass kid, my friend. It’s Miller Time.

MAYBE MY KID ISN’T TRULY QUEER. THEY’RE JUST CONFUSED.

I want you to know that as someone who is queer, identifying openly as such is not a decision made lightly. In today’s society, being open about your truth takes a lot of risk. It’s not done out of confusion. It’s done out of honesty. And even though it’s honest, identities and sexualities can change and evolve. That said, this is your kid’s truth right here, right now.

What’s more confusing are parents who are not supporting you. The decision you can make today is: Do I want to support my child’s truth and love them in their honesty? Or do I want to chance my child facing all the risks of not having supportive families such as suicidality, substance use and unhealthy relationships? You have absolute agency here. No one is forcing you to walk down Yonge Street with rainbow balloons. But your behaviour and ability to process this truth over the next while will determine much of your child’s future.

IF EVERYONE FINDS OUT ABOUT MY KID BEING QUEER, WE WILL LOSE FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

This may be true. But as a parent to a newly out queer, there will be plenty of opportunities to make friends and chosen family who support your child’s identity. There are many parents who are still faithful to their religions, are able to keep friends and family, and join new community circles simply by asking for help. PFLAG Canada is a great option. I know of parents who staunchly denounced their child’s identity and slowly, with the help of PFLAG, were able to develop new relationships and evolve in existing ones. You are not alone.

BUT I’M AFRAID MY KID WILL HAVE A HARD LIFE

This may also be true, but it’s up to all of us that people of diverse identities can flourish and grow in a world that does not hate them for being who they are. It starts with us parents creating that safe environment. Your community will learn by example watching the compassion and love you have for your child.

If you’re still afraid of all the hardships LGBTQ2s folks live on a daily basis, I want you to know this:

I have, by choice, married a loving partner. Your child can, if they so choose, have a healthy partnership. They can also live a healthy life of solitude.

I have a witty, wonderful child who makes me belly laugh every day. Your child can, if they so choose, have their own child in a multitude of ways.

I have a handful of very loving friends I call my chosen family because we choose to be in each other’s lives every day.

I am spiritual. I am in constant awe of the world around me. I feel holiness and sacredness in all the art I create. I am with God. Your child can, if they so choose, be spiritual as well.

I am writing this blog post, content and happy in my truth. I am full of possibilities. I am full of hope. I believe in love. I believe in change. I believe in your child’s truth. I believe in you.

Catherine Hernandez

Catherine Hernandez is playwright, performer and award-winning author. She is the author of M is for Mustache: A Pride ABC Book (Flamingo Rampant) and Scarborough (Arsenal Pulp Press). She is the Artistic Director of b current performing arts.

Read all posts by Catherine Hernandez

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