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Your daughter or son may have just told you that she/he is lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). You might have been wondering about their sexuality for a while, or the announcement might have come as a bolt out of the blue. Perhaps they have yet to ‘come out’ but somehow you know that they are gay and want to offer your support

Not a choice

The most important thing to remember in understanding your child’s sexual orientation is that it is not a choice. No one chooses their sexual orientation. No-one chooses to be straight; no-one chooses to be gay. It is simply a part of them – an important part, but never the less only a part of that person.

Gender Identity

A transgender person is someone who feels that the sex or gender they were born with does not match or sit easily with their sense of self (their self-identified gender) eg Born a boy but feel happier as a girl. Some trans people choose to transition which means taking steps to move away from the gender that they have been assigned towards the gender they self-identify with. This can include making changes to their name, what they want to wear, hairstyle etc. Each person’s transition is unique to them.

Why does this happen?

No one really knows why a person’s sexuality or gender identity changes. Parents in particular might feel guilty or responsible for the fact their child feels like this. However, in order to come to terms with a loved one’s status (lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual or transgender), it is important that parents do not blame themselves or think that they have done something wrong. In a GIDs discussion group one of the young people made an excellent remark:
“You wouldn’t go and see a comedian and ask why are they funny? Or [ask] is it in their genes?” Parents often have ideas as to how their children will turn out, but more often than not things don’t quite turn out that way! Asking why someone is the way they are is indeed a big philosophical question. However simply accepting people for who they are is a necessary part of human existence.

Supporting your child

If your child has just told you that they are LGBTQ+ the most important thing to think about is how you can best support them. Below are some first steps.
• Emphasise to your child that you will always love them, no matter what, and their sexual orientation or gender identity doesn’t change this.
• Reassure your child that their sexual orientation or gender identity is as much a unique part of them as their eye colour or height. It is not something that they choose or can change.
• Listen to your child – they will be experiencing a range of feelings as a result of telling you about their sexual orientation or gender identity; be there to hear them, and reassure them, when they need to talk.
• Help them find extra support. It’s important to recognise that sexual orientation and gender identity aren’t problems. However, your child may need support around them outside of the family, particularly if they are interested in exploring the gender reassignment process.

Supporting yourself

If your child has told you that they are LGBTQ+, you will be experiencing a range of feelings. It may have come as a surprise, or it may be something that you have thought about for a while. Either way, your feelings will most likely be similar to other parents or carers in the same situation.
The organisation Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLAG) offers the following advice for parents.
• Although you might be surprised or shocked by your child’s news, try and remember how vulnerable they are feeling.
• Remember that they are still the same daughter or son that you have always known and loved. Their sexual orientation or gender is part of who they are, not what they are.
• Your child has shared an important part of who they are with you. Accept their honesty and support them.
• If you have a positive and supportive attitude to your child’s news, family and friends are likely to take their lead from you.
• Don’t conceal your emotions. If their news was a surprise or a shock that you were totally unprepared for, it is best to tell your daughter or son this. Say you still love her/him and that nothing has changed that, but that you will need time to adjust.
• Get in touch with a parents’ support organisation where you will be able to talk through your emotions and listen to other parents’ experiences. (See useful links)

Gaining Support

Rainbow Youth is a local youth group that offers a place where young people can express themselves in a safe environment.
The group offers;rainbow-youth
• Safe space to be yourself
• Advice
• Fun
• Activities
• Social Events
• One to one support
• Support in coming out to friends, family, work or college

For further information email

Relevant pages

Relevant links

FFLAG: Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

Gendered Intelligence Online Parents Support Group Support and discussion space for parents & family members of young trans people.



The Proud Trust

Stonewall – Coming out LGBT Guide

Rainbow Youth Group email

School Nursing Telephone: 0800 0199 951 or email: