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‘Be proud, be happy’: How parents can support a child coming out

Click to play video: 'Parenting tips to help break down the stigma of coming out' Parenting tips to help break down the stigma of coming out
Fathers and educators Bj Barone and Frankie Nelson detail their experience of coming out and share tips for parents to have supportive conversations about embracing identity. – Jun 7, 2021

While each individual’s coming-out experience will vary, it’s important for parents of LGBTQ2 children to offer their love and support.

Fathers and educators BJ Barone and Frankie Nelson recently visited The Morning Show to discuss their experiences of coming out as gay, and offered advice to parents on how to best support their child.

Nelson says they have talked to a lot of parents, and one thing they remind parents of is to ensure their children know they love them, no matter what.

“I think it’s so important that your children always know that they can come to you for anything, so that if you do see them struggling, you can feel confident that they are ready or you’re ready and they know that you’re there for them,” Nelson says.

“Just give them that type of information and talk about it generally, about being gay without pointing fingers at them, and just let them know your opinions.”

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Read more: Children of LGBTQ2 parents share their stories in new book launched in Toronto

Barone adds this discussion should also happen with your partner prior to having it with your children to ensure you’re on the same page.

When it comes to how to respond to their child when they come out or approach their parent on how they are feeling, Nelson says if parents don’t know what to say in the moment, they can tell them they love them, then take a step back to seek advice from others, see a support group or learn more.

“Because I know from my experience, some things were said to me that could not be taken back, and in my experience of coming out … that led to a lot of heartbreak on my part,” he says.

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Pride Month celebrations go virtual amid COVID-19 – Jun 5, 2021

 

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Barone adds that when he first came out to his mother, the first thing she said was, “You’re my son that I love no matter what.”

“That’s what every parent should do and say to their child, because you have children, to love and to raise, and you have to be there for them and accept them for who they are, and love them for who they are,”  Barone says.

Read more: Remembering four Black LGBTQ2 activists who changed the world

On what parents should avoid saying or doing when their child comes out to them, Nelson says to avoid dismissing their child and saying it’s “just a phase.”

Barone adds there are many support groups and resources for parents who are unsure of what to say or how to react.

“That would have meant so much to me, to have my parents go and seek a support group and talk to other people … because they kept it a secret and that also hurt a lot,” Nelson says.

“Don’t keep it a secret. It’s not a secret, be proud, be happy. … It goes a long way with your child to know not only are you proud but you want to scream it from the rooftops.”

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Watch Barone and Nelson’s full interview with ‘The Morning Show’ in the video, top.

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