Your unwavering support can help your gay teen feel loved.

How to Approach Your Teen About Being Gay

by Barbie Carpenter

If you suspect your teen is gay, you probably want to find out the truth and ask him some questions. However, coming out is a personal decision, one that should be made by your teen and not dictated by your curiosity. You can encourage your teen to be open about his sexuality by creating a loving and supportive environment. With your support, your teen will be more comfortable coming out to his family.

Search for opportunities to discuss being gay in casual, general ways. Talk about a television show or character who is gay. Tell your teen about your gay coworker and her family, speaking positively about her lifestyle. By showing that you support gay characters or friends, you tell your teen that being gay is OK. In doing so, your teen will sense a supportive home environment, which might encourage her to open up about her sexuality.

Talk to your teen about safe relationships and sexual health with both sexes. Talking about safe sex and safe relationships is important for teens both gay and straight. When speaking to your teen about these important issues, do not speak to your teen boy about a girlfriend. Instead, talk about his girlfriend or boyfriend or, more generally, his partner, which can show him that you are open to whatever lifestyle he chooses.

Create a supportive home environment. Do not speak negatively about or downgrade individuals of different cultures, ethnicities or sexualities. Create a social circle of individuals with different backgrounds, and treat them all equally. The environment you build can encourage your teen to come out and discuss his sexuality openly.

Introduce your teen to a support group that can help her work through her feelings. Perhaps she is certain she is gay, or perhaps she is struggling with mixed feelings about both sexes. She might feel isolated or even depressed about her sexuality. A support group will provide your gay teen with the resources she needs, encouraging her to embrace her sexuality and share her feelings with your family.


  • Do not force your teen to come out before he is ready. Avoid asking him outright if he is gay. Instead, create a supportive, loving environment and speak of your general support of same-sex individuals, couples and families, which will start a dialogue about being gay.

About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.

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