Family, Kids & Relationships LGBTQ+

What to do if your kid’s friend tells you they’re LGBTQ+

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Has one of your kid’s friends ever come out to you as LGBTQ+?

If this happens, it’s important not to overstep any boundaries. If a child comes out to you, it means they trust you! You can honor their trust by respecting their boundaries around who they want to share this info with. 

Thank them for sharing this info with you and reassure them that they’re safe with you. Celebrate their identity with them and tell them you’re proud of them!

It may feel like a good idea to tell their parents, but it’s important to let them come out to others when and if they feel comfortable and safe enough to do so.

If you believe their parents would be supportive, you can encourage them to come out to their own family by acknowledging their complex feelings about it and reassuring them that those who love them would want them to be their true self at home. 

If you fear that their parents wouldn’t be supportive, you can connect them with online resources and communities for LGBTQ+ youth that can help them feel less isolated. 

Ultimately, it’s their choice whether or not to come out to other people in their lives. But having a trusted adult in their life that they can talk to can make a huge difference for a young LGBTQ+ person!

What to do if a kid’s friend comes out to you as LGBTQ+

  • Thank them for opening up to you and reassure them they’re safe with you.
  • Don’t overstep their boundaries. It’s up to them when and if they share this info with others.
  • Celebrate their identity! Make sure they know that they are loved and part of a welcoming community. 

Should I tell their parents?

If you think their parents would be supportive

  • Acknowledge their complex feelings about coming out to family.
  • Let them lead the way and decide when to share this info with their own parents.
  • Remind them that the people who love them would want them to be their true selves, but don’t pressure them.

If you worry their parents wouldn’t be supportive…

  • Keep the information to yourself. You can offer to help them look up best practices or the safest ways to come out to family, and/or help think through safety nets they might need if it doesn’t go well (a safe place to stay, financial support, etc).
  • Let the child know you can provide a safe space for them to share what they’re going through.
  • Connect them with online resources and communities for LGBTQ+ youth.

Mckenna Saady is a staff writer and digital content lead for ParentsTogether. Before working for nonprofits such as the Human Rights Campaign and United Way, Mckenna spent nearly a decade as a child care provider and Pre-K teacher. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now lives in Philadelphia and writes poetry, fiction, and children’s literature in her spare time.