Supporting a Youth Who Comes Out to You

This resource provides an outline of ways to support a young person who has recently come out.

The following post is also available as a pdf download.

Say Thank You!
Being trusted with this personal information is an honor.

Listen.
Listening shows you care. Pay attention to how she identifies herself. If she says, “I’m queer.” Don’t refer to her as gay.

Ask how you can help.
Some people may just want someone to talk to while others may have more complex needs. Simply ask, “How can I help?”

Take warnings seriously.
If you suspect he may hurt himself, someone else or is in danger, do not leave him alone. Call 911 immediately. Avoid disclosing irrelevant, private information.

Protect privacy.
Allow him to come out in his own time and way.

Be honest.
“I’m honestly not sure what to say or do, but I am here for you.” Be honest by apologizing if you feel badly about something you said or did.

Create a network of support.
Brainstorm friendly adults, peers and resources. Add yourself to the list!

Address incidents of bullying.
Take cautionary steps to ensure safety such as: finding a friend to walk home with or increasing adult supervision in key areas. Whenever possible, follow the school’s bullying reporting procedure.

Read.
Knowledge will greatly increase your confidence in your ability to help.

Connect with the Gay-Straight Alliance.
Even without participating, knowing the group exists may be reassuring.

Follow Up.
Show on-going support by checking in. Depending on the situation, check-may be spontaneous and casual or more formal and scheduled.

Take care of yourself.
If you feel overwhelmed, or need guidance, reach out to a friend or colleague. Be discrete with identifying information to maintain privacy.

Ths post is also available as a pdf download.

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