So, you're probably looking at this article because someone you care about has just come out to you. Or maybe you suspect they will do so soon.
First, welcome to Everybodysgood.com and congratulations on taking a proactive approach to learning this information. In this article you will find information on how to support someone as they come out to you, adapted from a GLISEN resource, as well as resources to help you find support.
How to React When Someone Come's Out to You:
1. Say thank you - Coming out to you took a lot of courage and trust in you
2. Listen to all they have to say without interrupting, judging, tuning out or buying into stereotypes about LGBT people. Save your questions for another conversation.
3. Ask questions and show that you are interested in learning about their feelings and experiences. Be respectful and stay away from personal issues (sex, HIV, etc.) unless they let you know it’s okay.
4. If you are feeling uncomfortable or upset, be honest. Let them know you may need some time to process everything, but acknowledge that it is your problem to work out and not their responsibility. Remember that you cannot and should not try to change them--you have an opportunity here to support, not to reform them.
5. Ask what you can do to support them or what they need from you right now.
6. Follow up. The coming out conversation should be the first of many. Continue to check in and ask questions over time.
7. Be open to socializing with their new friends and in a variety of settings, both LGBT and straight. Let them know that they don’t have to compartmentalize their lives.
8. Be an advocate. Read up on LGBT issues, wear an LGBT-friendly button or sticker, join a GSA or other LGBT group, and confront homophobia in whatever ways you can.
How to Support LGBT Youth - This post provides resources on supporting LGBT youth from a variety of perspectives
Find Support at PFLAG -Parents, Family & Friends of Lesbians and Gays which is a support group for friends and family of LGBT individuals
A La Familia: A document available in English and Spanish that provides support and information for latino individuals, especially ones in communities of faith, on how to support other latinos who have come out to them. Although this is geared towards lations, it is a great resource for anyone with a Protestant or Catholic background who is grappling with issues of faith around having an LGBT family member or friend.
If you have any additional resources you would like to share, please feel free to add them in the comments below.