I Respond to a Question from Youth Workers about Coming Out (Video)

In this video I respond to a video series called Youth Questions, where youth can write in and ask questions to a youth pastor about anything. This question is, “How do I come out to my parents?”

Especially for those LGBT people who read this blog, what advice would you give? I’ll be sure to pass it along…

Much love.


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  • nelson

    I liked the ideas about support and realistic expectations when talking with parents about being gay.

    I am confused why you can confidently say that being gay does not interfere with knowing the love of the Lord. Specifically for a youth who knows that homosexuality is a sin, should that youth expect to have a dynamic experience of God’s love when they know they are not following His protective laws for living an abundant life?

    Thanks for considering the question.


  • nelson

    PS: I forgot to ask you to give me the basis of your answer to my question. Please include that. So what I mean, is according to what source of truth do you base your answer.



    • Thanks for asking Nelson. I’m not trying to cop-out here, but if you read my book, Love is an Orientation, that will give you the most full framework of where I’m coming from. Much love.

  • I like the idea of having someone being there with you when you have the talk. Here are some of my thoughts on coming out to your parents:

    1. Ideally, you will come out to your parents when you are not dependent on them. I have friends who’ve been kicked out and cut off from their parents after they came out. Sometimes it was a short period while they initially reacted. Some parents still never communicate with their gay kids again. It helps if you have your own place and your own income and finances if this happens to you.

    2. I don’t care if they are your parents. Don’t let them say nasty things to you after you come out to them. (This relates to Andrew’s observation that you can never take back your negative reaction.) If they become verbally abusive towards you, leave and finish the conversation after they’ve finished with their rant and calmed down. If they need to vent and say nasty things, let them do it when you’re not there.

    3. Don’t horribalize your situation. If you’re crying when you come out to them, you might clarify that you’re frightened of their rejection, not about being gay. Otherwise, don’t let them convince you that being gay is terrible. Don’t let them try to convince you about lies about what gay men and women are like based off their fears and misinformation. You are the gay person. You are the one who actually has the experience and perspective of being a gay person. You have the ability to adhere to or reject any gay stereotype that’s out there. You are you and you are special and unique. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

    • Kevin Harris

      Thanks for passing along your thoughts Jon. It saddens me that good advice may actually entail kids hiding an important part of their journey from their parents until they are financially stable themselves if they do not think they’re parents can handle it because of their religious beliefs or attitudes towards LGBT individuals, but it’s a good reminder given the disproportianate number of homeless LGBT youth.

    • Jon… Powerful stuff. Thank you, thank you for always being willing to share such deep insight with us! Without a doubt I will add this to my responses (and give you the credit, of course!) when people ask me such a question! Love you brother.

  • A few scattered thoughts:

    One of my eFriends has some (perhaps controversial advice) is

    “1. Stay In The Closet.

    If you think for one second that your family is going to flip their shit, if you think for one second that your life is about to be made a living hell, then don’t tell anyone. This isn’t about pride. This is about survival. You know who you are and you have nothing to prove. You are not under any obligation to disclose who you are. No, you are not lying or being deceitful. It’s not lying if people only force you to see their truths.You do what you have to do to stay alive. Bide your time until you can be out and open and free to be you.”

    I agree to that. Sometimes you just gotta get by. That’s OK too. There are resources and people to talk to and on and on. And if you decide to not tell your parents or your siblings or your friends or your teacher or whoever because you won’t be able to handle it, kudus for good self-care!

    Re: the suggestion to bring a pastor.

    If the youth pastor is not an affirming person, bringing them along could be tragic. There are churches and pastors who recommend reparative therapy and if the parent is going to be unsupportive (or is uncertain how to respond), the youth pastor may very well recommend reparative therapy which has been shown by all medical and professional associations to be not only unhelpful but actively harmful.


    The assertion that no one wishes their child to be gay is false and relies on a worldview which prefers heterosexuality over homosexuality (which certainly exists but is not one we want to be promoting). I know parents who wish(ed) for their children that they would grow up to be happy, healthy, and comfortable loving whoever it is they love. I hope if you are a parent one day that you won’t have a preference for your child’s sexual orientation.

    After I came out to my parents, my dad told me he wasn’t surprised.


    Spot on in your observation about how kids will remember this moment forever.


    • Wow! Thank you so much for this Brian! Your words are so important and I take them very seriously. I’ll be sure to incorporate them (and of course give you credit) when I get asked such a question. Much love!