Your first reaction to learning that your loved one is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning can range anywhere from anger to sadness, fear to hurt, confusion to grief, and anywhere and everything in between. These emotions and the thousands of others that parents, families, and friends experience as they navigate their loved ones coming out process are normal.
We can tell you with absolute certainty that you're not alone. According to statistics, one in every ten people in this country and around the world is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Approximately one in four families has an immediate family member who is LGBT, and most people have at least one LGBT individual in their extended circle of friends and family.
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is here for you. Our members are parents, families and friends of LGBT people and LGBT people themselves. We have been through much of what you are now feeling. We understand.
The first thing you should do for yourself and your loved one is to talk to someone who has been through this process. Whether it is by e-mail, phone or in-person at a PFLAG meeting listening to and talking to those who have experienced the feelings you are encountering can be both cathartic and comforting. PFLAG has more than 500 chapters and representatives across the country ready and willing to work with families and friends both in meeting and in a one on one basis.
The second thing you should do is educate yourself. A great resource is our national PFLAG website.