How To Support a Gay Friend Coming Out

As acceptance of gay people slowly increases, more and more people are coming out to their friends and family. There's almost no one who doesn't know and love someone is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, and many people will eventually have the experience of someone they love coming out. While this news can be shocking, if you want to maintain your friendship, it's important that you are able to overcome your initial judgments and continue to think of your friend as the same person - someone you love and care about and want to support.

Listen Carefully To What Your Friend Has To Say

This should be true of all your friends, all the time, but it can be exceptionally difficult to hear surprising news from your friend (for instance, that she is gay, bisexual, or transgendered) without rushing to judgment, either positive or negative. Let your friend express themselves, and then share any thoughtful, caring words you have when they are done

Believe Your Friend

One of the most common reactions to coming out is disbelief. This is unfortunate because someone has spent a lot of time thinking about their sexual or gender identity before sharing their conclusions with anyone else.

Expect Changes

If your friend confides that they are transgendered they may ask you to start using a new name and new pronouns with him/her. Don't purposefully use your friend's old name, but know that it is okay if you occasionally slip up, everyone makes mistakes.

Don't give up a friendship because you're shocked by the news. If you're really friends with this other person, you should be friends with all of them, not just the part of them you can easily understand. Friends are more than a list of things we like in other people, they're people we care about no matter what.

Keep The Secret

If your friend has asked you not to share their sexual orientation or gender identity with others, you should respect that trust. If you're friend can trust you, they will continue to confide in you in the future, but may feel betrayed if you can't keep the news to yourself.

Be There For Your Friend

The world is often not kind to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, especially young ones. If your friend needs someone to talk to about a rough day or a bad situation, listen attentively and then offer your support.

Adapted from

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