Coming out to your parents is a big decision, and coming out to Irish parents has its own difficulties, so we’ve put together some of the things you should consider before doing so to help you gauge your parents’ reactions
Coming out to your parents can be a daunting experience for LGBT young adults, with various factors influencing your decision to do so while you live under your parents youth. Hell, coming out to your parents can be difficult at any age.
If that wasn’t enough, coming out to your Irish parents can present it’s own unique difficulties thanks to the specific background that Ireland has had with religious influences and homophobia.
Whenever you do choose to come out to your parents you should take as many precautions as possible to try and ensure that you are safe to do so. Here are some of the things you should take into consideration before coming out to your Irish parents.
One of the things that you should take into account when planning to come out is if your parents are very religious. If your parents are the sort to casually shirk the teachings of organised religion because of their own thoroughly considered humanistic ideologies, then you’re more than likely safe to come out.
If, however, Mammy and Daddy would be the first in to Sunday mass, sitting up the front of the church and hanging on the priest’s every word, then this may be cause for caution.
While some religious people might take a liberal approach to their church’s teachings, other devout practitioners may be by-the-book when it comes to issues like sexuality.
2. LGBT Friends & Family
Do you have any family members or family friends who are out? How do your parents interact with them when they are both within earshot and without?
If your parents are friends with LGBT people, or have a close relative who they get along with who happens to be LGBT, then this would indicate that they are likely going to be more accepting of you when you choose to come out.
If your parents distance themselves from LGBT people in public, or comment on LGBT in a negative way in private, this could be a warning signal for you when you are considering coming out to them.
Maybe your parents switch the channel or let out an exasperated sigh when they see LGBT people showing one another affection in public. Keep your eyes peeled for clues like this which would indicate a situation where coming out may not be advisable.
Click below to keep reading to see what else you should consider when coming out to your Irish parents.
3. Did They Vote?
Did your parents vote in the same-sex marriage referendum last year? If they did, do you know how they voted? The public debate on same-sex marriage allowed families across the nation to express how they felt about same-sex marriage and LGBT equality in general.
If your parents were staunch LGBT allies and clear supporters of LGBT rights then this could indicate that coming out to them would be something that aligns with their own beliefs.
If you are unsure how your parents voted or if you know they voted no in last year’s referendum then there may be an element of homophobia present in their mindset and again, caution should be taken when choosing to come out to them.
If you are under eighteen and living at home with your parents or still in school, then coming out to your parents might feel daunting. What happens if they don’t take it well? What if they kick you out of home? These are legitimate questions that any young LGBT person coming out might be wondering.
If you’re still in school or reliant on your parents to support you and the other areas to be considered are making you nervous about coming out, then perhaps waiting until you’re more independent from your parents would help in relieving your anxieties.
If you don’t feel like you would be safe in your family home after coming out, you must consider your other options. For instance, asking a friend if you can stay at their house can provide you with a safety net if things should not go according to plan.
If after considering these things you feel like it might be better for your wellbeing to wait to come out to your parents, then do not feel pressured into coming out simply because a friend did or because it is national coming out day. Each person’s situation is unique, and must be considered on a case by case basis.
There are supports available in BeLonG To Youth Services and the Gay Switchboard which can assist you in assessing whether coming out to your parents now is a good idea or if you’d be better off waiting until your situation has changed.
If you’re not yet out and feeling like things are pretty rough at the moment, remember that things do get better for young LGBT people.
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