A previous article examined how the coming out process is sometimes a continuous process for gay and lesbian couples. This often entails repeating things to family members and loved ones. Something else to consider is a common mistake – assuming that because someone is a family member they will automatically accept you no matter what.
Some family members might be easier than others. You may find some family members react with acceptance, warmth and a positive attitude. Others might react negatively, immediately casting judgments on the both of you. While these situations will be trying, try to keep a positive attitude about the circumstances. If this is a family member with whom you have a strong relationship, chances are they are probably resisting changing that relationship. Many times, fear can fuel unexpected reactions from the persons you are closest to. If you are patient, and willing to deal with the difficulty along the way, the relationship might actually be stronger as a result.
This is not to say that you need to sit back and let everyone walk all over you just because you would like them to accept you as you are -quite the contrary. As mentioned earlier, it is vital to expect and to give respect at all times. Model positive behaviors and present your thoughts in an assertive manner. This will increase the likelihood that you will be happier with your family interactions.
As mentioned in the earlier article, resources in the community may be able to offer you some insight into the coming out process and how family members can be educated. One organization that offers valuable information is Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays or PFLAG.
Here is the contact information for a few PFLAG Chapters in the Miami area:
PFLAG Hialeah (Representative)
Miami, FL 33015
Miami, FL 33156
Phone: (305) 666-1778
PFLAG North Miami (Representative)
2159 Sans Souci Blvd #1401
North Miami, FL 33181
Phone: (954) 703-2960
PFLAG Homestead (Representative)
1845 SE 6 Court
Homestead, FL 33033
Phone: (305) 989-1623
How will you handle interactions with family members that are unwilling to accept that you are gay? How have you supported a gay or lesbian family member during their coming out process?
Belky is a Licensed Psychotherapist specializing inrelationship issues and practicing in Coral Gables, Florida – find more resources in her virtual office, receive free tips and mental health information through her e-newsletter, or connect with her on Twitter & Facebook.