19 People Recall How Parents Reacted When They Came Out

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Coming out to the parents can be a pretty heavy-duty ordeal, and age doesn’t seem to be much of a buffer.

Even if it goes well, there’s still a ton of weight involved: stress, tension, etc.

And, unfortunately, it doesn’t always go well.

These 19 stories from AskReddit run a pretty full range of the potential reactions from parents. Some are uplifting, some are funny, and some just might make you want cry and or scream.

#1. Sometimes, boring can be good.

It was entirely without incident.

They were okay with it.

That’s the end of the story.

Coming out was the most anti-climactic thing I have ever done.

#2. First Question

My mom looked at in me disbelief for a second…

Then she asked, “Are you a top or a bottom?”

#3. “About these dishes…”

My eldest is gay. It was NOT a surprise when he ‘came out’.

Sorry to stereotype, but when you’re a boy and your favorite Disney character to dress up as is either the Evil Queen from Snow White or Ursula; when you have a serious obsession with Nick Carter as a 10-yo; when you have girl best friends all through elementary and ZERO interest in sports, and you do the George Michael every time someone throws something…

I’ve already kind of made some guesses about where your interests might be, romantically.

He officially came out in his Senior Year of HS. I just said, “No kidding.”

His mom wanted to know if it wasn’t “Just a phase…”

I said, “That’s a long phase: from 4 to 18… Might want to consider it a permanent state.”

I think he was kind of relieved that it wasn’t a surprise, but it was sort of a let-down for him that I was just like, “Yeah; you’re gay. Now, about these dishes…”

#4. “Ewww!”

My mom is homophobic, denied it, and  still does to this day.

If the subject comes up she’ll just say, “EWWW!” and change the subject.

My father ignores it

My step mom was and still is very supportive though.

#5. “I wasn’t born yesterday.”

My dad’s exact words were, “I wasn’t born yesterday.”

Later he said he was disappointed, because he thought that although they were divorced, my mom still should have been able to tell him important stuff like that.

My mom is a narcissist. She was okay with it. At the time she had more gay friends than I did but, she still had to make it all about her.

So to sum up, dad did everything right, mom did most things right but not everything.

The one problem they do seem to have is telling other people I’m gay, which does annoy me, since it’s been almost 10 years since I came out.

#6. “You don’t know where he’s been.”

I came out summer between Junior and Senior year in college to my parents.

I am 6’4, 300 lbs and play sports. I mostly had straight friends,  so my parents were blindsided a bit.

Mom was very bad with it, would cry randomly, and do horrible things. The icing on the cake was while I was taking oral steroids for a bad case of poison ivy, and I grabbed my sister’s water glass to take a sip and my pill before leaving the house for work.

My mom told my sister to throw the glass in the dishwasher and not to drink out of it, because, “You do not know where he’s been.”

This was after AIDs and cross-dressing inquiries- I’d had enough. I flipped out, screaming, and super upset, and my best friends came and pulled me out of the house.

I essentially just did what I wanted and did the whole “don’t ask don’t tell.”

Eventually met a guy and ended up moving to DC for him, and told them I was going for him and a job opportunity.

Once they realized that I was basically writing them off, they came around after a few years.

Fast forward to now, they are way better, and have been supportive in many ways.

The best thing I heard, and it came from my cousins in MN, was we have a lesbian cousin, and she got married and has a kid with her wife.

Her family is religious and disowned her for a bit, didn’t attend the wedding etc.

Apparently, my mom stood up for her and told her brother (father of bride) what was what. It was really humbling and honorable that my mom had grown.

Just wanted to give the bad and then the good with one specific person.

#7. Strawberry Jam

There was yelling,  screaming, and me getting kicked out of the house by my dad.

Then, I moved to Texas. My mom was sad and kept asking when I was coming home. I told her I wasn’t.

We kept in touch, and about two years later, I had been complaining about not being able to find my favorite brand of strawberry jam here.

A week later, I get a package from my dad. I opened it, and it only had a small container of jam. The shipping was more expensive than the jam costs. I cried, because I knew my dad missed me too, even though he wouldn’t say so.

So, I moved back, got an apartment about 35 minutes from their house. Six months later, my dad is in the hospital: he had a heart attack and a staph infection, and he asks me, point blank.

We don’t lie in my family. If they don’t want to know, they don’t ask. So I said, “Yeah, I’m gay.”

I explain it to him, he said he always knew, since I only let women hold me as a kid, and I only colored the princesses in the coloring books, since the boys, “weren’t pretty.”

I let that go.

But, we’re good now. I always liked that they didn’t ask if they weren’t ready to hear the answer. And, don’t underestimate what small gestures can do for redemption.

I told my dad a few months ago, why I moved back, and he cried.

I hadn’t seen him cry since 9/11, so it was kind of a big deal to him too.

#8. “Duh.”

My mom didn’t believe me, thinking I was trolling her to see what they would do if I really was gay.

She continued to not believe me for six months, even after I started dating someone.

My dad said, “Duh.”

#9. “But they love me.”

My mom was on the verge of crying, because she was just so happy that I trusted her enough to tell her.

She kept telling me how much she loves me. And, she’s never treated me different since.

That’s the one thing I hate. People treat me different once I came out as gay. I’m no longer a friend, I’m a gay friend. Stuff like that.

But my mom carried on and didn’t change. Bless her precious heart. I love her too much.

My dad and stepmom reacted a bit weird. We were going through a rough time for other reasons when I decided “Fuck it” and just changed my relationship status on Facebook.

They got mad at me, saying how I don’t trust them and how embarrassing it would be for someone to be like, “Oh, your son is gay!” without them realizing.

They even made this big thing about how they would be braver than I was and would have come out to their parents directly instead of like how did.

And then they completely flipped it when we started discussing the other problems we had.

The exact line was, “You’re gay? So what. Big deal.” So, that was fun.

We ended up patching things up, and we have an amazing relationship. I’m still the gay son to them, but I realize I have it better than a lot of other people.

My dad still makes, “You haven’t tried a girl yet,” comments, and I’m not sure if he’s joking or serious, but they love me, so that’s all I can ask for.

#10. Fortunate Human

I’m 31, and I’ve only been out to my parents for a little over a year.

They were the last to be told, but of course, not the last to know.

They told me they’ve known for quite some time.

They were a little upset that I didn’t tell them for so long, and I felt bad.

But, they are very supportive and love my girlfriend. I’m a very fortunate human.

#11. All it Took

Bisexual here, but 98% of my dates have been to men.

Told my parents when I was 16, and they didn’t believe me.

I went back into the closet until I was 25.

Told them again. This time it took.

They reacted poorly, but at the time, I was 100% independent, and there was nothing they could do about it. They did, however, ban my (then) boyfriend from ever stepping foot on their property.

Fast forward a couple of years… my brother hears what’s happening and tells my parents, “Either you accept _______ or I’m cutting you out of my life.”

Complete 180.

They start inviting my fiancé to family functions and treating him like a human being and all it took was a threat of a complete family breakdown.

#12. Safety First

My parents were coming into town to help me move into my new place. I had been dating my boyfriend for about 7 months at the time, and I wanted my parents to meet him.

A week before they came down, I called my mom after work and told them how excited I was for them to meet J, my boyfriend.

She wasn’t disappointed or upset, this news just came out of nowhere, so she just sounded surprised. We talked about him, how we met, how long I known I was gay, etc.

My mom told my father a few days later, (she insisted she tell him), and he sent me a text along the lines of, “I heard the news, I’m shocked, but I still love you.”

When they came down and met J, everything went fine.

We’re still dating, and I’ve brought J to my hometown to introduce him to the rest of the family (grandparents, aunts, cousins, etc). It went smoothly, and they welcomed J.

I’m really fortunate that my coming out wasn’t met with hate or abandonment. Not everyone in the LGBT community can say the same.

To anyone reading this who is closeted and is concerned about coming out due to their safety – I’d say wait it out. Your safety and life are infinitely more important than coming out.

#13. “Good…”

Me: “Mom… I’m gay.”

Mom: “Good. You’re far too horny, and I’m far too young to be a grandmother.”

#14. Missing Years

I drove home for the weekend, told them I needed to talk, and told them.

They took it… okay.

I was worried, because my mom had a history of making homophobic comments. My dad only said, “Be safe.”

What was good? They didn’t freak out, or cry, or get angry. They trusted that I knew myself well enough to know that I was gay.

What was bad? They said, “Don’t tell your grandmother,” so for years I had to pretend my bf (now husband) was just a good friend who kept coming home for holidays and whom my nieces and nephew called Uncle.

When I got married, my family traveled for the ceremony, except for her (she was pretty frail) – so they told her what was going on, but she had already figured it out and was amazing about it.

I sort of wish I could have all those years back to be open and honest with her.

#15. “That never really goes away.”

I was in 8th grade and just wrote them a letter explaining I was bi.

A few months later, I was texting another gay guy at school. They found out, and I got grounded for the summer.

I actually got grounded every summer, since I was stupid enough to keep texting guys.

I really wish they would’ve just let me be me. The only people who had a problem with it were them.

Before I officially came out to everyone, my parents told me, “You really think your friends’ parents would let you hang around their kids if they knew you were a homosexual?”

It has now made me super nervous around parents and teachers, because I feel like they secretly hate me.

But, I also got cancer when I was in the last few weeks of junior year. So, I don’t know if they still hold those beliefs.

I live in the south, and I’m too sick to get a job and move out. I’m not sure if I should bring it up or not.

They told me they’re always there for me, but after they also tell you that, “YOU’RE not disgusting. Homosexuality is disgusting!” that never really goes away.

#16. “Less than ideal…”

I came out to my parents when I was 19.

I was living on my own and had started seeing a guy and thought I would tell them I had someone important in my life.

My mother said she didn’t want to meet him, didn’t want me to talk about him in front of her, or even mention his name in her presence.

My father told me he would pray that I would be miserable.

I guess you could say, it was less than ideal.

#17. “Don’t Tell”

I didn’t decide to come out; my mom just confronted me about it. I was 14 at the time.

A day or two later, she told me how she thought about killing my brother, (who is mentally challenged), and then killing herself.

She also told me never to tell my dad, or he would abandon the family.

So yeah, my mom basically told me I was responsible for keeping the family together, and that I would be responsible for killing her.

Obviously, my mom didn’t handle it well at all.

My dad confronted me a year later, because he found some love letters I had exchanged with a boy. He told me in no uncertain terms that he wanted me to tell him it was just a one-time thing. So I did. What could I do? I was 15 years old!

Ironically enough, he also told me, “Don’t ever tell your mother, or she’ll leave us.”

I’m now 43, and I talk with my parents, but I don’t particularly like them, and I don’t share anything with them.

And, I actively hate my mom. I can’t forgive her for being so unaccepting at a time when I needed her the most.

#18. Harsh…

They said, “I don’t care or want to know about which hole you like to stick your dick in. Go find a job and stop trying to talk to your parents about who you want to have sex with!”

#19. “Random Children”

I told my parents that I was gay at 2:00am, after we all got home from a family friend’s Christmas party.

My dad was a little tipsy, and they had just changed into their pajamas to go to bed.

I knocked on their door and came in to tell them, and my mom just looked at me bewildered and said, “We have such random children.”

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