how should i tell my family and friends im gay?
It's great that you wrote to us about this - coming out to your friends and family can be a very overwhelming experience depending on their reactions, and how you think they'll react. What is most important is that you feel comfortable with who you are, and are able to communicate this to the people you love. Telling your friends and family you are gay can be something that makes you feel less alone, more supported, and builds your strength. It can also open the door to meeting new people to date, and building your support group.
I would suggest first really thinking about who you want to tell the most, and who you feel will be the most supportive. It shouldn't matter if it's a family member or a friend, but can be someone you can talk to should anyone you come out to have a not so positive reaction. Having someone to talk to about how your family reacted can be really helpful in processing what the next steps are. It can also seem less scary if you talk to one person at a time - so a trusted friend or family member, who you can then continue to seek support from as you go through talking to other family members and friends.
For some people it's not so difficult - they talk to their parents, siblings, friends, whoever they want to tell, and that's it. It's not made a big deal and life goes on as usual. Although we'd all love to think this is how everyone will act: supportive, loving, and caring, that may not always be their first reaction. In this case it can be really important to think about questions like: will my family be supportive? If they aren't supportive of me being gay, do I think they'll kick me out? If they did kick me out where would I go - and what kind of safety plan can I come up with beforehand (a place to go that night and possibly for a longer period should you need to). Do I need to worry about my parents not supporting me financially? Although these questions can be really difficult to think about, it's important that you do to make sure that you are the most safe you can be, before talking to your family about being gay. Some people chose to come out to their families after they are financially independent and living on their own, should their families have a less than positive reaction to their sexual orientation.
Some people find it helpful to "role play" with a trusted friend - basically you pretend your friend is whoever you are going to talk to, and you tell them what you're going to tell your family. In doing this you can really think about how you want to tell your family you're gay, and what is important for you to say. You may find it helpful to write down what you're going to say, or say it out loud in the mirror to yourself. All these different ways of practicing can really help before talking to your family. Be positive - being gay is a great thing and isn't something you should feel the need to apologize about or approach in a sad tone. Some resources that you may find helpful are: The Human Rights Campaign's: Resource Guide on Coming Out: http://hrc.org/documents/resourceguide_co.pdf and www.amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/comingoutquestions in which the "Coming out to your parents: questions to think about" may be helpful. Giving your parents resources such as PFLAG (parents and friends of lesbians and gays) can also help answer questions they may have and help them find supports.
Lastly, keep in mind that a person's first reaction isn't always their last reaction. Although some people may seem surprised, upset, or sad, instead of happy, supportive and open, give them time and you may be surprised in how quickly they realize you are still you, you are amazing, and your sexuality doesn't define you completely! I hope this has answered your question and am glad that you found us here on AskTrevor. Remember, if you need someone to talk to we are here for you any time day or night at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR, on TrevorChat, and on TrevorSpace. Our online community can be a great support group if you aren't finding that in your area. Don't hesitate to call us if you need extra support. Good luck, you'll be great!
The Trevor Project