Should I Tell My Family I’m Gay?
Should I Tell My Family I'm Gay?
5 Tips for Coming Out In Comfort
Posted on February 19th 2020 by Laura Armstrong
The British press exploded this month with the news that one of the UK’s favorite television presenters, Phillip Schofield had come out as gay.
The response from the public was a mix of shock and apathy (some said they had always suspected it). Others, including Joan Collins, questioned why he even needed to “come out” in the first place.
Joan raises a good point. We have come a long way in our attitudes to sexuality over the last decade, but there is still a way to go before any orientation other than heterosexual is considered “the norm”.
Phillip Schofield’s Revelation
Long-standing presenter of ITV’s This Morning, Phillip Schofield, announced that he was gay in a statement on his Instagram story early on the morning of Friday, February 7 2020.
On Fridays, Phillip does not usually appear on the show but he and co-host Holly Willoughby made a special guest appearance to discuss Phillip’s news.
Though Phillip is still the same person he always has been, many have been completely floored by the revelation.
Why is it headline news?
At 57-years-old Phillip has been a familiar face on British TV screens since the 1980s. Starting his career as a children’s television presenter, many Brits have grown up with him. His presence in our living rooms has been a comforting, stable presence over the past near-forty years.
Philip spends his days interviewing others about their extraordinary stories, but we may have never expected him to have one of his own.
Married to his wife Steph for 27 years, and with two beautiful grown-up daughters, his life seemed the epitome of domestic bliss. With his recent revelation, this image has been challenged. It has shaken things up and we may even start to wonder if the same could happen to us.
Phillip’s path to coming out has been tricky to navigate. He has a wife, two daughters and his public image to consider. It was tough, but he did it. He has received an outpouring of support from the public and fellow celebrities.
Following Phillip’s This Morning interview, Eamonn Holmes, who was co-presenting the show, said: “Nobody should be embarrassed about their sexuality and it’s fantastic that you have spoken out. There will be so many people who will be strengthened by what you have said. You know we, as Holly said, we are all here by your side.”
There will be others in a similar situation who will be inspired by Philip’s story. He acts as a role model and gives people the confidence to let go of the burden of conforming to what is expected of them.
If you are wondering how you can tell your family you are gay, bi, trans, pans or anywhere else on the sexuality spectrum, here are our five tips to help you come out with comfort.
1. Know that it is OK to be gay
There is nothing “wrong” with you or have anything that needs to be “fixed”. Know that you are enough, just as you are.
2. Who should I come out to first?
Telling your parents, spouse, children or those closest to you might feel too daunting to do first. You can take it slowly and build up.
Some people are more open than others, some handle big news better and some just always seem to know what to say. Identify who these people are in your life.
Maybe it is a close friend, sibling or even a counselor. Focus on having a conversation with just that one person you trust and feel comfortable sharing with.
3. How quickly should I tell everyone else I’m gay?
Once you have told one person, it does not mean you have to start telling everyone. Do not pressure yourself or put a timeframe on it. Tell people only as and when you feel ready and comfortable.
It is important that you feel in control of the process.
When you feel ready, write a script of what you would like to say. You do not have to recite it word-perfect, but it will help you stay clear in your mind when having the conversations you are nervous about.
Strong Family Alliance has good advice on how to structure your script and responses you can use to different reactions.
4. Are initial reactions to my sexuality permanent?
The short answer is no.
Just as with Phillip Schofield, some people were shocked.
When we are shocked by something, we often have a knee-jerk reaction that will not stick once we have calmed down and processed the information.
If anyone reacts badly to your news, of course, it will hurt, but remember that it is their problem. Most people will come around to acceptance and encouragement once they have had time to digest and reflect.
5. How can I protect myself from negative reactions?
If you are worried about the impact of negative reactions - short or long-term - on your self-esteem, that is completely understandable. This can be a vulnerable time for you.
Repeating positive affirmations to yourself daily can help hugely. Try repeating leading therapist Marisa Peer’s ‘I Am Enough’ affirmation each day. Do this for at least 21 days to reprogram your mind to believe this so completely, you will fully accept and love yourself exactly as you are.
Maximize every opportunity to say or read that simple but effective message. Write it on your mirror, your fridge or save the words on your phone screensaver - anywhere you look regularly.
When you accept yourself as truly lovable and worthy, the opinions of others will not matter. Listen to Marisa Peer’s Lovability audio download and you will feel you are lovable to such an extreme that other people will sense it too.
“I recommend this product to anyone struggling with lovability issues. Since doing more than 30 days, I haven't felt so negative or vulnerable in close relationships anymore. I started believing that people can love me and even if they don't, it's not because there is something wrong with me.” - Anna