My younger brother came out to me a few months ago as gay. I wasn’t surprised at all, I pretty much knew for a while now and was just waiting for him to be ready to tell me. The thing is, my parents still don’t know and he’s really scared to come out to them. I think he wants to, but isn’t sure if it will go well. To be honest, I’m not really sure how they’ll take it. I’m 18 and he’s 16. I don’t think they would ever kick him out or anything, but he’s just really scared of disappointing them I think… I really want to be able to help but I don’t know how. What do you think I should I do?
-Big Sis, Doylestown, PA
Dear Big Sis,
Thank you for writing, asking for help is always a brave step! I can see why you’re concerned, but let me start by saying that your brother is very fortunate to have a supportive and caring sister like you. Coming out is a challenging and daunting experience for everyone, and he took a big and courageous step by opening up to you. Having you as an ally probably has made a world of a difference to him. Sometimes, people feel a lot of pressure to come out, and it may help to let your brother know that he can take his time and wait until he is feels ready to tell them. I’m glad you don’t feel that your parents would react very harshly, but it’s understandable for your brother to be scared of potential reactions.
Is your brother involved in any local support groups or have any connections yet with others in the LGBTQ community? There is no such thing as having too much support. It may help for him (or both of you together) to talk to other people who have gone through, or are currently going through this process.
Even though you may feel helpless and wish there was more you could do, never underestimate how much your ongoing support and love will help your brother. Choosing when to come out can be a very hard decision to make, so just keep letting him know that you will continue to be there supporting him and that you believe in his strength to know when he is ready. A great resource for your brother and for you as a sister and ally is www.trevorspace.org. It’s a social networking site for LGBTQ youth and allies. And we’ll be here too if you have any more questions or need help finding resources for you or your brother.