Accepting an LGBTQ2SIA+ Family Member

By | May 9, 2023 | |

As a parent, sibling, cousin or family member, it can be challenging or even shocking to accept a family member coming out as being an LGBTQ2SIA+ member. This includes identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, two-spirit, intersex and asexual.

After a family member has been told their relative identifies as LGBTQ2SIA+, there is always an immediate reaction, whether it is perceived as positive or negative. Sometimes, families are delighted by this news and are excited that their loved ones can genuinely begin life as their most authentic selves. On the contrary, frequently, this information is unexpected, resulting in reactions that may be perceived as rejection. A perfectly understandable response is to wonder about traditional and religious norms you abided by and grew up with (Miller, 2022). Your child or relative not fulfilling these expectations can be surprising and disheartening. However, it will not remain this way – acceptance grows over time (Option B, 2023).

For most people, family is essential to their support system in life. However, when significant changes occur within the family, for example, a relative disclosing their true sexual identity, it can be challenging to process, resulting in both parties experiencing pain and loneliness. As a parent or family member, you genuinely want your relative to be happy, no matter what. Therefore, relatives must show their love and support for the individual, even if they struggle to process and accept this information. We need to accept that it takes courage and authenticity to come out and say who they are, so you must support them during this.

It is suggested that those who belong to the LGBTQ2SIA+ community may experience more significant mental health issues, such as depression and loneliness (Eres et al., 2021). This could be due to additional daily challenges they face, including discrimination and feeling isolated in their journey coming out. As a result, it is essential as a relative to be aware of this and consequently shows that you love them, even if you may not accept their sexual identity yet. In addition, it is suggested that individuals are eight times more likely to engage in suicidal behaviours when family support is absent, so it is vital for them to feel accepted and cared for (Option B, 2023).

What is extraordinary about today’s world is that everyone is empowered to have freedom of speech. However, this may make you feel anxious about saying the wrong thing and offending someone. Itessentialtant to understand that sometimes, in particular, the older generations have not been exposed to or educated about the LGBTQ2SIA+ community and may not intend to offend people; they may not comprehend. Despite this, as a family member, it is your responsibility to educate yourself on LGBTQ2SIA+ to show your support and alliance with your family member coming out. As long as you are a kind and accepting individual, who treats everyone equally, you should not feel anxious about offending anyone.

At Incontact, we provide a non-judgmental space to listen to your honest feelings as a relative of an LGBTQ2SIA+ member during their coming out process. We understand this can be a challenging experience for both parties, and we are here for you during this journey. Please visit our website to book an in-person or online appointment today.


Eres, R., Postolovski, N., Thielking, M., & Lim, M. H. (2021). Loneliness, mental health, and social health indicators in LGBTQIA+ Australians. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 91(3), 358–366.

Miller, C. (2022). How to Support LGBTQ Children.

Option B. (2023). Why Accepting your LGBTQ Child Matters—And How to Start.

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