Today is October 11, 2013, the 25th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, the day that LGBT advocates marched for LGBT rights. In 1988, gay singles, parents, and couples participated in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, proud of who they were.
Are you a gay parent who wants to come out to your kids? Perhaps, you are not comfortable with the lets sit down and have a serious discussion type. Coming out does not have to be doom-and-gloom. If you treat it as something happy and positive, your children may do the same.
Here are some creative ways that you can come to your children with the help of celebrities who have taken the “Coming Out” plunge this past year.
Jodie Foster. Some people were surprised, most people were not, when Jodie Foster came out at the Golden Globes ceremony. Foster, a lesbian parent, has raised two children with her ex-partner Cydney Bernard. In her acceptance speech, Foster mentioned Bernard and their two sons. Foster had some fun with it, telling the public how she came out a thousand years ago in the "stone age." Are you a parent who wants to incorporate humor into coming out?
An idea: Watch Foster's Golden Globe speech with your children. Ask your kids how they feel about Foster and Bernard raising their sons, being sensitive to their responses. If appropriate, gently tell your children that you are part of that “Stone Age,” assuring your kids that you are still the same person.
Jason Collins. This past April, Jason Collins became the first active professional athlete to come out. The NBA center took a risk by doing a Sports Illustrated interview in May, his magazine quote, “I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay,” inspiring millions of LGBT individuals across the nation.
Is your kid interested in sports? Does your child look up to athletes? Use as an ice-breaker for your coming out speech.
A suggestion: Shoot some hoops with your child. Bring up Jason Collins, his accomplishments as an athlete, and how he came out as gay. When you feel comfortable, tell your child that you and Collins “are on the same team.” Do you have a copy of Collins’ Sports Illustrated article? Your kid may benefit from reading his story.
Raven Symone. Actress Raven Symone, the little Olivia we watched grow up on “The Cosby Show,” used the fall of DOMA as her impetus for coming out. In August 2013, Symone tweeted how the end of DOMA means she can get married someday. Do your children like comedy and family shows?
A discussion starter: Watch an old “Cosby Show” episode with your children. Use social media to your advantage. Pull up Symone’s Tweet and discuss how she came out. You can use this as a segueway to your coming out talk.
Zach Wahls. Zach Wahls, the son of two lesbian parents is part of the “Outspoken Generation,” a group of kids raised by LGBT parents. Started by The Family Equality Council, the organization has given children of gay parents a place to vent. Wahls is a positive example of a man who feels he has turned out fine, his lesbian parents having done a great job raising him.
Some advice: Is your child a teenager who likes to read? Give them a copy of Wahl’s book “My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family.” Wahls describes his life growing up with his parents, a positive depiction of LGBT parenting. Whether you come out to your children first or just hand them the book, it can serve as a way to foster a healthy discussion.
While it may take some time for your children to adjust, gay parents you are not alone. According to the 2010 Census data, about 25 percent of all same-sex households are raising children. Organizations such as the Family Equality Council and P-FLAG can provide you and your children with additional support and resources.
Are you a LGBT parent who came out to your children in a unique way? Share it here by posting a comment.