How we can be supportive when someone comes out to us (tips for families, friends and allies)

Many of us might have loved ones who we’d like to come out to, who might be unsure as to how to respond to us. At The Restory Project, we’ve compiled some tips that might be helpful for these people, and that can be shared with them, which can be found in this article.

Let them know you’re glad to have their trust.

You can say, “Thank you for telling me. It means a lot that you felt comfortable enough to. I love and support you.”

Maintain confidentiality.

If they are still closeted to other people, maintain confidentiality, and do not disclose their orientation/identity to anyone else. Avoid making references to their orientation/identity in a group setting. Reassure them if necessary, for example, by saying, “This information is safe with me.”

Continue to do the activities you enjoy doing together.

Let them know that nothing about your relationship has to change unless they want it to.

Be open to learning about the experiences of the queer community and read up on your own.

You could also ask, “Are there any resources you’d like to share with me that would help understand your experience better?”

Ask them any questions you might have politely.

Do keep in mind that they’re not obligated to answer them. You can say, “If/when you’re ready, let’s talk more.”

Ask for and use their preferred pronouns.

You can also ask, “Is there anything else I can do to make you feel more comfortable?”

If you need time to process the information, that’s okay.

However, be sure not to place the responsibility of making you comfortable on them.

Engage in personal activism wherever possible.

Take a strong stance on not tolerating homophobia. This helps in creating a safer environment for all queer people.

Contributed by: The Restory Project, an initiative started by young Indian, queer-affirmative, trauma-informed feminist therapists who offer their services online. They can be contacted on Instagram at @the_restory_project or on their website.