Discovering that a family member or friend is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered (GLBT) or questioning their sexuality can invoke many emotions. Your reaction may include a range of emotions such as shock, confusion, sadness, relief, embarrassment or disbelief. Whatever you are feeling, please remember that it is perfectly normal and you are not alone.
Your reaction to the news that a relation or friend is GLBT will probably depend on a number of things, such as how you personally view sexual orientation, your religious beliefs, cultural expectations and your own personal relationship with your relation or friend.
The term 'coming out' is used to describe the process a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered person goes through in acknowledging and accepting their own identity and telling other people about their sexual orientation. This can be a frightening time for the GLBT person and they will, generally, choose someone they feel close to and trust as the first person they tell.
To help you support your relation or friend during this time and to deal with your own reactions to the news, it will be useful to find out more about sexual orientation and the GLBT community. There are a number of support services set up by family members and friends of GLBT people who will understand how you are feeling and advise you appropriately. Details are given below.
If you need to talk to someone, please use our need to talk pages. Trained Befrienders are there to listen to your problems, whatever they are, in a caring and non-judgemental way. You can speak to them anonymously and in complete confidence.
The following links are selected resources on the internet that provide information for family members and friends of GLBT people. If you need help or support, please click on the link marked 'I need help'.