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What should I do if someone doesn't accept me for being LGBTI+?

Everyone deserves to be accepted regardless of sexual identity or gender

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in lgbti

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When you come out as LGBT at first, it’s possible that a parent, family member or friend, won’t accept your sexual orientation or gender identity. They may be angry or confused, and behave in a way that’s really hurtful to you. This can be a really difficult experience, and it’s not easy to cope with. Here’s some advice as to how you might react in these situations.

Give them time

Remember that you’ve probably had a lot of time to come to terms with the fact that you’re LGBTI+. However, this might be the first this person has ever heard about it. It may even be the first time they’ve met an LGBTI+ person at all. Be patient, and hopefully they will come around to it.

Point them towards some online resources

The internet is full of great resources and advice to parents and friends of LGBTI+ people. The reason that your parent or mate is struggling to accept you as LGBTI+ may be that they simply don’t know enough about LGBTI+ people. Encourage them to do some research.

Don’t accept nasty behaviour or speech

Although it may take some time for certain people to get used to you being LGBTI+, that doesn’t mean they have any right to hurt you. If the person seems to be incapable of having a conversation without making hurtful remarks about your sexual orientation or gender identity, respectfully tell them you find their behaviour hurtful, and ask them to stop. If they won’t stop, tell them you won’t be able to talk to them until their behaviour improves.

Try not to lose your cool 

It can be hugely upsetting to have someone reject you because of your sexual orientation or gender identity. You might feel furious and want to shout at this person. This will only make matters worse though. If you want to hang onto the relationship, try to calmly explain that no matter what they say, they cannot change the fact that you’re LGBTI+, and that they will need to learn to accept and embrace you.

It’s not your fault

No matter how angry this person gets at you, remember it’s not your fault, and you’ve done nothing wrong for being LGBTI+. Don’t feel you need to change to satisfy this person - the only thing that needs to change is this person’s unaccepting attitude or behaviour.

Look after your mental health

Coming out in an unaccepting environment is pretty stressful. Try not to let it all get too much for you and don’t be ashamed to seek help

Don’t be afraid to distance yourself from this person

Ultimately, you need to decide how valuable this relationship is to you. If this person is constantly refusing to make efforts to accept your sexual orientation or gender identity, then it may be time to stop seeing this person for a while. Let them know that their refusal to accept you is damaging your relationship, and if this continues, you may have to stop seeing them. At the end of the day, this is a decision that only you can make yourself.

Feeling overwhelmed or want to talk to someone right now?

If you are a customer of the 48 or An Post network or cannot get through using the ‘50808’ short code please text HELLO to 086 1800 280 (standard message rates may apply). Some smaller networks do not support short codes like ‘50808’.

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Published Novem­ber 6th2014
Tags lgbt relationships sexuality
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