I remember when I first told my mum and dad that I was gay, my dad took it really well and, once she stopped crying, mum took it really well too. I remember my mum’s words: I suppose there were a few signs. You were the only seven-year-old boy I knew who wanted a hair dryer.

Parents can react in different ways. We all hope that they will react well, but we fear that they could react badly. We have all heard experiences of parents not being supportive for one reason or another. These stories can range from believing that it’s just a phase to telling their child they need to leave the family home.

I consider myself lucky -“ I’m glad my parents took it well.

Coming out wasn’t an easy thing for me to do, even though I had been out on the gay scene for a few years and had quite a few friends who were gay.

I needed to spend a lot of time talking to them and getting some support throughout the whole process. Like us, parents sometimes need some support too. They need to have someone to talk to and maybe to share a tear with.

I know it took me many years to come to the realisation that I was gay (although in some ways I’d always known) and I think it’s important to allow parents to have some time too.

For many parents PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) have been the support that they have needed. You may have seen PFLAG marching in the Mardi Gras parade and sitting with us all at Fair Day -“ you certainly can’t miss their rainbow umbrellas.

This committed group of parents and friends are from a wide range of cultural backgrounds; they meet every month to share stories, provide information and support other people who are going through similar experiences. After all, we all need some support at one time or another.

For more information on PFLAG go to www.pflagaustralia.org.au or you can call 9869 1454.

info: If you want any information about groups, services, organisations or community events taking place in western Sydney, you can contact Matt Vaughan at ACON on 9206 2064 or mvaughan@acon.org.au.
Matt Vaughan is the Community Development and Liaison Officer for the ACON Western Sydney Community Development Team.

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