Parents explaining homosexuality to their daughter.

Explaining Homosexuality to Your Child the Right Way

There’s no denying the fact that homosexuality is becoming an important issue in mainstream society. From same-sex marriage across the United States to anti-gay bullying in schools, this is one subject that is playing a big role in the day-to-day lives of Americans everywhere. However, some parents still find it difficult to discuss LGBTQ issues with their children.

This difficulty is understandable—it’s a sensitive issue that you want to treat with respect and dignity, and the best way to go about that is not always clear. Despite this, homosexuality is still an issue that every parent needs to bring up with their kids at one point or another.

If you’re worried about how you should approach this subject with your own child, use these tips for explaining homosexuality the right way.

Don’t try to avoid the issue.

There are parents who feel reluctant to discuss homosexuality with their children. While some of this reluctance may stem from homophobia, there are also perfectly accepting people who are worried that the issue will raise any number of awkward or embarrassing questions.

However, this can be harmful in the long run. Even if you don’t discuss gay people with your children, they’re still likely to realize they exist, and in some ways, your silence implies that there’s something wrong with homosexuality.

Good parenting is not always easy or comfortable, but if you really support gay individuals and want your child to share this value, it’s important to discuss it openly and honestly.

Avoid burdening them with too much at once.

Just because homosexuality is a hot-button issue in society doesn’t mean that discussing it with your child needs to be a heavy or intense affair. Keep it light at first—with lots of emphasis on love and acceptance. As they begin to mature, it may be beneficial to start talking about some of the struggles that gay people have faced in the past and do face today, but these issues don’t necessarily have to be brought up on day one.

Point out examples of positive gay role models.

There’s never been a time when gay people have been more visible in the media than now, and this can provide a good teaching lesson about the contributions that the gay community has made to society. From actors and comedians to athletes and politicians, there’s a wide variety of positive gay role models for your child to admire.

Unfortunately, there are still some opponents of homosexuality who are very vocal in their claims about the detrimental effects that gay people have on society, but by pointing out examples of gay people making a difference you can help your child avoid this kind of mindset. 

Don’t explain gay people like they’re an exotic species.

Yes, there are some key differences between homosexuality and heterosexuality, but that doesn’t mean that gay people are really that different from anyone else. Because of this, be careful not to over-emphasize what sets them apart—instead, spend a lot of time reaffirming their shared humanity. This will help convey to your child that gay people deserve to be treated fairly like everyone else. However, it can also help illustrate the more general idea that even though people may have differences, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that bring us all together as well.

Discuss the topic as if your own child is gay.

Even if they’re still too young to be worried about things like sexuality, one day your child will reach an age when that topic will become important. It’s vital to realize that how you talk about homosexuality today can make a positive or negative impact on your child’s own coming out process in the future, if that occurs.

If you avoid the issue or portray homosexuality in a negative light, he or she may internalize that and think that they’re somehow defective or wrong. On the other hand, being open, honest, and supportive of gay people may give them the confidence to be proud of who they are. 

Last Updated: August 31, 2015