Welcome to PFLAG Westminster - Carroll County, Maryland

PFLAG Westminster – Carroll County, Maryland Chapter

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays - Moving Equality Forward
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Coming Out?

“I came out publicly at a PFLAG meeting. At the time, I was having such different and opposing feelings, but PFLAG affirmed that being gay is a gift. I never forgot that.” — Leo R. Romo, PFLAG member, Saginaw, Michigan

For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people the coming out process can be both difficult and liberating. Our members — parents, family members, friends and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community — understand the coming out journey and we offer our support and unconditional love to people at any point in their journey.The holidays can be a stressful time for GLBT people or families with GLBT members, but there are several strategies that you can use to help reduce stress and create a happy holiday this year.

For most people it takes time to know who you are and it’s okay to be confused, or to be uncertain about whether (or how) you should come out. Remember: you are not alone. There are people out there with the same questions and concerns that you have. And there are people who have already found their own answers. PFLAG is here to help you.

Every day in communities large and small across the country, PFLAG is working to help keep families together. PFLAG support group meetings provide a safe space for LGBT and questioning people to share their feelings and experiences, to explore their identity, and to seek the acceptance and unconditional love that our members have to offer. PFLAG has chapters in almost 500 communities including right here in Westminster – Carroll County, Maryland, and most of them have helplines, websites and/or e-mail services you may contact at your convenience.

Check out National PFLAG’s helpful publication, ‘BE YOURSELF’

LINKS to some helpful information about COMING OUT  can be found at the RESOURCES TAB at the top of this website. Scroll down until you come to the heading, ‘Coming Out’.

See also our Events Calendar  or contact us for more information!

Tips for a Coming Out for GLBT People

The holidays can be a stressful time for GLBT people or families with GLBT members, but there are several strategies that you can use to help reduce stress and create a happy holiday this year.

If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender…

  • Don’t assume you know how somebody will react to news of your sexual orientation or gender identity — you may be surprised.
  • Realize that your family’s reaction to you may not be because you are GLBT. The hectic holiday pace may cause family members to act differently than they would under less stressful conditions.
  • Remember that “coming out” is a continuous process. You may have to “come out” many times.
  • Don’t wait for your family’s attitude to change to have a special holiday. Recognize that your parents need time to acknowledge and accept that they have a GLBT child. It took you time to come to terms with who you are; now it is your family’s turn.
  • Let your family’s judgments be theirs to work on, as long as they are kind to you.
  • If you are transgender, be gentle with your family’s pronoun “slips.” Let them know you know how difficult it is.
  • Holidays can be particularly stressful. If it is too difficult to be with your family, create your own holiday gathering with friends and loved ones.

Before the visit…

  • Make a decision about being “out” to each family member before you visit.
  • If you are partnered, discuss in advance how you will talk about your relationship, or show affection with one another, if you plan to make the visit together.
  • If  it’s holiday time when you bring your partner home, don’t wait until late into the holiday evening to raise the issue of sleeping arrangements.
  • Make plans in advance.
  • Have alternate plans if the situation becomes difficult at home.
  • Find out about local GLBT resources.
  • If you do plan to “come out” to your family  have support available, including  PFLAG publications and the number of a local PFLAG chapter.

During the visit…

  • Focus on common interests.
  • Reassure family members that you are still the same person they have always known.
  • If you are partnered, be sensitive to his or her needs as well as your own.
  • Be wary of the possible desire to shock your family.
  • Remember to affirm yourself.
  • Realize that you don’t need your family’s approval.
  • Connect with someone else who is GLBT—by phone or in person—who understands what you are going through and will affirm you along the way.
  • Find tips for a happy holiday for allies and family members now!
  • Some of these tips were adapted from Mariana Caplan’s book When Holidays Are Hell…A Guide to Surviving Family Gatherings. Learn more about her book now..

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