It may be quick and easy for some, or longer and more difficult for others. Feelings of being "different" emerge throughout childhood, although it may not be clear to the child what the feelings means. Children may begin exploring gender and relationships before kindergarten, so "coming out" and sharing these feelings of being different with others may happen at any time. For many kids, gender identity becomes clear around puberty as they develop gender characteristics and stronger romantic attractions.
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Positive environments are important to help all youth thrive. On this page, find resources from the CDC, other government agencies, and community organizations for LGBT Youth, their friends, educators, parents, and family members to support positive environments. Some LGBT youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience negative health and life outcomes. It is critical for the parents, guardians, and other family members of LGBT youth to have access to the resources they need to ensure their LGBT children are protected and supported. Because some LGBT youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience bullying or other aggression in school, it is important that educators, counselors, and school administrators have access to resources and support to create a safe, healthy learning environment for all students. Some LGBT youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience bullying or other aggression in school.
So you support your gay teen, great: You still have to parent them
Would you parent your straight year-old daughter that way? Stephen Russell, an adolescent psychologist at the University of Arizona, says that he and his partner, Scott Neeley, have faced many challenges while parenting their gay son, Enrique, Russell credits the majority of his parenting successes to the open communication that both he and Neeley encourage within their home, and says parents should remember the importance of talking openly with their teens not only about the rules, curfews and boundaries that are part of the dating experience, but also about sexuality and relationships.
This moment of honesty is the beginning of a journey that can be challenging for both you and your child. But with a little awareness, openness, some practical tools and support you can both grow through this experience, creating an even closer and more supportive family connection. Let's face it, the coming out process for LGBT adolescents can be a terrifying moment, not only for the teenager, but also their family and friends. It is a time of high emotions that can run the gamut from confusion, shock, disbelief, rejection and anger, to acceptance, peace, understanding and concern. It is important at this potentially fragile time for both you and your teen to be kind to each other and create room for this new information and identity to be processed.