When You Find Out Your Child Is Gay

Be supportive to help keep your relationship intact

For many years, everyone close to Shannon McElroy knew that she was a lesbian — except maybe her parents. It was only after McElroy married very quietly last January that she decided to tell her parents, who are religious. “A lot of it was fear about how they would react and if they would fully accept me,” says McElroy, 36, a program manager at a York, Pa., community health center. “But they were great, saying, ‘We know.’ They welcomed my wife into the family.”

Even with social changes such as the Marriage Equality Act and greater acceptance of gay rights, coming out is still a traumatic event for some people, says McElroy, who works with gay youths at the health center. A Pew survey found that about 40 percent of LGBT adults were rejected by a family member or close friend because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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