My Child Came Out to Me... What Do I Do Now?
As a business with long standing traditions of both inclusivity and sexual health and wellness, more and more people are coming to Fairvilla stores to ask what to do when their child comes out. Since we opened our Brevard County megastore in 1996 and have since become Fairvilla Boutique in Cape Canaveral, we’ve answered all kinds of questions in this space, and we’d like to offer some ideas on how to lovingly handle this delicate time with your family.
The most important thing to do is listen. Your child is trusting you with a part of their soul that they’ve likely had to conceal for many years, and that’s big. You owe it to your child to set judgements aside and actively listen to their voice and what they’re feeling. Asking questions can help you understand, and will reassure your child that you are listening and thinking about what they’re saying. But ask in a gentle tone. Make it clear that you are supportive and your questions stem from a place of love.
Assure your child that you love them unconditionally. We advise that you steer clear of statements like “it doesn’t matter,” because that can be so easily taken amiss even when meant kindly, especially during the already tough-enough teen years. Hug your child and tell them you love them, and that you are proud of who they are and their courage it took to tell you, and that you’ll do your best to understand and to help them navigate this new space.
Keep the focus on your child. You are likely going to feel all kinds of emotions bubbling up, from “what will our neighbors think” to “I'm afraid for my child’s safety.” There are resources out there for you, but the most vulnerable person at this moment is not you.
Educate yourself and show up for your kid whenever possible. Showing up for your child could be as easy as attending Pride events together (like Brevard’s own Space Coast Pride Festival, which we hope to attend again in 2021), or as difficult as confronting neighbors, relatives, and school administrators who may push back on the situation. You’ve got to be prepared to handle both; standing up for your kids when they’re vulnerable is crucial.
Fairvilla offers on-site and online health and wellness resources. While the focus primarily is on sexual health, the team can assist across a variety of issues, directing clients to more information and appropriate organizations. Contact Fairvilla, visit their website or visit the Fairvilla University YouTube Channel to learn more.
6103 N Atlantic Ave.
Sunday-Thursday 11a.m.-10 p.m.
In a previous life, Sheila Mulholland was a library professional, but now she works for Fairvilla as the community outreach coordinator for the Space Coast. Giving back to the community is her passion. In her spare time, she enjoys video games, yoga, and walks on the beach with her partner at sunset.
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