My younger brother has just come out of the closet to me. I'm shocked, but understanding about it and I am glad he feels that he can come to me with the truth.
I am very scared for him to talk to my conservative parents though and he's planning on telling them this weekend. I feel like I should help give him some sisterly advice on what to say to them. Do you have any ideas? Supportive Sis
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Dear Supportive Sis
He is very lucky to have you. You can only hope that your parents will love him unconditionally, and be calm and understanding, but in case they don't react well, at least he has you there for support.
Start by telling your brother to be prepared to talk openly about being gay. Although he is the child, he is the only one that knows what this feels like and they may come to him with questions. Make sure he explains that this isn't a choice or a phase and that your parents didn't cause this. It's still him on the inside but with a homosexual preference instead of a heterosexual one. Have him reiterate that he still loves his family just the same.
He's also going to need patience. There is no telling how your parents are going to react but usually they go through about six common and predictable stages. These stages are: shock, denial, guilt, expression of feelings, personal decision-making, true acceptance.
Ask him to go back to moments where he realized that he was gay. I am sure he felt confused and it must have taken him some time to get his feelings sorted out. Your parents may have a similar process of their own to go through. It's common for mother's to cry; both of your parents may ignore it and wish it away...or they may be afraid. People fear the unknown and it could be a big social and religious issue for them.
Once you have your talk, don't beat a dead horse. Ask them if they have any questions and then give them time alone to adjust to this new change on their own. You can offer them this resource called PFLAG; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays to contact either online or they can contact their local chapter and meet a counselor or others in their position in person.
Also, here is a helpful article for your brother to read in preparation for his big talk with your parents. I hope this helps.