Happy Pride Month! Every June, in honor of the Stonewall Riots, the LGBTQIA+ community, and its allies acknowledge the pursuit of equality and love with a month of intentionally increased visibility and celebration. It is a very common time for new members of the LGBTQIA+ community to explore or announce their identity. If you have a friend come out to you, this month or any time, here are some ways you can support them!

Affirm your friend

It takes a lot of courage to come out! Make sure you acknowledge your friend’s courage and let them know you appreciate them trusting you with this. Also, be sure to emphasize that this won’t change your friendship and let them know you still care about them!

Ask questions and be willing to learn answers too:

LGBTQ+ identities can mean very different things to different people but remember, your friend isn’t Google. There’s a big difference between asking “What is _______?” and “What does being ________ mean to you?” One can be answered by the Internet while the other is more genuinely personal. You can, and should, ask them questions about what their identity or identities mean to them. However, you should also be prepared and willing to do your own research on your own time too. 

Keep an open mind:

You might not know a lot about what being LGBTQIA+ means or maybe you have some personal beliefs that are different from your friend’s. This can be very difficult to navigate but right now, your friend needs you. They are sharing a part of themself with someone they feel a connection with and they should feel safe doing so. Thank them for trusting you and, later, take the time you need to decide how this might impact your friendship going forward. 

Be respectful of their trust:

Your friend is trusting you with an important part of themselves. They might not be ready to talk to other people about this so please remember to respect their trust. Also, be sure to always ask your friend before disclosing their identity to another person.

Ask if they need support talking to anyone else:

Your friend may want to talk to other people like a parent, teacher, or sibling but may not know-how. If possible, offer to be there when they talk to someone else or offer to help them practice how the discussion with that person might go.

Offer support with resources:

You don’t have to know everything! Your friend may need some help or information that you can’t provide. Forward Together has tons of great resources and contacts available on our website. Forward Together Colorado Youth Gender and Sexuality Resources

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, sharing my identity with friends sometimes felt really intimidating but reaching out for that connection and finding the support I needed meant so much to me. So, if a friend comes out to you, thank you. Thank you for being a trusted connection.