On Coming Out Day, Richmond group offers support for LGBT youth

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Thursday marks the 30th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, which honors the journey of the LGBTQ community becoming their true selves.

The Human Rights Campaign says nearly half of all Americans have someone close to them who is gay or lesbian, so it’s a conversation parents may have to have.

The Richmond organization Side by Side helps youth as they go through the process of defining themselves. Ted Lewis, the organization’s Executive Director, says if your child does come to you saying they’re LGBT, parents don’t need to react right away. You can instead take a minute, say thank you and even put the conversation on pause to think.

Lewis says each young person is at a different part of their journey, but it’s important to keep in mind that many are also worrying about how their school, friends and community will react. He recommends the best thing you can do is just say you love your child and they have your support.

Side by Side has a support line for youth and their loved ones. You can call 888-644-4390.