parental advisory

Seven TV Episodes That Teach Parents How To React To Their Kids’ Coming Out

(Kurt and Burt Hummel share a moment on Glee)

National Coming Out Day isn’t till October 11 but it’s never to early for parents to prepare themselves for “the talk”—when the apple of their eye sits them down and tells them he or she is gay. Not all parents handle the news well—one friend told us his mom asked if it was because she insisted he only date Jewish girls.

Blogger Corina Writes shared her list of seven television episodes that handled the whole “coming out to the folks” with grace, humor and honesty. You should definitely check out her full list, but we’ve enhanced a few of her picks with a few of our own—some of which are more cautionary tales than blueprints.

UP FIRST: Kurt and Burt Hummel bond on Glee

In “Preggers,” the fourth episode of Season One, Kurt stumbles through revealing his homosexuality to his father who, like the rest of the known universe, already knows his son is light in the loafers. “I’ve known since you were 3. All you wanted for your birthday was a pair of sensible heels.” Points for using humor to defuse a potentially tense situation.


NEXT: Max gets his Happy Endings


Happy Endings
When Max, the non-stereotypical gay guy on this ABC mid-season romcom, comes out to his folks they’re just glad he’s not dating one of his meshugenah female friends. “Sweetheart, you never need to be scared to tell us anything,” says him mom reassuringly. “What matters to us is that you’re happy and that you’re surrounded by people who love you.” Awww!


NEXT: Pretty Little Liars’ family crisis

Pretty Little Liars
We have to admit we haven’t been watching this ABC Family show—mainly because we’re about 100 years older than its target demographic. But though Liars is usually soap-opera-level outrageous, a heartbreaking conversation between the parents of lesbian Emily (Shay Mitchell, far left) rings terribly true—and is a lesson in how not to react when you find out your child is gay.

Mom: “Are you willing to just turn away from everything we ever wanted for her? Let her ruin her life so she can experiment? What happened to you? What happened to your values? Did you just leave them out in the desert somewhere?”

Dad: “I told you I don’t like this, but she is alive and healthy. And after everything I’ve seen, alive and healthy counts for a lot—believe me!”

NEXT: The Marshall plan on United States of Tara

United States of Tara
Given that his mother has multiple personalities, Marshall probably had to come out to his folks several times. The kid’s sexuality was sort of an open secret in the Gregson household, but his Dad’s chill response to Marshall’s coming out was still sweet.

Max: “How are things going with you and Courtney?”

Marshall: “Y’know, we’re…it’s…”

Max: “I’m not prying—it’s none of my business. I’m gonna run down to Grand Stand and grab some burgers. You want anything?”

Marshall: “…I’m gay.”

Max: (Pauses) “Good. So you want anything?”

Marshall: “Yeah, maybe I’ll just come with you to Grand Stand”

Max: “Cool.”

NEXT: A pretty scenario on Ugly Betty

Ugly Betty
As with Tara’s Marshall, you’d have to be Helen Keller not to know little Justin Suarez was the Ricky Martin kind. But that doesn’t mean actually saying the words out loud were any easier for the teen. Hilda, Betty and the rest of the Suarez clan think its muy bien that Justin likes the hombres, but it’s his scared, heartfelt conversation with prissy lackey Marc that made us sniffle.

When Justin starts freaking out about the implications of his relationship with a male classmate, Marc silences the chattering chihuahua and put things in perspective: “First of all, you have a boyfriend. Yay for you!” And then he puts the kibosh on the Suarez’s insane idea to throw Justin a “coming out” party. Why didn’t ABC give Michael Urie his own spin-off series?!?

NEXT: The War At Home makes peace with gay Kenny.

The War At Home
This Fox sitcom, which ran from 2005 to 2007, mirrored Married…With Children‘s formula of  a dysfunctional blue-collar clan and was hardly watchable—except for son Larry’s relationship with his “flamboyant” best friend, Kenny (Rami Malek). Desperate for ratings, or at least cultural relevance, the show took a daring turn when it had Kenny come out to his strict Muslim family.

The results were devastating—Kenny was essentially disowned by his parents and moved in with the Gold family. He still got some cute boys, though—at least until the series was canceled after its second season. Another reminder that the road to Gayville can be quite bumpy.

NEXT: AbFab’s Edina; a gay son’s wet dream or hellish nightmare?

Absolutely Fabulous
For most of AbFab‘s run, Edina made only veiled references to her son, Serge, whom we never met. Until the 2002 episode, “Gay,” when we learn he’s hiding out from mummy in New York City and Eddy goes to retrieve him. It turns out Serge is gay, but quite mousy—and terrified that if his mother got her fag-hag mitts on him, it’d be all Stoli-Bolli and lines of coke with Karl Lagerfeld till dawn. Eventually Edina comes to appreciate her gay son, bad fashion sense and all.


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