DEAR HARRIETTE: I just learned that my little cousin is gay. He called me the other day to tell me, and he also said that he hasn't told his parents. He is 20, and he just now figured it out. He has had girlfriends here and there, but this year he fell for a man and realized this is what he wants. He said he felt comfortable telling me because he knows I won't judge him, but he is scared silly to tell his parents -- they can be very judgmental. He asked me not to tell them. He also asked me for advice on what he should do now. I really don't know. I want him to be happy, but I can't tell him how to live his life. What advice can I give him so he can feel settled? -- Supportive Cousin, New York City
DEAR SUPPORTIVE COUSIN: You can start by thanking your cousin for telling you about his life and for trusting you. You can tell him that you can imagine how difficult it must be to be dealing with his feelings and sorting through his understanding of his sexual identity. Recommend that he get counseling support from a professional who should have much deeper insights into how to manage talking to his family when it is time. Visit community.pflag.org/page.aspx?pid=536 for more information.
Stay in touch with your cousin as he grows into adulthood. And definitely keep his confidence. When he is ready, he is the one who should share his story with others.