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Coming Out To My Family.

Question:

Hello,

I’m a young 17-year-old woman. I came out to my family (brother, sister, mom, dad, one cousin) and some very close friends when I was around 12. I’ve always identified as bisexual, as I was always interested in both sexes and wasn’t judgmental of others. Coming out to my mom was probably the hardest, but she’s not very religious, and is very supportive of the LGBT community. I guess when it comes to her own kids it’s a different story.

She’s said she is supportive, but I get curious as to how supportive she really is. I’ve asked her on numerous occasions, if I ever married a woman, if she would come to the wedding. She’s never answered. She always says, “You’ll marry a man and give me grandchildren!” Which hits me hard because my own mother is ignoring the questions and feelings of her youngest. My father has no problem, neither does my brother or my sister. They always make gay jokes such as “Lezbehonest Kate, you’re gay!” And things along those lines but I’m perfectly fine with it. I don’t get offended and have a great sense of humor.

At night, I have a habit of thinking things over. My life, sexuality, etc. I’m interested in men, yet I can’t see myself having sex with them. Kissing and cuddling is fine, but anything that involves us going all the way, no. For women, I have absolutely no problem. Same goes for Transgenders or “Lady Boys”.

Yet, sometimes I CAN’T see myself making love to a woman. I don’t understand why, even though I’m attracted to them. I realized that I’m more interested in a relationship, and not sex.

I’m having trouble figuring out what I am. Bisexual just doesn’t seem to fit anymore. Neither does lesbian. Pansexual? Please help. Knowing what I am would really relieve some stress. I apologize ahead of time if this is confusing in anyway!! I’m a bit frazzled at the moment and am a little shaken up in my current situation.

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Hi Kate,

Regardless of whether you’re still feeling frazzled or not, thank you for putting your thoughts to “paper” and allowing yourself to explore things such as your sexual identity further. Chances are you’ll inspire others to do the same, to seek to better understand themselves, which is a daily and continuous process that we all face.

And I’m so glad to hear that your family has been supportive of you, but the first thing I would like to respond to is your current relationship with your mom. Considering how she sometimes approaches the topic of your sexuality and specifically your question or whether or not she will come to your wedding if you marry a woman, I’d suggest remembering a few things when such topics are discussed. The first is that even though it’s been five years since you came out as bisexual, that still doesn’t mean that your mom has completely come to understand or process what this means. It could be that it will take her many years to truly see that you can be happy and in love with either a man or a woman. You can also easily “give her grandchildren!” even if you marry a woman, so remember that and perhaps remind her of that fact, if the time and mood is right. But that’s neither here or there at this moment. From what little I know from your environment, it does sound as if your mother is supportive, but keep in mind that it may take her more time to be a vocal proponent of your sexuality. And to get her there, she will need encouragement and to be challenge by you.

Now to the point of really settling on a definition or label for your sexuality, I want to caution you here from being too definitive or too insistent on adopting a label. After all, sexuality is often a very fluid identify with no black and white areas. It’s also important to remember that you are not and you can never be defined by a label. You are so much more than your sexuality. You are Kate, and whether bisexual, lesbian or pansexual, you are uniquely you. But at the same time, I do understand your desire to put parameters around your attraction, which is perfectly normal and healthy. But in this process of further discovery, I’d suggest holding tight on adopting any one label for now – there’s no rush, so don’t less let this cause you any stress or worry. And back to the point of fluidity and your point regarding sex, it could very well be that at times you find yourself feeling more asexual, if no sexual attraction is involved or necessary, and that’s perfectly common as well. Again, no two people are the same, and only you can know yourself as well as you do. With that, and considering that you have previously identified as bisexual, I do want to offer up a resource to you on that subject matter, http://bisexual.org/ which offers a wide range of materials and resources.

Additionally, I do want to remind you that we are here for you at any time – 24/7/365 on Trevor Chat at 1-866-488-7386 – and we’re also here for your friends or anyone else you may know. And our lifeline isn’t the only way we’re available. We also have some other great programs where you can talk with a trained volunteer or speak to other teenagers who are in similar situations. The first is Trevor Chat, http://www.thetrevorproject.org/chat, where you select a time that works best for you and then are able to chat in real-time with a volunteer. The second is our very own social networking site, http://www.trevorspace.org/, which is available to LGBT youth and allies ages 13-24. It’s a safe, monitored (yet confidential) community where you will be able to chat with girls (and guys) who are in similar situations. So take advantage of these resources and don’t forget that we’re here. We’re here, we support you, and we’re so excited to see you live and love with the totality of your genuine and unique self.

Trevor