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Dear Trevor Project,
Hi! My name is Sarah. I have know that i was not like the other girls I knew since I was young but i never could quite put my finger on why. That was until 2 years ago when my best friend came out to me. And about a year and half ago I finally accepted who I was and was proud of who I was. So I decided that i wanted to be open about who i was.
So I started coming out to my friends and recently i have just finished coming out to them and they all accept me for who I am. Now the time has come to come out to my parents and the rest of my family. I am scared because I, of course, don’t know how they are going to react. Now my older sister and her fiance know and love me for who I am. I want to be open to my family and I feel ready to tell them but I am still scared. And I am also a quiet person toward my family. I don’t know why really, so i thought that it would be easier to tell my family through a letter. Is that a good tactic or would that just make things worse? And should I come out to them soon or when I turn 18? Any advice?
PS. Thank you for being there for teens like me and many others. It is very hard to know where to ask these questions when you live so deep in the south. (or at least for me it is.)
We’re so happy that you reached out to Ask Trevor with your question and we also want to applaud you for your courage in writing to us! Deciding whether or not to come out to your family is not an easy decision, and it can definitely be anxiety-provoking and confusing, so we’re glad that you are asking for guidance and support as you think about this. It is also so nice to hear that you’ve had such a positive experience coming out to your friends and your sister and her fiancé. You deserve nothing less!
The decision about when you want to come out to your parents and the rest of your family is a tricky one, and unfortunately, it is not one we can answer for you. However, we can give you some resources and some questions to think about as you go through this process. It will be important to think about both the best and worst case scenarios of your coming out. What is it like keeping this part of you a secret from your parents? Do you worry about your physical safety, being kicked out of your house, or being cut-off financially if you decide to come out to your parents now? Sometimes people wait until they are able to move out on their own and are financially secure before coming out to their parents, and that is definitely okay. Your safety and wellbeing should come first. Since your sister has been so supportive and she presumably knows the rest of your family, she may be a good resource to talk to as you sort out some of these questions.
We definitely encourage you to check out The Trevor Project’s Coming Out as You! http://www.thetrevorproject.org/section/YOU resource and also this link called Coming Out to your Parents: Questions to Think About http://amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/youthresource-comingout Finally, remember that the Trevor Project is always here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Feel free to write again, log on to TrevorChat, or call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386 if you need any more advice or want to talk. We are here for you!