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depressed and scared of rejection

Question:

Im 16 (almost 17) and im a lesbian and i have known for a very long time. I accept it but im so so so afraid that my parents, the most important people in my life, wont accept me. Ive come out to exactly 6 friends. One of them told my older sister (19) who told her husband and our cousin. My sister still loves me but only because she has to. She is homophobic.
I want to come out at school because then id be half way to rock bottom. Then i want to come out to my parents (who probably wont take it well) at that point id be at rock bottom and the only way to go from there would be up.
Im so scared. It stresses me. I literally think that i will get IBS from the situation. But having to hide makes me depressed. Id never kill or harm myself but im not happy. And it hurts.And i love my friends and my sisters and family and my friends family but i dont want to talk to them about this because i dont want them to know im depressed. I feel weak and hopeless. I put on a happy face but when im alone at night i cry because its the only way to release some of the pressure built up inside me.
I want to come out. But im scared of rejection. I want to be happy and the only way that will happen is if i can be me. I need advice.

Thanks,
Sarah L.

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Dear Sarah,

Thank you for having the courage to write your letter asking for help.  Deciding whether to come out to your friends and family is a difficult decision and being afraid of the reaction people may have is reasonable.  Being a lesbian is natural and normal just as being “straight” is natural and normal. You say you want to be yourself at home and at school and that is understandable.  You have come out to six friends so far but fear rejection if you come out more broadly.   If you told your parents, are you concerned they might kick you out of the house?  If you decided to tell them and they did kick you out, it would be important to have a safety plan, meaning a safe place where you could live and continue to go to school and a way to support yourself financially.  Some people decided to wait until they are living away from home and are financially independent before telling their parents about their sexual orientation.  If you feel now is the right time, that’s absolutely fine.  What is most important is that you are comfortable and safe.      

It is natural and normal to feel stressed and depressed given your situation.  It’s important that you seek out support as you figure things out in your own time.  Please don’t be afraid to talk with a teacher, counselor or family member you trust to support you as you continue to think about it and talk to the trusted friends you already came out to if that makes you feel better and less alone.  This can be hard, but you will get through it with the help and support of people who care about you.  

If you feel you need help in finding a way to come out to people at school and your parents, you may find the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” helpful.  You can find it at http://www.hrc.org/documents/resourceguide_co.pdf. In addition, on http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/comingoutquestions you’ll find an article called “Coming Out to Your Parents: Questions to Think About” which may be of help to you.  If you do choose to come out, your parents or friends may have questions and may need time and help to become more understanding and supportive of you.  Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a great organization, made up mainly of parents, which supports LGBTQ poeple and works to help parents and others to become more supportive and accepting of their loved one’s sexual orientation.  On the PFLAG website www.pflag.org, you will find resource materials under “Get Support” as well as search for a local chapter near you.  Here at Trevor, we are also here to support you anytime day or night with TrevorChat, Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR or TrevorSpace.  You are brave and important and beautiful just the way that you are.

Sincerely,

Trevor Staff