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This is not about me, it’s about my friend, Tyson. He got in a happy relationship a few months ago, and it didn’t end too well. They got in a big fight, his ex-boyfriend, Matt, started cursing at him, they never actually broke up, but it was sort of obvious they didn’t talk after that. Their relationship ended. A few weeks later, Matt joined into Tyson’s childcare class. Matt made all of Tyson’s friends laugh. Matt and Tyson started talking, and one of Matt’s friends came up and asked if he was trying to get his boyfriend back. He wasn’t. After school, Matt came to Tyson’s to talk. He asked for him back, and Tyson replied saying that he was the worst boyfriend had since his last one. (He wasn’t, he actually made Tyson feel like he was worth something. He just knew he didn’t deserve the ignorance Matt was giving him). Earlier, Tyson had gotten a letter from his dad. His dad was abusive over the years, since he came out as homosexual, and his father is Christian, and hateful against gays. The letter showed friendship and love, it apologized for the past, and his father realized what he had been doing to his son hadn’t been right. Matt got sort of heart-broken over the concept that he was the worst boyfriend he had ever had. He ripped the letter right in Tyson’s face and left. Tyson is upset now, some because of guilt of what he said to Matt, some because he ripped the letter. That letter had meant a lot to him. I don’t know how to cheer him up at all. He will not talk to Matt, and he is going to get another letter from his father.
Thank you for writing to us about this emotionally difficult and confusing situation. We can tell that you are a truly caring person and a great friend. When your friends are hurting, you hurt as well. And when you can’t make them feel better, it makes you feel powerless and useless. But that is far from the truth. Just knowing you have a friend that cares about you and wants you to feel better does so much good – more good than you know. And you don’t need to have the solution to be supportive. All you need to do is let him know that he is not alone – that he can count on you for support. And please let him know that he can count on The Trevor Project being there for him, too.
It was wrong for Matt to rip Tyson’s letter. I wish I could tell you why he did it. I also wish I could tell you why Tyson said what he said to Matt. Relationships bring out the best and the worst in us, and arguments often stir up feelings – feelings from the past – that may have nothing to do with the other person. Emotions become amplified, and we say things we shouldn’t say, and do things we shouldn’t do. We lose control. We go too far. And when it’s all over, we usually can’t remember how things went so wrong. We regret what we’ve done, what we’ve said. Maybe after they have cooled off, they will try being friends again, maybe more. Maybe they will share no more than a dirty look in the hallway from now until graduation. That is entirely up to them, and they will deal with it in their own time.
In regards to the letter, know that the most important thing about the letter was that it was written. As you said in your letter, it showed friendship and love, it apologized for the past. (Well said!) Whatever its current state – burned to ashes or framed in solid gold – it was a beautiful gesture from a father who sincerely wants to change – something that is not easy to do – and genuinely wants to build a better relationship with his son. And the letter meant a lot to Tyson, so it obviously served its purpose well. Regardless of what happened to the letter, or what happens to the next letter, or the one after that, the gesture will not be forgotten, and we hope their relationship continues to mend and grow.
If Tyson feels comfortable enough, he may want to tell his father about an organization called PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). It’s a great organization, made up mostly of parents, which supports LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning) people and works to help parents and others to become more supportive and accepting of their loved one’s sexual orientation/gender identity. Their website, www.pflag.org, is a great place where parents can find answers to any questions they may have about the LGBTQ community and find support from other parents who know what they are going through. On the left side, parents can click on “Get Support”, then click on “For Families, Friends & Allies” to find the pamphlets “Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People” and “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About GLBT People.” Parents of faith can also find resources specifically for them by clicking on “Education & Programs,” then “PFLAG and Faith Communities” (called “Welcoming Faith Communities” to the left). There they will find resources like the PFLAG publication “Faith in Our Families” (under “Support”), which is designed to help faithful parents to strengthen their relationship with their family and their faith as well.
We would also like to tell you and your friend Tyson about TrevorSpace, The Trevor Project’s safe, supportive, online community for young LGBTQ people and their allies (ages 13-24). Both of you should consider joining!
In addition to TrevorSpace, The Trevor Project has several other help services, all of which are now listed and linked to on our Get Help Now webpage: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now. Both of you should take a look and see which of our help services would benefit you most. For example, you can speak with someone at The Trevor Project online using our free, confidential and secure instant messaging service, TrevorChat, open every day between the hours of 3:00 PM and 9:00 PM MST. To speak with someone over text messages, try TrevorText, open on Fridays between the hours of 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM MST.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful-yet-tragic story-in-progress with us. You are a great storyteller and a great friend. Tyson is so lucky to have you in his life. Please feel free to write to us again, and, of course, both of you can always call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Trevor Project