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I need some help. I’m gay and I have known that for some time now. I’ve been thinking of coming out lately, but I don’t know if I should. Part of me really wants to. I’m just fed up with all of it and would like to finally move on. But the thing is, I am still scared to take that first step and talk to someone about it and tell them I am gay. I’m pretty sure that if I came out, most of my friends wouldn’t talk to me anymore. I know one of them would probably be okay with it and thought about going to them about it, but I’m still scared and don’t know what I should do. It’s just been so stressful and it’s been driving me nuts. I could really use some advice.
Letter submitted by:
Dear Travis: I’m really glad you decided to write and to ask for help. It takes real strength to ask for help, especially when you’re scared and don’t know what to do. It sounds like you are eager to make your life easier and certainly less stressful.
Whether you decide to come out or not, what’s most important is that you’re safe and comfortable. You may have heard that coming out can let people in your life know about an important part of yourself. Coming out can help you to feel less alone, less afraid, and can help you to meet new friends as well as possibly meet people to date. As you decide whether to come out, you might think further along the lines of what it feels like keeping this part of your life a secret. You said that you are afraid that most of your friends wouldn’t talk to you anymore. You also said that you know of one friend who might be okay with it. Does it cause you a lot of stress worrying about your other friends finding out? Are you worried that if you told your family or your friends, you’d be unsafe physically or emotionally? If you told your parents, are you concerned that 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 decide to wait until they are living away from home and are financially independent before telling members of their family about their sexual orientation/gender identity. Coming out to friends can result in any number of ways. Some may be surprised, and some may simply shrug and tell you they still love you. You might also think about who you could talk to without judgment or concern. Perhaps a teacher, a counselor at school, someone in your community who you respect and trust. In any case, if you feel now is the right time, that’s absolutely fine. What is most important is that you are comfortable and safe.
A few resources you might find helpful are TrevorSpace at www.trevorspace.org. It’s the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 their friends and allies. It’s a great supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you’re having. It’s also a great place to build a support network. Additionally, PFLAG is a great organization which supports LGBTQ people and works to help parents and others to become more supportive and accepting of their loved one’s sexual orientation/gender identity. There’s a few books you might also read: “Now That You Know – A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Their Gay and Lesbian Children” which addresses many issues and questions that arise for parents of gay and lesbian children and “Straight Parents, Gay Children: Keeping Families Together.” There are no guarantees but they may help.
Finally, I just want to remind you that if you ever need us, we’re here for you. Don’t hesitate to call The Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR, or log into TrevorSpace.