Welcome to Ask Trevor

Welcome to Ask Trevor
Ask Trevor is an online, non-time sensitive question and answer resource for young people with questions surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity. Browse the published letters or submit your own letter.

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Your letters are very important to us and all letters will be reviewed and responded to in the near future.

Hope you are having a great summer!

help

Question:

I am 16 and IDK
I have did this note thing before, but i was asking before if y’all thought it was a good thing to come out because i am a girl and have feelings for other girls and boys. But that whole thing is not new, i want to tell my very religious family the truth about me but i cant i don’t know if they would be OK with it or disown me. I don’t want to be like this but i am. I have told my friends they are OK with it but they don’t understand me at all know more. My parents are not happy at all with there marriage it makes what im wanting to say to them even hard. I go to church with my mom every Sunday and every Sunday the pastor tells that lesbians are going to hell. I guess you can say that im depressed i have pushed harder into my religion but i cant deal no more with the fact that i have to act straight with my parents, i will never be able to tell them the truth, im living a lie, my parents dislike lesbians, i have started cutting im not happy no more. My friends are worried, i cant deal with my parents arguing, me lying, then they tell me im always mad and im a smart butt, but really im mad at myself.

Answer:

From reading your letter, it sounds like you are going through a very tough time so thank you for contacting us again – you are very brave to again express your feelings and for asking for help. I am sure there are a lot of other 16 year olds in the same position although, of course, every set of parents has their own issues and personalities that they children have to deal with!

Overall your letter seems to be about religion, family and living with what you call a lie. You are not alone with feeling and dealing with conflicts between religion and sexuality but the two can, and do, co-exist beautifully throughout the world. Whilst many a religious leader, unfortunately like your Pastor on Sundays, might teach that being a lesbian is a sin, there are also many religious leaders who teach love, acceptance, and equality for all. You do not say whether your parents dislike lesbians because of their religion but if that is the case then you may find helpful, in understanding how they may cope with their own conflicts, a guide offered by PFLAG (Parents, Families, + Friends of Lesbians and Gays) called “Faith in our Families: Parents, Families and Friends Talk About Religion and Homosexuality” at http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/FaithinourFamilies.pdf

I respect that you should not have to live a lie especially when it causes you so much anguish, pain and depression. Parents react in various ways to their children coming out and what they ‘think’ of lesbians in general now may not be what they think of their lesbian daughter. Many times it is a positive experience for everyone and can unite families and make relationships stronger, something you might hope could happen for you and your family if it helps them realise this is why, in their minds, you have been mad and a ‘smart butt’. But there are also negative reactions and relationships can be strained or even destroyed as you mention is a possibility in your mind. So it is important to think through your situation carefully and ask yourself some important questions. For example, are you worried that if you told your family, you’d be unsafe physically? Are you worried that if they wanted to disown you that they might kick you out of the house immediately? If you decided to tell them and they did kick you out, do you 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? In order to be well prepared to come out to family, some people decide to wait until they are living away from home and are financially independent before coming out. Only you can decide when it is best to come out to your family; how much pain it causes you by not telling them now; and how long you can wait if you know you have a plan. What is really important is that you are comfortable with your decision and are safe.

You mention also that you have started harming yourself. Some people use cutting as a release from tension, stress, or anger (either at themselves or at others), and others feel that it gives them a bit of control in their lives where otherwise they would feel completely out of control. But it’s important for you to know that cutting may feel better briefly but the longer it goes on, the more dangerous it can become. It can cause permanent scars, infections and serious, and sometimes life threatening medical problems especially if you cut a major blood vessel. If cutting helps to release anger, try getting the anger out in another way like hitting a pillow, stomping around in heavy shoes, ripping up an old newspaper or flattening aluminum cans. If cutting helps you when you’re sad, do whatever makes you feel taken care of and comforted. It would be great if you didn’t feel a need to cut, so if you need to talk to someone about that specifically, then you can always call 1-800-DON’T-CUT. You can also go online to http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm and http://www.safe-alternatives.com to learn about cutting, find people who can talk about it with you, and discover additional things you can do when you have the urge to cut.

If you ever feel the need to phone a more general helpline then please try Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-4-U-Trevor (1-866-488-7386). The Trevor Project also has an online social network at http://www.trevorspace.org. It’s an online community where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) and straight youth ages 13 to 24 can talk with each other, provide support, and find resources in their communities. I am sure you will find a lot of people who are going through or have gone through what you are now.

Trevor Staff