All my life my friends and family have joked around with me saying I was going to be bi or lesbian and I would always tell them no not going to happen. I started hanging out with new girls I met, that I liked a lot more than other girls. I started experimenting with one girl but had her promise to keep it a secret. I’m afraid to tell everybody else about my change of sexuality because I don’t want anybody to change their feelings about me and I don’t want to freak anybody out. How do I go about letting people know so I don’t have to hide it anymore? Especially my parents. I don’t want them to be disappointing with me.
Thank you for writing Trevor Project and sharing your story with us. I’m sure it’s been very difficult to keep your sexuality a secret from your family and friends because you’re afraid they will not be supportive or accepting. Please know that you are not alone. Your family and friends may need a little time and help to become more understanding and supportive of you.
In trying to figure out whether or not to come out to your family/friends, it is helpful to ask yourself the following questions: Are you worried that if you told your family/friends, you would be unsafe physically or emotionally? Are you concerned that your parents might kick you out of the house? If you decided to tell your parents and they kick you out, it is very important to have a safety plan, meaning a safe place where you could live and be taken care of financially. Some people decide to wait until they are living on their own and are financially independent before telling members of their family about their sexual orientation.
There are resources to assist people in coming out. Some people are fine with just saying their sexuality, while others find it better to ease into the discussion by first talking about a LGBT actor or character in a movie, book or television show to see how the people in their life react. You might find it helpful to write out and rehearse things you might say. You could refer to the following website: http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/comingoutquestions, you’ll find an article called “Coming Out to Your Parents: Questions to Think About.”
PFLAG– Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, is a great organization that is made up of mostly parents, which supports LGBTQ people and works to help parents and others to become more supportive and accepting of their loved one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. On PFLAG’s website at: http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2 click on “Get Support” then click “For Family & Friends,” there you’ll find the pamphlets “Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People” and “Frequently Asked Questions about GLBT People,” which, if you’re comfortable, you can share with your family members or friends to help them become more understanding and accepting of your sexuality. PFLAG also runs support groups where parents and others can discuss questions and concerns they have about a loved one’s sexual orientation and where LGBT people can discuss issues they’re having with people in their life. On their website, you can search for a chapter near you. If no chapter is near you or if your family members or friends won’t attend, you could still contact the nearest chapter and get support and learn ways to help them become more understanding of you. There are no guarantees but this may help. Maybe, when you feel comfortable, you could share these resources with your family/friends.
Good luck, Sadie! Please do not hesitate to call the Trevor lifeline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR, 24 hours 7 days a week, if you need to talk. Feel free to write back with any more questions you may have. To chat with other young people like yourself, please visit The Trevor Project’s social networking site, TrevorSpace at: www.TrevorSpace.org. Take care, Sadie!