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I don’t know how to come out to family

Question:

For as long as I think of, I remember liking boys, and girls at the same time. I don’t know how to tell my family, though. Most of my close friends know that I identify as being bisexual, but Im scared to tell my family. My mom is super homophobic, and I really am hesitant to tell her. I really want to tell my sister, but I just don’t know how. My brother is in school with me, so I think he hears things, but I don’t really know. I told myself that I wouldn’t tell them, unless I had intentions to go out with a girl. Now, there actually is a girl I really like, and lately I just want to tell my sister at least. I’m just scared to see how she reacts, and what she would say to me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

 

Answer:

 

Dear Maria:

Thank you for your letter. First, let me begin by saying that I think it is very brave of you to want to tell your sister that you are bisexual. It is also totally normal for you to be scared about telling her. Coming out to a member of your family or a friend is a big decision–and it is a decision that only you can make for yourself.

I also understand you want to tell her because there is a girl you really like and you want to share the news with her. Before coming out to your sister or anyone else, I have a few questions for you to think about. Is it stressful for you to keep the fact you have someone special in your life from your sister? Do you know how your sister feels about people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual? If you do tell your sister you are bisexual, is it possible she might share this information with your mom or someone else? You describe your mom as “super homophobic? If she did find out, is it possible she might kick you out of the house? If that were to happen, it would be important to have a safety plan. Is there someplace where you could go? Some people decide to wait to until they are living away from home and are financially independent before telling their parents or a member of their family about their sexual orientation. If you feel now is the right time, that’s fine. What is most important is that you are comfortable and safe.

If you decide to tell your sister, I would suggest that you maybe write out or rehearse what you are going to say to her. To help you with the “how to” of coming out, there are some valuable resources available to you. The Human Rights Campaign has a wonderful page dedicated to helping people come out. To access their “Resource Guide to Coming Out,” visit http://www.hrc.org/files/documents/ComingOut_ResourceGuide.pdf. Another organization, PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), has some helpful information on the subject as well. On their website at www.pflag.org click on “Get Support” then click on “Family & Friends” where you’ll find pamphlets like “Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People” and “Frequently Asked Questions about GLBT People.” It is also helpful to talk and share with others who have gone through similar situations. At TrevorSpace.org, you can chat with other young LGBTQ people and exchange thoughts and experience. I encourage you to take advantage of this. If you ever need to talk to someone, you can also call the Trevor Project Lifeline (866-488-7386), where there are counselors available to talk twenty-four hours a day/seven days a week, or talk to a counselor through TrevorChat, which you can access through our website, thetrevorproject.org.

I wish you all the best in your journey. And if you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us.

Your friend,

Trevor