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I feel trapped.

Question:

I recently came to accept the fact that I’m a lesbian. I’ve told one other person, a very close friend, and she was very supportive. I figure the next step should be to tell my mom and sisters, whom I’m very close to, but I just can’t do it. My little sister, I’m sure, would be completely okay with it, but I’m not sure about my older sister, and I KNOW my mom does not approve of “gay people.”

If I lose my mom, I’ve lost both my parents. My dad and I have always had an estranged relationship and I haven’t heard from him at all in about a year. It hurts that I don’t have a father and I can’t stand the thought of not having a mother, especially since I’m so close to her. I have no idea how she’ll react. She suffers from clinical depression and I can never predict her behavior.

I have no idea what to do. Not telling her feels like lying, but I can’t stand the thought of our relationship dissolving over this. I cry a lot and it feels hopeless. I feel trapped. What do I do? How can I keep my family and stay true to myself?

Cat

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Thank you for reaching out to us Cat! It is great that you have accepted your sexuality, that is a huge step. The next step is for others to accept you which we know can be very difficult to cope with, but we are here for you! It is completely normal to feel hesitation in coming out to your family. When trying to decide whether it is the right time to come out to your family or not make sure you think about what is right for you.

It is hard to feel like you are lying to your family, but you have to weigh the possible outcomes as well as the possible benefits.  How will it make you feel to let them know? What could be the potential downfalls of coming out right now? Will my mom kick me out of the house? Always make sure you consider your own safety first. If coming out will put you in any type of danger, whether it be physical or emotional, then maybe right now isn’t the right time. Many people wait until they no longer live in their parents’ house and are financially independent so that harmful situations don’t arise. No one knows your family better than you so only you will know if it is a safe time for you to come out. Coming out can make you feel like a whole new person, but it can also bring you down if you don’t have a strong support system. It sounds like you have already started to build a support system, which is great. Try to seek out friends, teachers, guidance counselors, or any other person you are comfortable with that you can rely on for support.

There are a lot of resources online that you may find helpful. I recommend looking at The Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” (http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/resource-guide-to-coming-out) for helpful information pertaining to your situation. If you do decide to come out to your family the organization called Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) can be extremely helpful in answering  difficult questions they may have. I know this time in your life is like an emotional rollercoaster and is tough to deal with, but don’t lose sight of who you truly are and where you want to go in life. Remember that your sexuality doesn’t define you as a person, gay or straight you are still the same old Cat! There are thousands of people all over the world with situations very similiar to yours. I suggest checking out TrevorSpace(http://www.trevorspace.org/) to connect with people who are going through the same situation as you. Also if you ever feel the need to speak with anyone don’t hestitate to call our Trevor Lifeline (1-866-488-7386) to connect with a Trevor Project volunteer!

Best of luck!

Trevor Staff