So this is going to be long, but whatever. So, it was some time ago that I realized that I was gay (probably a year ago). Currently, I am a high school student and 16 years old. In September of 2012, I came out to my friends using the custom settings on Facebook, because I wanted to start off the school year not having to hide any aspect of my life. Since then it is now January, and I have still not talked to my family. It is getting the best of me; it’s all I can ever think about. The thing is, I want to tell my family I just don’t know how to, or how well they will react. This is just not something that really happens in my family. My Dad, he’s this big macho manly guy and somehow I feel like I would be letting him down. Society has this twisted man & woman ideal of what marriage is, and it’s taken me along time to even be not totally ashamed of myself. I know right now, even with my friends support (which I don’t really have that many) it still feels like I’m all alone in this. I really don’t know what to do. Should I come out? How can I approach it if so? I just am so confused. It was a really tough year in 2012, and I am sick of pretending to be someone I’m not, but things would be really weird around here if coming out were to go wrong.
In advance, thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this.
It really means a lot.
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Thank you so much for your contacting us. It’s very powerful to even try to reach out for help, no matter what you’re going through. You have already made a HUGE step by coming out to your friends on Facebook last year and really gathering a support network. We also know how difficult it can be to come out to family members because you will not really know what their reaction might be until you tell them.
I want to remind you that coming out is a very personal decision. It’s a decision that has to be made by each person, but what’s most important is that you are safe and comfortable after coming out. When trying to think about coming out to your parents, asking yourself some questions might help you: Are you worried that if you told your family 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.What is most important is that, whenever you tell your parents, you are comfortable and safe. Some people find it easy to just say it, while others try to ease into a conversation with their parents first mentioning a LGBT actor or character in a movie, book or television show and see how they react. It can definitely be difficult to feel like you’re hiding such an important part of yourself with the people you love, however, it’s important that you are safe and comfortable as well.
You might find it helpful to look at some resources like the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at http://www.hrc.org/resources/category/coming-out . If and when you do come out to your parents, you might also find it helpful to share with them some books like “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 might help.
Thank you again so much for contacting us! Don’t forget we are available at the Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR, TrevorChat, and TrevorSpace as well! We are always here for you Trevor.