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.

ATTENTION!
Before submitting a letter, please be aware that letters are experiencing a longer than normal wait period. If you are in immediate crisis, please call The Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386.
All calls are confidential and toll-free from anywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. You are not alone.

You can also access TrevorChat, our crisis chat service, at: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now available 7 days a week from 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Pacific / 3:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Please note: If you reside outside the United States and you are currently in crisis or suicidal, you will not be able to access The Trevor Lifeline or TrevorChat. If you are outside of the U.S. and need to talk to someone immediately, please see the following link to international hotlines: http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html. If you are suicidal, please seek help at the nearest emergency room.

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!

I’m bisexual, not confused.

Question:

Well never used this site before, but hello there. I’m Shyla. I’ve been having some issues regarding coming out to my family and being discriminated against, being bisexual. Some background, I knew I was attracted to both genders ever since I can remember. My best friend whom I’ve known my entire life is a lesbian. I told her I was bisexual recently and her response was a surprise to me. She said, “You’re really not bisexual, that doesn’t exist. You’re just confused and you don’t know what you want.” and obviously that left me extremely confused. Like, if my sexuality wasn’t real then who was I? I tried to force myself to like one or the other, but nothing I did worked. People would say I was faking, greedy, confused, a slut, attention seeking. But I’m none of those things. This is me, it’s the most natural thing in the world and I’ve finally come to accept myself. But that fear of not being understood by others still remains. If I can’t be safe or understood in the LGBTQ community, then how could I possibly be accepted by anyone else? On top of that, my dad yells at me, makes fun of me, humiliates me in front of everyone. He calls me a dyke, a lesbian, stupid, worthless, among other things. He’s a very close minded person. He once said, “If you’re a lesbian just fucking say it, if not, stop dressing like a dyke and get a boyfriend.” But I’m not a lesbian so I have no idea how to respond. I tell him that I’m not a lesbian and I’m not exactly lying. I feel like he would be embarrassed of me if I came out as bisexual. But who am I kidding? Nobody comes out as bisexual. It’s not taken seriously or considered a real sexual orientation. I’d be more accepted if I came out as a lesbian. But I’m not. I’m Shyla. I’m bisexual. I’m not lying, confused, greedy, attention seeking, slutty or anything else I’ve been accused of. I just want to be accepted.

 

Answer:

 

Dear Shyla:

Thank you so much for contacting us. You are very brave for opening up and sharing with us. We know it can be very difficult to ask for help, but we’re glad you did because we are here for you.

It sounds like you are dealing with a very stressful and emotional situation, and I’m sorry to hear that. As you have experienced, one thing that is often difficult to understand is that people who love us will sometimes do or say things because they don’t understand, but they love and want the best for us.

It’s important to know that you’re not alone. Many of us have experienced the same things and can provide you with the support you need. From what you wrote in your letter, I can tell that you are a very strong person. I’m sure there are people in your life who love and support you no matter what. Knowing this can provide you with the strength to make a life for yourself that makes you happy and fulfilled.

I’m sorry to hear that your friend was not more supportive when you chose to open up to her about your sexuality. Unfortunately, there is a lot of ignorance and prejudice toward the bisexual community, even among lesbian and gay people.

It sounds like your friend’s and your father’s discomfort with your sexual orientation comes from a lack of knowledge about or a misunderstanding of what it means to be bisexual. Though you said that they don’t accept you as bisexual, it might help to know that some people who have negative feelings about bisexual people can, with information, support and help, move to a more accepting place. It is never OK, however, for them to call you hurtful names or put you down, and they need to understand that their words cause you pain.

There are many resources available that could help you and your father understand each other. One of the best is Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). This is a great organization, made up of mostly parents, that promotes the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through support, education and advocacy. If you go to PFLAG’s Web site (http://www.pflag.org), and click on the “Gay, Lesbian & Bi” tab at the top, it will provide you with links to information about being LGBT and supporting LGBT family members.
PFLAG has many publications available on its Web site, including “Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People,” which would be a great reference for dealing with your current situation and if you felt comfortable, could share with your father to help him become more supportive of you. In many cities, PFLAG also has local chapters 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 lives.

There is a PFLAG chapter in San Diego. You can contact it by sending an e-mail to info@pflag.com, or calling (619) 579-7640. The San Diego chapter also has a Helpline that you can reach at (888) 398-0006. Another helpful resource for you might be www.bisexual.org.

I think it’s great that you are learning more about your sexuality and gender identity. As you learn more about how you feel, you will decide on a label that you feel comfortable with. Or you may not want any label. Either way, it’s your choice, and one that may change with time. There is no rush to choose an identity, and how you choose to identify now may change as you get older and have new experiences and influences. There is no need to try to force yourself to feel one way or another.

When it comes to love and the ideal of what we want from our partner, I think it’s important to understand that we can’t always choose with whom we fall in love. Sometimes it happens despite our best efforts. And that’s OK. Falling in love is never a bad thing. We learn best by being honest about our feelings with ourselves and our loved ones.

It sounds like your father’s discomfort with your sexual orientation comes from a lack of knowledge about or a misunderstanding of what it means to be bisexual. Though you said that he doesn’t accept you as bisexual, it might help to know that some people who have negative feelings about bisexual people can, with information, support and help, move to a more accepting place.

Whenever you need someone to talk to, you can always contact the Trevor Project here through Ask Trevor. We also have TrevorChat, which is a forum in which you can chat with trained volunteers about anything that’s troubling you. On http://www.thetrevorproject.org/chat, you can find when TrevorChat is up and running. And the Trevor Lifeline, which you can reach by calling 1-866-488-7386, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the United States. There will always be someone there to help you.

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 hope this information has been helpful, and I hope it works out for the best. Please know that we care about your well-being and are here to help and support you whenever you need it.

Sincerely,
Ask Trevor