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…I’m Closeted Still…

Question:

Hi. So. I’ve only told three people I’m bi and they understand. But I can’t tell my homophobe parents. They’d flip. I want to tell so bad but I can’t. I need a way to say it. Or should I just wait? I don’t know and it confuses me so much.

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Hi Morgan, I’m glad you decided to reach out to The Trevor Project for help in this difficult time for you. Sometimes it can be very hard to open up to others about our deepest personal struggles, so you show tremendous bravery, not just for writing to us but for also telling your friends. You are especially brave for coming out to people at such a young age! I am very impressed. The tough situation you’re in with your parents is not taken lightly by us and I sincerely hope I can help bring you some clarity.

Its wonderful that you’ve already opened up to some of your friends and that they are understanding. The most important thing you need when considering coming out to family is a strong support system. You’ve already passed some of the most difficult hurdles some LGBT people face, which is realizing and embracing who you are, and beginning to speak it aloud to others. I can also tell you are very strong because despite the fact that your parents are homophobic, it sounds like you embrace yourself anyway and you don’t let their beliefs make you feel ashamed about your bisexuality. This is no small feat! Many people unfortunately go through a rough period of denial, repression, or self-aggression because they’ve let their parents’ beliefs convince them that who they are is wrong. You are incredibly strong and resilient for embracing who you are in the kind of environment you’re in.

I am deeply sorry that your parents are homophobic and that they’ve put you in a position where you’re afraid to open up to them. My heart goes out to you, because you don’t deserve any of that. Believe me when I say that you absolutely deserve acceptance and love for your bisexuality. I know exactly how you feel and I understand what you’re going through. When you’re still living at home, its common to experience a whole spectrum of emotions when you’re around homophobic parents. Some of these include intense anger that they won’t understand you, crippling fear of them finding out about you and the unknown of how they will react, and sadness that you can’t be yourself in your own home. It can also be exhausting having to constantly monitor your life and tiptoe around them so that they won’t find any hints about your sexuality, and having to hold back your frustration when they say or do homophobic things. It takes a heavy tole on your emotional well-being. What you are going through right now is not easy, but I assure you that it does not always have to be this way.

In regards to your question about coming out to your parents, unfortunately I can’t tell you what the best thing to do is, because no matter how much you tell me about your parents or your life, you will always know your parents best. You grew up with them, so you will have the most accurate feeling about what to do and how they will react. Another reason I can’t tell you what to do is because your decision relies almost entirely on what you desire, what your comfort level is, and how homophobic your parents really are. However, I can certainly help you in a big way. Below I will highlight some things to think about.

To help your decision, its important to get in touch with your gut feelings. What is your initial thought about how they will react? What is the most likely thing they will do? Will you be in danger? If they react badly, how permanent would those negative reactions be? Is there a possibility they would understand? Would they cut me off financially or would they just be upset? It could help to write these things down, and also write a “pros” and “cons” column. In the “pro” column, write the positives you think could come from telling them. In the “con” column, write the possible negative consequences. A con might be that they will yell at you, and a pro might be that you have a weight off your shoulders and you feel more confident (these are just examples). Look at both columns and see if it helps sway your decision. Also ask yourself, “where is a safe place I can go if they react badly? A friend’s house?” “Who can I trust to make me feel better if I need support?” “Is there another trusted adult, like a teacher, I can go to for help?” “What ways can I cope if they are upset?” Asking all these questions will hopefully help you decide which one sounds more appealing, and also help you prepare in case things go wrong. Being prepared means knowing where you can go to feel safe, and who you can talk to. Being prepared will give you some ground under your feet if things don’t go well.

It may not be the best decision to tell them, if you think they will their reaction will be harmful to your well-being. But remember that you can always look forward to coming out to them at a later time when you’re more independent, if you feel like you can’t tell them now.

It might also help to join TrevorSpace. TrevorSpace is an online community where you can talk to hundreds of other kids who are going through similar things you’re going through. You can find more support and more advice through TrevorSpace if you need it. It might also help to see if there is an LGBT center near you. Check out this: LGBT centers. Also check out this guide to coming out to your parents. You can find some very helpful suggestions there. Also please look at this guide for dealing with homophobic parents. Please call 866.488.7386 if you are in crisis or need someone to talk to, and don’t hesitate to write to us again if you need more help.

Remember that no matter what happens, your feelings are completely normal and natural. Don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed of being bisexual. Don’t let any religion tell you to be someone you’re not. You are who you are, and you are special, Morgan.

Sincerely,

The Trevor Project