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Im terrfied

Question:

Hi Trevor,
First of all I know you guys get a lot of messages, and mine probably isn’t even important enough to answer. But if this is answered I’d just like to say thank you for taking the time to answer it.
Anyways, My name is Emily and I have a girlfriend. I love her so much, but we have to hide our relationship. My girlfriend tried to come out to her mother multiple times and each time her mom has told her she doesn’t know what shes talking about. We have to hide our relationship from her mom as well as mine because my mother keeps telling me its just a phase and I don’t love her. I don’t know if I can take my own mother telling me that I dont love the girl that I know I love.  We have to hide our relationship at school as well. We don’t want to hide our relationship anymore and we want to come out at school, but I’m honestly terrified. I’m so scared that my friends wont accept me because honestly I don’t have very many friends to begin with and I don’t want to lose them. I have no idea how to come out because everyone at our school is very anti-gay and my girlfriend already gets bullied because she came out, although nobody know we’re dating. I just don’t know how to come out to everyone else and I am so scared to do it. Please help. Thanks.

Answer:

Dear Emily:

You’re showing tremendous courage and strength by seeking help. Coming out is one of the most difficult and frightening things that every LGBTQ person faces in their lifetime.  This is not an easy matter. Because everyone’s circumstances are different (parents, peers, religion, etc.) there is not one easy formula for coming out. When to come out and to whom is your decision and no one else’s. The most important thing though is that you feel safe and to some extent comfortable with those whom you tell.  It is wise to have a safety plan, which includes a safe place where you could live and continue to go to school should parents decide to kick you out.  It sounds like, although your mom is being far from supportive, she is not at the point of kicking you out of the house either.  But if you see it as a possibility for her down the road, it might be wise to think about alternate living situations.  Another part of the safety plan is to ask yourself: “If I told my friends, would I be unsafe physically or emotionally?”   Remember that the coming out process is just that: a process. For some it takes years or even a lifetime. Few are the people who announce to the entire world their sexual orientation in one fell swoop. We usually start with the ones we are very close to or the ones that we know are accepting of and sympathetic to LGBTQ issues.

You’re already seeking help and support with this dilemma, and I applaud and honor you for that.  There is no better substitute than talking with those who have gone through the same thing, who can share their experience with you.  Trevorspace.org is our social networking site for people just like you.  You’ll be able to find support and encouragement from other LGBTQ youth, and perhaps offer the same.  And at http://www.hrc.org/resources/category/coming-out you can find helpful resources for coming out.  And don’t underestimate the support you and your girlfriend have in each other.

As you tell people about your sexual orientation, you may get varied reactions – including love and support, confusion, denial, anger, and even feelings of betrayal. Please keep in mind, Emily, that these negative responses are coming from a place of fear and lack of experience. They probably have never been in this situation before and are unsure about how to respond. If they are open to it, you may be able to provide them with resources that can help them deal with this new experience. PFLAG is a coalition of parents, family and friends of LGBTQ people.  At pflag.org, they may find helpful information and even local chapters to meet  and get support from other family and friends of LGBTQ.

Please take care of yourself, and please don’t hesitate to contact us again if we can be of any further assistance.

All my best,

Trevor