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I came out to my mom when I was 14. Her reaction wasn’t exactly a good one. She thought it was a phase, she couldn’t believe I could feel that way, and finally she asked me what would happen with the hopes and dreams she had for me. We never discussed the topic again, but she showed efforts to make it clear that she was fine with it and that she accepted me just the way I am. The thing is, it sometimes feels exaggerated as if she were trying most of all to convince herself that she is fine with it, and though I’m not sure if it’s just an idea of mine, I still feel her a bit uncomfortable, it feels a bit tense and heavy, when something related to my homosexuality shows up.
What should I do? Should I ask her openly? If so, when? I recently was discharged from the hospital because of a depressive episode. I’ve got a Bipolar Affective Disorder and I’m afraid that such conversation could lead to a fight or something that hurts me really badly that I’d just end up back to the hospital. Would it be too soon?
And there’s another question, if you don’t mind. I tried to kill myself 3 years ago, but yet I can’t quite come to terms with that, I can’t forgive myself. Do you think that asking for forgiveness from the ones I hurt would help?
Thanks for all,
Original letter submitted by:
I commend you for coming out to your mother when you were 14 years old. That takes a lot of courage, strength, and conviction. Sometimes, those of us we are closest with and whom we love may have a difficult time accepting it because they envisioned life differently, and it can take time for them to adjust their frame of mind based on your true sexuality.
Your mother may have many questions about your sexuality and may need time and help to become more understanding and supportive of you. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a great organization, made up mostly of parents, which supports LGBTQ people and works to help parents and others to become more supportive and accepting of their loved one’s sexual orientation. On their website at www.pflag.org, click on “Get Support” then click on “For Families, Friends & Allies” where you’ll find the pamphlets “Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People” and “Frequently Asked Questions about GLBT People,” which, if you’re comfortable, you can share with your mother to help her become more understanding and accepting of you. PFLAG also runs support groups 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. On their website, you can search for a chapter near you. If no chapter is near you or if your mother won’t attend, you could still contact the nearest chapter and get support and learn ways to help them become more understanding of you. Other resources you might share with them are the books “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 may help.
Regarding the recurrent thoughts about killing yourself from three years ago, it can help to talk with a mental health professional, such as a social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist about what you’re feeling and going through in order to get the correct treatment to help you feel better and see choices and options you may not have been aware of. On http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/MHTreatmentLocator/faces/quickSearch.jspx, you can search for mental health services in your area. You could also contact the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists by calling 215-222-2800 or by visiting their website at www.aglp.org.
Thanks for writing, Alejandra. Remember that you can always call The Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR if you have immediate questions or issues, get live help online with TrevorChat, or visit TrevorSpace. And of course, you can write us another letter. We are always here for you!