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I am a, bisexual, sixteen year old girl, dating a girl who lives almost 5,000 miles away from me. But, I have not come out to my parents. My parents know of her as my “best friend” and only my best friend. My mom adores my girlfriend but I feel so guilty hiding what she really is from her. And I feel even more guilty because I have to refrain my girlfriend from any sort of acts that come along with being my girlfriend, around my mom. My girlfriend tells me it’s okay and that it’s absolutely no pressure. I can come out whenever I want, but I still feel horrible.
Okay, the only reason I am terrified to come out to my parents is because they are full out, religious, and hardcore Catholics. And the way it is for them, is the way it is for you. My older sister came out YEARS ago to my dad and he still thinks she’s lost, and it’s just a thing, but she’s in her mid thirties. Me? I’ve known I was like this ever since I had the ability to notice people in that way. I kissed my first girl when I was around ten, and it just felt right. My parents poke fun at gay people on TV all the time and especially the rest of my family. Some years ago my mom even saw two girls holding hands going across a parking lot and she said, “they shouldn’t be doing that in public. That’s odd to see.” There are only a few people I know that are okay with it in my family, should I tell them? I told my best friend and she even told me, “I think you’re going down the wrong path.” I’m just lost and I don’t know what to do…
It takes a lot of strength to reach out and ask for advice, and we are glad you reached out to us. It’s natural to want to be open to your parents about your relationship, but it’s also completely okay to keep it private for fear of their reactions. Coming out can be a serious, life-changing thing, and it is okay to struggle with that decision.
Whether or not to come out is something only you can decide, but I can try to give you some perspective and resources to help you. Think about these questions: what are the benefits to coming out? Does it cause you a lot of stress to keep that part of your life secret? Are you emotionally prepared for a possible negative reaction from your friends and family? Do you think your family could react in a physically or emotionally damaging way? In an absolute worst reaction scenario, do you have a backup plan? If you think there’s a chance their reaction could be dangerous or that they might kick you out, it’s important to have a safety plan, one that includes a safe place to go, a way to continue going to school, and a way to support yourself financially. What matters most here is that you do what’s best for you and what keeps you safe. Consider all of these questions and really examine your answers to them.
If you decide that it’s safe and good for you to come out, there are a number of resources available to help you with the process. http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/comingoutquestions is one resource that gives you more questions to consider and work through before actually coming out. Remember that there is no one way to come out, as everybody is different, so what matters is that you find what works best for you. The Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” is a good resource you might find helpful http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/resource-guide-to-coming-out I also recommend checking out www.trevorspace.org, our online social networking site for LGBTQ young people and allies. It’s a safe space where you can connect with people your age who might be going through the same struggles. Again, please remember that coming out is a very personal and sometimes life-changing thing, and it’s okay to not be ready. Your safety is the highest priority here, so whatever you decide please take care of yourself. If you ever need any more support, remember that the Trevor Project is always here for you, whether it’s through our Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR, TrevorChat, or askTrevor.
The Trevor Project