I’m pansexual and I’ve pretty much accepted that fully. I’m scared that my homophobic parents would not only reject me, but be afraid of me. So I’ve tried to act as “straight” as possible, even if I thought girls were hot or sexy or beautiful. Then, when I started watching all of MTV’s “It Gets Better” and hearing about the Trevor Project I started to believe it really is ok. I’ve just always felt different and really uncomfortable. But after I came out to myself, I felt like I finally found my place in the world. It’s as if my life is a jigsaw puzzle: when I opened my eyes and laid this piece in place, I could finally see a part of the big picture. Its always been there, but I refused to use it.
Anyway, now that you know my story, my question is: what if my parents don’t accept me? What if they reject me, stop talking to me, ignore me, shut me out, tell other family members that I’m “a lesbian that’s going to hell?” I’m afraid that if I come out to them, they’ll kick me out. I cant tell them now.
Thank you for reaching out to Ask Trevor. It is wonderful to hear that you have discovered and accepted a very important part of your identity. This is a huge step– your courage and strength are very admirable! Also, it’s awesome that you don’t need to act like anyone but yourself. Your confidence and self-love are noble and healthy qualities that are very important to have. You deserve to feel like you’ve found your place. So again, congratulations!
Regarding your parents, sexual identity and coming out are very sensitive and emotional issues. There is no rush to come out: it is a decision that you should make in your own time. Only you will know when the time is right. If “staying in the closet” makes you feel stressed, anxious, worried, etc., then coming out might not be a bad idea. Coming out has the potential for bringing families together, eliminating personal feelings of loneliness and even creating new relationships in your life. You mentioned your parents are very religious. This adds another dimension to your situation: you and your parents may hold fundamentally different beliefs. And that’s okay! There are resources, counselors and methods that will address the dynamic between you and your parents.
Now, if the idea of coming out makes you fear your physical/emotional safety or your financial security, you should plan to address these fears ahead of time. For instance, if coming out would create a volatile or unsafe home atmosphere, you should have a safety plan: a safe place to live, go to school and support yourself financially. Some people wait until they are financially independent and living away from home to tell their parents. That’s okay, too! It truly depends on when you feel the time is right. Regardless of when you decide to tell them, you should be prepared for any circumstances.
Some individuals are concerned with what they will say, or how they will tell their parents about their sexual identity. While certain people can openly state their sexual identity, others ease into the conversation via a movie/TV show with a gay character. Others reference books, and others write down what they want to say word for word. The Human Rights Campaign website may be very helpful as a resource for your conversation with your parents. Go to www.hrc.org and click the “Issues” tab, where you will find “Coming Out.” There are materials available that might answer some of your questions.
Your parents might need some help, too. There are resources available through PFLAG that will address their questions and concerns, as well as religious matters. This PDF could be very helpful: [http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/FaithinourFamilies.pdf]. Remember that is completely okay to be who you are, accept your sexuality, practice your faith and lead a religious lifestyle. Many religious leaders are extremely accepting of an LGBTQ lifestyle. See the Institute for Welcoming Resources for more information! (http://www.welcomingresources.org/)
Coming out is a difficult process to undertake. But luckily, you are not alone. You are always welcome at the Trevor Project, and we would love to hear from you. If you need anything, please do not hesitate to call 866‐4‐U-TREVOR. Also, you can use our Trevor Space service to meet other individuals in similar situations as you. Continue to practice self-love, maintain your sense of self and make use of your support system, and you will get through this. We are always here for you.
All our best,
The Trevor Project