I’ve been aware that I was interested in girls since I was 11. I am extremely accepting of my sexuality and I love who I am, in fact someday I’d love to be a part of a project like Trevor to help kids become more accepting of themselves and to let them know things will be okay.
The entire reason I’m writing this is because my father is the only person in my entire family that doesn’t know about my sexuality. He uses the word fag, and gay offensively quite often and is disgusted by gays. He watches Glee with me and hates all of the gay couples. It makes me sad when he makes comments when they interact on the show, such as ‘please don’t kiss’, ‘that’s disgusting’, and ‘ew, that’s so nasty’. Hearing him say these things tears me apart and it just kills me to think that if he can’t stand seeing people ‘act’ gay, how will he ever be able to accept me?
Letter submitted by:
Thank you for writing in to the Trevor Project. It is really great that you love who you are. This is a very major step in gaining acceptance from other people in your life. Although you have come out to other people in your family, I can understand how it may upset you not to have your father know about your sexuality. This situation isn’t made better by the derogatory comments he makes. I think that there are some solutions to your problem.
Since you say that you are out to the other members of your family, could you talk to one of them about your anxiety about coming out to your father? Together you could brainstorm some ways to approach your father that would be effective since both of you know him personally. Depending on how you feel, you could also ask someone who supports you to be with you when you tell your father. Having someone there may give you some reassurance and make the situation feel less tense.
Have you ever asked to your father to stop making those comments? It is possible that knowing that you find those comments uncomfortable could cause him to stop and think about why he is making them. This may also be a good way to turn the conversation towards talking about your sexuality. Alternately, you could bring up one of the characters on Glee while you are watching the show. Additionally, know that sometimes it takes time for a person to become accepting and your father may need time to accept your sexuality.
There are resources that can help both you and your father. Even though you have come out before, the Human Rights Champaign’s Coming Out Resource Guide may provide you with some advice when it comes to coming out to your father (http://www.hrc.org/files/documents/ComingOut_ResourceGuide.pdf). There are also resources that may help your father if you decide to come out to him. PFLAG.org is a website for parents and friends of LGBT individuals that can answer some questions your father may have. Particularly, there is a pamphlet called
“Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People” that you may even want to print out and give to your father after coming out to him (http://community.pflag.org/document.doc?id=495). Furthermore, there books that are made to answer parents’ questions, such as “Now That You Know – A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Their Gay and Lesbian Children” and “Straight Parents, Gay Children: Keeping Families Together.” There is no guarantee that your father will read these resources and that they will alter the sentiments he expresses about LGBT individuals, but you can certainly try them.
Lastly, you should consider whether or not it would be best to wait to tell your father. Will telling your father put you in any physical or emotional harm? Do you think that your father may kick you out of the house after finding out? The most important thing is that you are safe. Sometimes, people will wait until they are living away from home and are financially independent before they come out. The choice about when to come out is entirely up to you.
Please know that we are always here to help you. You may write another letter to AskTrevor. If you are not already a member, you can join TrevorSpace, which is an online community for LGBT youth. There you can interact with other people who are facing similar situations. If you are ever in need of time-sensitive assistance, you can call the Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR.
Best of luck to you.