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Ask Trevor is an online question and answer resource for young people who have questions surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity.

On September 1st, Ask Trevor will be transitioning to become a broader more effective resource for LGBTQ young people and their allies. This means we will no longer be accepting incoming letters starting on Tuesday, September 2nd. However, if you send us a letter before September 2nd, you will receive a response. Please note that your wait time may be longer than usual. In the meantime, please continue to browse through our extensive library of previously answered letters, and stay tuned for what’s coming next!

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My mom was disappointed, but it’s been a year

Question:

Dear Trevor,

I came out as “confused” to my mom a year ago.  Her response was, “It’s just a phase…I’m disappointed,” and she asked me if I was trying to be cool.  It is not a phase.  I have kissed a girl to prove it.

Anyway, it’s a year later and I couldn’t be more lonely.  I feel so isolated and sad because I don’t have the courage to speak up and tell people around me who I really am.  I’ve decided I’m ready to come out.  I’m done sitting in the dark in this closet.  And I decided I’m going to come out on October 11th because it’s National Coming Out Day.  But the problem is I don’t know if my mom still feels that way about me.  It hurt way too much the first time she said those words, and if she said them again, or worse…hates me, I won’t know what to do.  I’ve told my sister, the most accepting, most amazing sister in the world, but that’s just not enough.  I want to be myself everywhere I go, but I am afraid to tell them.

Please help.

Sincerely,

Maeve

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Maeve,

Thank you for writing to us about your desire to come out.  Coming out can be an empowering experience, but it can also bring about issues you may not have considered.  Although the decision to come out is yours, we can help you to make an informed choice.

There are many questions you should ask yourself before coming out.  (Especially since your mother reacted the way she did a year ago.)  In general, how do your parents react to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) persons in your community or on television?  Do they ever make negative remarks about them?  Do you have any reason to believe telling them would make your situation at home unsafe?  What if you come out to your parents and they no longer want you to live in their house?  Where would you go?  Where would you live?  How would you get to school?  How about a car?  How about college?  You don’t want to lose the financial assistance you deserve to complete your education and begin a career and a life of your own.

Also, how would your friends react?  Your classmates?  Are there any other lesbians or gays or bisexuals in your school?  How are they treated?  Any bullying?  Is there a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at your school?  Your safety and future are important to us.  If you feel that coming out would put either your safety or future in jeopardy, you should wait until you are in a safe and financially independent situation.

Think about these questions, and take a look at these online resources: the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at http://www.hrc.org/files/documents/ComingOut_ResourceGuide.pdf, and the YouthResource article titled “Coming Out to Your Parents” at http://amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/youthresource-comingout.  Both of these resources do a great job describing the benefits and risks of coming out.  If you do decide to come out, you could tell your parents about an organization called PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).  Their website, www.pflag.org, is a great place where you parents can get their questions answered.

We are happy to hear you have the support of the world’s “most accepting, most amazing” sister.  We encourage you to continue reaching out to her, and to other people – friends, family, teachers, counselors, etc. – you can trust for support.  We don’t want you to feel like you are alone.  You absolutely are not.  And whether you choose to come out on October 11th or not, remember that your parents chose to name you Maeve, a name you share with Queen Maeve, considered my many (including the award-winning Irish-American writer Patricia Monaghan) to be the strongest and most powerful female figure in all of Irish mythology.  Know that you have that strength inside you.  You have the strength to live the honest life you want to live, which is an honorable and brave thing to do, but temper that courage with caution.  Honestly assess your situation, and give yourself some time to consider the risks and prepare.  You may decide to wait, and there is nothing wrong with that.  The right decision is the one that is right for you and your future.

We want you to be careful, but we don’t want you to feel isolated.  The Trevor Project has several help services, all of which are now listed and linked to on our Get Help Now webpage: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now.  Please take a look and see which of our help services would benefit you most.  For example, if you would like to speak with someone at The Trevor Project online, try using our free, confidential and secure instant messaging service, TrevorChat, open every day between the hours of 3:00 PM and 9:00 PM EDT.  To speak with someone over text messages, try TrevorText, open on Fridays between the hours of 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM EDT.  If you would like to speak with other young people (ages 13-24) who can relate to what you’re going through, consider joining our safe, online community, TrevorSpace.  Please feel free to write to us again, and, of course, you can always call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Trevor Project

Trevor Staff