So, I’m 17, I’m a lesbian, and I’ve known for quite a long time, since I was around 12. I’ve not told anybody and I get bullied badly, and when there’s scenes on TV involving lesbians, all my friends are like ‘ew’, as is my mum. My little sister knows that I’m a lesbian. My dad passed away a few years back, and I want to come out to someone, but I think that if I do everybody will make fun of me. I’ve had a girlfriend for just under a year, and she knows how tough it’s going to be for me to come out. She’s just as worried as I am about me coming out, she’s already come out to her family, and they’ve all accepted to her, I’m just scared that nobody is going to accept me for who I am. Help?
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It’s a wonderful and brave thing for you to reach out to the Trevor Project for help in this important step in your young life and we will continue to be here for you whenever you need. Coming out can be one of the hardest things that an individual will ever have to do and no one can tell you when or how to do it. We’ve all heard about some of the negative implications of coming out to people close to you, but coming out can also be a very positive and liberating moment. It can let people close to you know a huge part of who you are, it can make you feel less alone, and it could help you meet new people that can help you learn and grow. In trying to figure out whether or not to come out, it can help to ask yourself some questions including: What does it feel like keeping this part of your life a secret? Does it cause you a lot of stress worrying about your friends/family finding out? If you told you family or your friends, you’d be unsafe physically or emotionally? No one can answer these questions for you, but it’s important when coming out to feel completely comfortable and safe.
I know it can be painful to hear your friends and mom say “ew” whenever lesbians are shown on TV, but sometimes these comments are made because they truly don’t know a lot about homosexuality. Just because these comments are made about fictional characters does not mean they would feel the same about you, their friend and daughter. There are plenty of resources online for friends and family to learn more information. I would highly recommend browsing through the PFLAG site. I know you are scared that nobody is going to accept you, but it seems to me like you already have a lot of people that do – your sister, your girlfriend, and her parents. These people love you for who you are and you can use them to provide you with the strength you need when you feel it’s time to come out.
You also mentioned you get bullied badly and whether it be because of your sexuality or not please no this is never okay and you should never have to put up with this type of treatment. I urge you to talk with your family, your girlfriend, your girlfriend’s parents, or any other adult you feel like you can openly communicate with. Having that support system will make everything a lot easier. If you need any other assistance regarding this issue please feel free to contact the Trevor Hotline (1-866-4-U-Trevor). You can also visit Trevor Space (www.trevorspace.org ) which is a great supportive community where you can connect with others who might be going through a similar situation.
You have a bright future a head of you and you’re on your way to being everything you want to be. We here at the Trevor Project will always support you in everything you do. Below are two websites related to coming out and how you can prepare for this discussion when you feel the time is right.
Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” http://www.hrc.org/files/documents/ComingOut_ResourceGuide.pdf.
“Coming Out to Your Parents: Questions to Think About”
Best of luck,