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Self acceptance, religion and parents

Question:

Dear Trevor,

Okay, so I have finally come to terms with the fact that I like girls, only girls and that’s something that will never change. Its a little bit of a relief to not be so confused about who I am anymore, but I am tired of feeling scared and ashamed. I hate it!

I live in a very God centered family, and the thought of coming out to them terrifies me. I don’t feel like I could come out to them without first being able to accept my self. I’m christian and that is probably the worst part about it for me. It’s so hard to love myself and yet read a bible that tells me who and what I am is an abomination. I can’t just stop believing what I do just as much as I can’t stop liking girls. So how do I learn to accept myself?

Most of my family and especially my church thinks the LGBTQ community is discussing and wrong. My Dad is a psychologist and my mom was a therapist up until she had kids, so that really doesn’t help. I know they love me but how they would show it scares me. They believe in “don’t hate the sinner, hate the sin.” Also they are big on therapy, but the kind that believes you can pray the gay away and homosexuality is spiritual oppression.

I really want to be able to come out to my parents but more than that I just wish I wasn’t gay. Not only do I hate myself for how I feel about girls but I hate myself for being ashamed and feeling wrong for loving who I love. I have no one to talk to. It’s not right how isolating and alone being yourself can make you feel.

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Trevor Staff

Hi Rebecca,

Thanks for writing to Ask Trevor. First of all, congratulations on accepting yourself as who you are. You might not feel like that yet, but as I read what you’ve written, you’ve started the process of accepting yourself. You know that you only like girls and that is something that will never change, and I’m sure it’s a great relief to you to finally feel self-acceptance in that regard. It seems that where your struggles now lie are in telling others about what you’ve come to accept of yourself. It sounds as if religion plays a big part in your feelings of shame and fear. That’s got to be pretty heavy for you to deal with on your own, so again, thank you for writing to us here at Ask Trevor.

You say it would be hard for you to come out to your family because they are very God-centered and you wouldn’t want to come out to them before being able to accept yourself. As I said above, it sounds like you’ve done some of that self-acceptance work already, so now comes the piece of accepting yourself as who you are while also holding to your religion, even though you’ve been taught and might hear from others close to you that being LGBTQ is wrong. It’s not wrong. Many people will always hold to that belief, however more and more people are starting to challenge that notion as well- even people in religious communities. There are many LGBTQ friendly Christian outlets you could explore, even if just online. Some of these more progressive Christian churches and other resources may be in your local community or nearby, but in the meantime, here are some great online resources for you to start:

http://www.gaychristian.net/

http://lesbepure.com/

http://whosoever.org/index.shtml

http://www.faithinamerica.org/home/

It seems that one’s faith and religion are ever evolving in various ways. Each individual processes things in his/her own way, and each individual may interpret the Bible, a sermon, or discussions of different ideas amongst friends and family in various ways. Something that is amazing about humans is that no two of us are exactly alike, and that in and of itself generates a variety of thoughts, ideas, inspirations, concerns, and doubts. It sounds as if your religious community is not one that has preached love for all, and that sounds like it would be a lonely place for you and others. Remember, you’re never alone, even though it might seem like it at times, you are not alone in your beliefs and thoughts.

It is disheartening to hear that your parents are both therapists/psychologists and they are not accepting of the LGBTQ community. I can’t imagine how confusing that might be for you. I’m sure your parents are amazing in so many ways, so seeing this side of them and then accepting and loving who you are might seem like an impossible feat to overcome.

It sounds as though you’re feeling a lot of frustration, fear, and hatred about being gay. It’s really hard to feel like you have nobody to talk to, and again know that you can always reach out to us here at The Trevor Project. You state that you wish you weren’t gay and that you hate yourself for being gay and having the feelings you do have towards girls. It’s hard to hear you say that, as you sound like a very smart and well-rounded young woman. Things are hard right now, and wishing you weren’t gay is a normal experience to have. But we’re all here to tell you that being gay is ok. It’s ok to be mad about it and it sounds like in your situation it’s hard not to feel shame as well. You’re right that you can’t help who you’re attracted and who you love. It sounds like you’re frustrated and you want to come out to your parents, but you’re also scared of how they might react. You have a valid concern, and always think about your safety first. They may come around, they may not, but we’ll always be here to help you. Do some more research into some more accepting Christian networks in your area, and if you can’t find any, try some of those referenced above to learn more about others who are LGBTQ and practicing Christians.

I wish you the best during this time. You can write back to Ask Trevor any time. We also have the following options for you to connect with someone here at The Trevor Project, and these will have a more immediate response for you if you feel you are in crisis and need to talk to someone right away:

Trevor Lifeline – (866-488-7386) – You can call the Trevor Lifeline to connect with a trained volunteer counselor who is ready to listen.

TrevorText – You can text message with a trained counselor on Fridays between 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Pacific) / 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (Eastern). Text the word “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200. Standard text messaging rates apply.

TrevorChat – If you want to talk with a trained volunteer counselor online, visit TrevorChat. It’s is a free, confidential chat service available 7 days a week from 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Pacific / 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

You can also check out TrevorSpace – where you can join tens of thousands of LGBTQ young people and their friends from around the world on Trevor’s secure social networking site. Sign up on TrevorSpace.org to start connecting with members.

Take care,
Trevor Staff

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