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Should I come out to conservative, Christian parents?

Question:

Hi Trevor,

I’ve managed to come out to nearly all of my close friends about being bi and they’ve all been fine with it and supportive so far (even my fellow Christian friends). I don’t see any conflict between my faith and my sexuality, but I know that my parents and family do. Over here in the UK the issue of same-sex marriage is being discussed a lot now that the government has made plans to implement it within the next couple of years, and I know that my family are completely against the proposals and completely against homosexuality altogether. I want to be honest with them, but the things I hear them say about homosexuality (nothing about bisexuality yet, but they probably use homosexuality as an umbrella term) is so disheartening, especially as I go to my aunt and uncle’s youth group where they often discuss how homosexuality is “a sin” and “not natural” and I just want to scream and shout at how ridiculous they all sound. I hope to come out to my family at some point, but I don’t know when would be a good time. I wouldn’t ever want to make things awkward, especially when there’s a family get together. That’s why I’m not looking forward to being around them at Christmas coming up, as I know that even if I don’t make things awkward by coming out to them, I’ll certainly feel awkward inside. Some people say that it would be better to tell them once I’ve gone to university (hopefully in September 2014) when I’m not as dependent on them, and other people say it would be better to tell them sooner rather than when I’m not there to be with them as they come to terms with it or when I’m not there to stand up for myself. I have absolutely no idea which would be best. Sometimes I wonder if I’m making too big a deal about this. I thought that coming out to my friends would be a big thing, but in the end it really wasn’t that much.

Thanks,
Jo

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Hi Jo-

Thank you so much for writing into the Trevor Project and reaching out for help.  I am sorry to hear that your family is not very gay-friendly and seems to follow one particular interpretation of the Bible that casts homosexuality in a negative light.  I can see how this would make you uncomfortable and be frustrating, at best.

In terms of when to come out, there is no perfect time; you should only do so when you feel safe and comfortable.  If you can wait until college, it may be best to wait until then since, as you say, you will be less dependent on your parents, plus they may need time to digest you coming out while you are away and aren’t there.  That said, you need to weigh this against any kind of psychological toll staying in the closet could take on you—what does it feel like keeping this part of your life a secret?  Does it cause you a lot of stress worrying about them finding out?

To perhaps help you make your decision, here are some resources that you can use:

–Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a great organization, made up mostly of parents, which supports LGBTQ people and works to help parents and others to become more supportive and accepting of their loved one’s sexual orientation/gender identity. On their website at www.pflag.org click on “Get Support” then click on “For Family & Friends” where you’ll find the pamphlets “Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People” and “Frequently Asked Questions about GLBT People,” which, if you’re comfortable, you can share with your family members/friends to help them become more understanding and accepting of you.

–You can also try: http://www.youthresource.org/

Regarding your relatives’ religion-based issues with homosexuality, there are also some resources that may help you overcome this.  To learn about the Biblical scriptures that teach compassion and support for gay people, you might consider reading through the numerous guides on Soulforce’s “Resources” webpage at www.soulforce.org and also reading the PFLAG guide “Faith in our Families: Parents, Families and Friends Talk About Religion and Homosexuality” at http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/FaithinourFamilies.pdf” If you’d like to read more about various opinions regarding faith and sexual orientation, there is also a great resource online called The Institute for Welcoming Resources at http://www.welcomingresources.org/. It is the most comprehensive and up to date website devoted to providing religious and faith based resources for the LGBTQ community.

I hope that this helps you with your situation and please remember that we are always here for you, especially if you are ever feeling suicidal.  Although you may not be able to dial the Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR from the UK, you can always reach us on TrevorChat and TrevorSpace.

Take care,

Trevor

 

 

Trevor Staff