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So is coming out an option?

Question:

So I’m finally getting used to the idea that I’m gay, something that I’ve grown up thinking was a choice and sin.
I’m thinking about coming out, but not sure if its a good idea. A couple of my friends know, and they are either okay with it or are dealing. The problem is, Kansas is a very conservative state. The city where I live is fairly liberal though, and several students have come out as bisexual. About 3 have come out as gay. But there are no lesbians that I know of. Some people are more okay with the idea of gay guys because their guys or something like that. But girls are different. I don’t really understand it.
And on top of that, I don’t know about my parents. They are fairly conservative also. My mom does not approve of gay marriage, but she okay with the idea I guess. But my dad firmly believes all gays should be in the closet.
Anyway, I’m not sure what to do anymore.

 

Answer:

Thanks for writing.  Its great that you seem to have grown to accept your sexuality.   Also its great that you have felt comfortable enough to tell some of your friends that you are LGBT and that they are fine with that or otherwise working through it themselves.  There’s no denying that it can be tougher for LGBT in the Midwest or South then in say the Northeast or bigger cities in the U.S., but it also sounds like others have come out it in your area and you have already started the process as well.

Its good that you have given some  thought to continuing to “come out” to others, and you should consider whom else you might want to tell.  Coming out can have great rewards.  It might help you meet other LGBT people you don’t know about in your community, and it lets others know something important about you and your life, something you don’t have to keep bottled up anymore.   Make sure that you ask yourself what it feels like to you to keep your sexuality a secret.  Does it make you upset or angry, distant from friends or relatives, stressed, or sad?  Do you worry that if you told your extended network of friends or parents, or if everyone around you found out, that you would be unsafe physically or emotionally?  These questions might help guide you in your decision.  It sounds like your parents might have a hard time with it, but what does that really mean?  Would their reaction put you in danger?  Some people decide that if they came out to their parents that their parents might kick them out of the house or get physically violent, and so they decide to wait to come out until they are older and not living with their parents anymore, or alternatively they have a backup safety plan (somewhere they can live) in case their parents reacted badly.  As you have, you  also want to think about the environment you live in.  It doesn’t sound like you know other female LGBT people who you can go to for support in your area.  Once you are done with high school do you think you will leave town and wind up somewhere with a bigger support system or perhaps a more accepting environment?  If so it may make sense to wait to come out as long as you feel comfortable and mentally healthy with keeping that bottled up inside.  If not then you might want to come out now, knowing that there will be some challenges.  But consider if you are prepared enough to deal with those challenges, that you have thought about the potential consequences, and that you have some social network for support, whether that is someone or some people in your area or outside who you can reach out to by phone or email.

There is NO rush in coming out!  Whenever you feel ready is fine.   As you are considering the options,  check out this resource guide (which is downloadable):  http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/resource-guide-to-coming-out.  It may be helpful.  Also, if there is a friend you really trust you might want to weigh your decision to expand your coming out with them.  You can also call the Trevor LifeLine at 866-4-U-TREVOR if you want to talk more about the process or options.  Again, thanks for your bravery and reaching out to us.

Trevor Staff