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Welcome to Ask Trevor
Ask Trevor is an online, non-time sensitive question and answer resource for young people with questions surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity. Browse the published letters or submit your own letter.

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Telling My Religious Friends

Question:

So I’m a junior in high school and this is a new school for me. At my old high school just about everyone I knew was gay and they knew I was gay and didn’t have a problem with it! But at my new school, I have this group of friends who I hang out with but they don’t like gay people and think it’s wrong. And they don’t know I’m gay! We had to write an essay on if we were against or for gay marriage and I was for it, of course, and one of my friends was against it. I asked why and she explained that it was because of her religion.

Everyone has their own opinion and I understand that, but I want to just tell them so bad that I’m gay but they might stop hanging out with me and stuff. Although it’s not really the fact that they’re gonna stop hanging out with me cause I don’t really need friends. I don’t know what it is to be honest. I just want to tell them but I’m really afraid that they will look at me differently just because of my sexual preferences.

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Let’s start with the fact that high school is not an easy environment – straight or gay, guy or girl. The pressures are numerous and unfortunately something we all have to face as we keep our eyes focused on that finish line called graduation. And then moving to a new school halfway through only adds additional unknowns to the equation.

With that being said, and hearing of the beliefs of your new friend group, I see why it would be difficult to tell them. It sounds as if their religious upbringings are definitely influencing their beliefs. It’s what they were taught and it’s really tough to unlearn those prejudices. A great resource when speaking to individuals that hold these beliefs is Soul Force, http://www.soulforce.org/resources/, which offers a lot of great information on what the Bible really says about homosexuality. Now I’m not saying that you need to share your sexual preferences with these friends, but if you do so, it’ll be helpful to know what all is holding them back from accepting you for you. Considering religion is likely the main factor driving their thought processes, Soul Force could definitely be helpful.

In trying to figure out whether or not to come out to your new friends, it can help to ask yourself some questions, such as the following: What does it feel like keeping this part of my life a secret? Does it cause me a lot of stress worrying about them finding out? Am I worried that if I told my friends, I’d be unsafe physically or emotionally? (It sounds as if that won’t be the case in your circumstance, which is wonderful.) And at the end of the day it’s really knowing the answer to the question, is this the right time to share this with them? What is most important is that you are comfortable and safe while also being true to yourself. There’s only one you and you control your destiny.

Finally, I want to remind you that we are always here for you and we have a lot of wonderful programs and resources just for you. One of the first is a safe online community called TrevorSpace, http://www.trevorspace.org/, which is for LGBTQ youth 13-24 and their allies. We also have TrevorChat, where you can chat in real-time with a trained volunteer and talk through these same issues: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/chat – and it’s available 4 days a week. Find a time and see what works for you. Also, and I’m glad to hear that you appear to be in a good place currently, but that can always change. Depression happens, especially in high school, and we want you to be safe and we want your friends to be safe as well. If ever you need a listening ear or a word of encouragement, please give our Lifeline a call, 1-866-488-7386, we’re available 24/7/365 and we’re here to help and support you. Keep your head up and keep being you!

~ Trevor