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Trouble with my parents.

Question:

Hi Trevor,

Around October I started seeing this girl. She is honestly the best thing in my life and I couldn’t imagine loosing her. I actually believe she is someone I’m supposed to be with for a while. She’s a senior and I’m a junior, but she is two years older than me. She is my first lesbian relationship. I had never had any kind of feelings for a girl before I met her, and being with her just feels natural to me.
I didn’t tell my parents about this relationship. I knew exactly how they would react. They’d blow up in my face and make me end it. I lied to them for about 2 months about the relationship. I knew that some point in my life I would have to tell them what was going on, but I wasn’t ready yet.

After returning home from hanging out with my girlfriend, I spoke to my parents and went up to bed just like always. My mom came into my room and sat down to talk to me. My phone kept ringing though, so she asked me to see it. I didn’t want her to because of all the messages I had been sending and what I was saying, but she took it from me anyways. Her and my dad read all my messages.

After reading all my messages my mom told me she was absolutely disgusted with me and didn’t want to talk to me until the next morning. So the next morning, me, my mom and my dad all sat down to talk about what was going on. I knew I had been right when I thought that my mom would blow up in my face. There was so much screaming. They kept asking me if I was a lesbian, but I honestly couldn’t tell you if I was or not because I still don’t know. All I knew is that I wanted to be with this girl. My dad kept telling me how stupid and naive I was. He told me this wasn’t right, and that I am just a people pleaser. This means that my parents actually thought I was only with this girl because that’s how she wanted it to be. They told me that she forced me into the relationship and manipulated me, which none of this is true.

About a week after the fights still continued, new questions arose such as; Will you get a job being a lesbian? How do you tell your extended family? Do you want to tell your grandparents? They told me if I was in a relationship with this girl that no one would want to be in my life anymore. They threatened that if I didn’t end it, I had two choices: to either be sent to live in another state with my aunt and uncle, or my parents would separate and I would have to live with my mom. So of course I told them it was over.

It wasn’t over though. I stayed with this girl for another two months after everything. I don’t think my parents truly understand how much I care about her and like her. I fought for so long to get their approval but it just wasn’t going to happen. My parents are the type of parents where it’s their way or the high way.

I skipped practice a lot to hang out with my girlfriend. I texted her from my iPod (since my parents were now checking online to see who I texted), and got to school early to spend time with her.

Yesterday I skipped practice to hang out with her just like I’ve done 100 times before, but this time I got caught. My dad called my coach to see if I was at practice, which I wasn’t. So my dad told my mom I skipped, and my mom went through my email to find a very, very, very long message sent from my girlfriend about our 2 months. This morning I woke up, and all my mom said to me was “You’ve made up your mind about your life, now do not talk to me about this. I will decided when we talk about this. I’m done with you.”

I guess all I’m really asking for here is advice. What do I say to my parents? How do I approach the subject? Do I end the relationship?
Thank you for reading and I hope to hear back soon.

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

I’m very happy you decided to open up to us. Its not always easy to tell others about personal problems. It shows intelligence and courage to reach out for help when you need it. This is a very difficult situation you’re in, and I just want to commend you for your strength in persevering. When we are young, our parents hold so much power over our lives. When parents are intolerant, it makes it extremely difficult for you to be yourself.

First I want to point out that its great you understand yourself and recognize how natural it feels to be with her. Always remember that the feelings you have towards this girl are completely normal. You may not know whether you’re a lesbian or not, but its completely natural to explore and be curious about who you are. Your parents may say cruel and hurtful things, but they cannot take that knowledge away from you!

I’m very sorry your parents have been so hard on you, and for the way they treat you. The things they say are very manipulative, judgmental, and hurtful. The fact that your Mom says she is disgusted with you, “done with you,” or that you are stupid or naive, is shocking to me. This makes my heart ache for you, and I wish I could take away the pain, and erase those poisonous words. You deserve words of support and love for who you are and how you feel.

Please deeply understand that you are NOT those things your parents call you (stupid or naive). No matter what your parents say to try and guilt you into their way of thinking, there is nothing you have to change about yourself, including your feelings towards this girl. You are just a girl discovering her natural feelings, and falling in love. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Ideally parents will try to be understanding even if they don’t agree with what you do. It seems that their behavior is very manipulative- saying you only have two choices, and criticizing you. All of their behavior and words clearly stem from their own fears and ignorance. They are scared, and they are taking that out on you. This is a very heavy conflict on your shoulders, and you are handling it beautifully. My deepest sympathies go out to you because there is absolutely nothing wrong with those messages you are sending your girlfriend, and its too bad your parents aren’t supportive like she should be. You deserve your privacy, and its disturbing how much your parents interfere with that.

As far as advice goes, I cannot tell you what to do because this is a very personal conflict you’re having. You have to make your own choices. But I can offer you some guidance. While deciding what to tell your parents or whether to keep seeing this girl, the main thing to keep in mind is that there is nothing wrong with the way you are feeling or who you are. It may not be worth it to you to talk to your parents since they are so intolerant. However, even though I can’t tell you what to say, I can tell you what I would say personally. If I affirmed that I was a lesbian (you may not be, but this is just an example), I would say:

“Look Mom and Dad, this is who I am and how I feel. You can choose to accept it or not, but it won’t change either of those things. Just like nobody can change your sexual feelings, you can’t change mine. You can invade my privacy and scream at me all you want, but I will still be a lesbian at the end of the day. You may not want me to be a lesbian, but I am. How you, or the rest of the family chooses to deal with it, is not my problem. You can choose to love and accept me for who I am, or continue to fight, threaten me, and try to make me feel bad. But like I said, your opinion of me or how I feel about my girlfriend doesn’t change me or the fact the I love myself just the way I am.”

You can replace “lesbian” with whatever idea or phrase feels comfortable to you. Telling them this gives you the power, because you are not expecting to gain their approval. You are simply stating the facts and asserting your own self-worth. Your happiness is not dependent on their reaction, so they cannot manipulate you. Instead, you are putting the ball in their court. If you cannot say this to your parents, at least let it be your personal mantra. Stay strong and positive because like I said, your parents can’t change you unless you let them. Also keep in mind that most people who have family issues find so much more happiness once they are independent. You will not be under your parents’ thumb your whole life. There will come a day (soon I think) where you will have your own place and be financially independent with a good job, and can choose who is in your life. You will feel freedom! It will be amazing once you have more control over your life, and can surround yourself with only people who support who you are. It changes everything. I speak from personal experience. If you are feeling stuck, start thinking positively about your future and the little steps you can take to find independence. You will eventually be free of this toxic environment your parents are subjecting you to.

If you would like to continue talking to your girlfriend, I would suggest joining TrevorSpace. You can talk to her through there, and also make more like-minded friends. It is completely secure (your parents can’t read your messages there unless they know your password). Also see if you can find an LGBT center near you: LGBT centers. Here is a helpful resource on homophobic parents: DealingWithParents. And if your parents come to their senses and are willing to work through the conflict with you, check out this website: PFLAG.

Please don’t hesitate to write to us again if you need further advice. You can also call our hotline if you are feeling suicidal or just need to talk to someone: 866-488-7386.

Remember that you are strong and nobody can change who you are! We are always here for you and you are never alone.

Sincerely,

Trevor