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Trying to Stay Positive With the Negatives

Question:

Hello There,
I never told anyone about this long journey to identify myself, but yet I’m still learning. First thing’s first I’m gay. I came out to my sister before my parents about 2 months ago. The tears were flowing and the awkward questions were asked. I got a different reaction from them. My sister was totally accepting. The non-verbal response I got from her was

“I already knew, I was just waiting for you to say it. Can I have your dresses now?”

My dad was very understanding the only thing he worried about was how my family would treat me. The non-verbal I got from him was

“I love you no matter what. And if this somehow gets out and the family knows and they say ‘ew, your daughter is gay?’ I would say to them ‘Ya damn right my daughter is gay’ ”

My mom was different. I love my mother and care a great deal for her. It took awhile for her to come to terms with it. Even though she supports me, she believes it’s a phase and insists on me being to be the same girl I was trying to be before I came out. Which requires me to wear dresses and act girly. I’ve done that because I thought that I was supposed to do that and for a long time it didn’t feel natural. After I came out to my mother, we always argue about my sexuality. I don’t know why every topic of discussion has to be with me being gay. My mother and I never really see eye to eye on certain things. She is a very traditional person and she has her beliefs. Even though she doesn’t agree with my “decision” she supports me, but at times I don’t feel that support. As I sit here getting emotional over this, we’ve acknowledged that we are getting farther and farther apart as mother and daughter. We don’t really have a meaningful conversation. We try, but it always turns into a heated argument. So lately we haven’t been talking. I see myself visiting her when I move out, no mother’s day call. Just an awkward Christmas dinner every year. I don’t want that for us. I would hate that but that’s the direction I see us heading.

I’ve been told that “Well you just can’t give up on guys.”

That’s where they are wrong. I didn’t give up on guys, I simply gave up on trying to prove that I like boys. I was never really attracted to guys. I felt like I was brainwashed into liking them because that was “normal”. I kept forcing myself and lying to myself “You are a girl. You like boys”. And soon it became easy to say and be straight.
It had been this way for 10 years. 10 years in the closet is a long time from my perspective because I’m 17. I know that there are other people who were in the closet longer than me and some who are still in there. I would hope that someday coming out wouldn’t mean to be brave because it would be normal to be gay if that’s how you feel. It was getting stuffy and uncomfortable and I was beginning to smell like mildew.
Sure my parents have asked me if I’m gay and I would say no. The reason for asking me was that at time I would break character at times. For example constant and complete focus on Fran Fine on The Nanny. I had a huge crush on her still do. There are more incidents that are kept private.

The reason I came out at 17 was because it was on mind lately. I was at my lowest. Crying at random times and I can’t explain why. Not eating, losing 15-20 lbs in 2 weeks. Taking pain relievers on the regular for headaches on an empty stomach. I was in a place I didn’t want to be. I was burdened with the thought of what people might think of me and I still do and I felt I couldn’t handle it. I reeked of depression. If it wasn’t for my sense of humor I don’t know what would have happened to me. After I came out I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulder. I actually felt comfortable in my skin that I started to sort of model a little, not professional though. I actually grew fond of modeling. It’s a confidence boost for me.

I would like to end this on how I built up the courage to come out. Ellen DeGeneres, she has inspired me to myself by simply seeing her being herself. I think that if you see someone being themselves and they seem happy and they have something in common with you like the same shoe size and you wonder why you’re not happy. She made me want to get my life together. And while I was slowly coming out of depression I said I don’t need an antidepressant, I can just watch The Ellen DeGeneres Show because laughter truly is the best medicine. It would be a dream come true to meet her someday.
My question is that even though I admitted that I’m gay why did life just get harder and how do I know that I would find a life partner?

p.s. sorry for this long letter. i had a lot in my mind

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Hello,

I definitely understand how it can feel like life has gotten harder since coming out. You’re no longer disguising who you really are and your feelings are out in the open. It’s a challenging and very brave thing to do. Also arguing with someone you love can have a negative impact your whole mood. Relationships are so important to each of us, it makes sense that the conflict with your mother is weighing on you. If you came out about two months ago this could be the beginning of your mother’s acceptance and understanding of your sexual orientation, though it may take her some time to come to terms with who her daughter really is. I can imagine this is complicated for her too because as a mother, I’m sure she believes she knows you completely and knows what’s best for you. In truth, only you can know your true feelings and through your letter, it sounds like you’ve come to terms with who you really are.

To start with, you seem very secure with who you are and what your sexual orientation is. Your letter was packed with confidence and self-knowing. You should be proud of the strength you display as an individual. You’re correct that your sexuality is not a “phase” or a “decision”; your sexuality is in your nature. I really hope any feelings of depression you felt before are gone now that you have chosen to express yourself freely. If you experience any other feelings of depression, just know that there are many resources available to support you. You always have the option to call the Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386 for free and immediate support. It also sounds like you have a very supportive sister and father who would both be there for you.

Since life feels harder, I suggest that you keep doing the things you enjoy most. If modelling is your passion, go for it! It’s also great to have a role model like Ellen DeGeneres, even if you haven’t connected in person… yet. Just keep being yourself. Confidence and humor are great for your own well being and they’re also characteristics that will attract others to you. Surround yourself with people you enjoy and who respect you. Truly love yourself so that you’re ready for a relationship when the right person comes along. I like the phrase, “chance favors the open mind”. If you’re open with who you are and you’re open to others, opportunities will present themselves and this could definitely mean finding a lifelong partner.

It’s often difficult to do something that’s different from others. Openly being gay in a very traditional family can cause adversity, but I’m glad that you don’t want to give up on the relationship with your mother. There is a great organization, PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), that provides answers to many questions to help parents become more supportive and accepting of their loved one’s sexual orientation. If you think your mother would be open to the community, you should consider introducing her to their support network at www.pflag.org. Also, if you ever feel like you could use additional support, the online social networking site, www.trevorspace.org, is a safe community for LGBTQ young people to connect with each other. The Trevor Space community probably has many of the same questions that you do. I really appreciate the courage it took to reach out to a stranger! Project Trevor is always here if you have something on your mind.

Trevor Staff