I have already confessed to most of my family that I am BI, though when I say most of course there are some people who still have yet to know. I fear speaking of it to my Great Grandmother about it since I love her to bits, and she is 90 something years old. She has been going to church since she was born, and from what I can tell she is very religious. She is all I have left out of my Great Grandparents since my Grandfathers passing, and he was also religious. I fear they will both be ashamed of me for my choices, though knowing them I have a feeling they might accept with the way the world is now. Though there is still that place that tells me her raising will ruin our whole relationship. I have gradually been becoming further and further distant from any distant family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins) in hopes to make any possible hate easier on me, and I don’t like it. Though I don’t think I’d be able to look my family in the face if they decide to turn on me. I got lucky when my mom accepted me so easily, and my sister was told when she was to young to care or even know the difference.
Though since my mom remarried things have hit a bump. My mother married a very nice Muslim man who treats my mother and the rest of my family as if he has belonged the whole time. I love it, but when I told him he literally sent me to my room, and blew up at my mother for ‘hiding it’ from him. As of now things are even, but its hard for me to get along with him when he’s driving a wedge between me and my direct family. I wanted to tell my mother about this girl a met, and how much I liked her and how sweet she was. Though I couldn’t because I feared him getting offended since he was right next to my mother when I felt the need to talk about it. I have thought about confronting him about it, but the last thing I want is to start a full out war between me and him, and cause him to leave. I know it sounds stupid, for him to leave my mother over me. Though with the way my mother works its fully possible. She would never stay with a man who couldn’t accept me and that I couldn’t get along with, if only to keep me happy. I don’t want to ruin my mothers marriage all because of who I love and choose to be as a person. I don’t want to hide from him anymore. I want to be able to talk to him about it and have him not get offended, though I understand everyone has there opinions and there isn’t much I can do to make him see my way. He has to figure it out on his own.
It sucks because its driving a wedge between me and my mother, her saying its ‘just a phase.’ I try to say its not, but every time I do she just sighs and walks off. I’m just tired of not being able to be me around thoughts who I love, and I can only hope in time that they will either accept me for me, or make there choice to leave.
I really need help trying to figure out where I stand, and if I should tell or even confront my step father about it.
First, I’m so glad that you have reached out to the Trevor community, please know that we are here for you. You are not alone in facing the challenges related to coming out. We love you and our community embraces you.
You mentioned a couple of specific challenges and I want to reflect on them both. You mentioned some challenges related to coming out to your great grandmother and extended family and then the challenges facing you in relationship to your immediate family.
First as you continue on your coming out path the most important thing is for you to be safe and comfortable with your decisions as you share this intimate part of who you are. Coming out can be challenging but there are several positives to the process too. It can let people in your life know about this important part of you, it can help you feel less alone, and even meet new friends as well as possibly meet people to date. Thinking through the positives as well as the challenges can make the journey a bit easier. The decision to come out to each person or group you also comes with pros and cons which you will continue to weigh for yourself throughout your life. I don’t know your great grandmother but you mentioned her age and her religiosity a couple of times in your letter. Both of these might be considerations for you to balance out, but at the end of the day you are the only one who can judge these pros and cons. As you become more comfortable with coming out you may want to draw the boundaries of who you share this part of yourself with wider over time and that might or might not include your extended family, but there’s no rush and no one can tell you who and when you need to share this part of yourself with.
You also noted your grandparents’ religiosity a couple of times. I’m not sure what religion they are but as you might already know various faiths and congregations have different views and levels of acceptance to the LGBT community. Despite what you’ve been taught, it’s very important to know that there is nothing wrong with being bisexual and in fact, it is completely normal and natural. There are many, many bisexuals who are religious and continue to attend religious services. Please know that you can definitely be religious and bi at the same time. It might also help you to know that though some people, including certain religious leaders, may believe and teach that bisexuality is against the Bible and that you can’t be a good person of faith and be bi, there are many religious leaders and members of religious communities who teach love, acceptance and equality for all people and are supportive and accepting of LGBT people. To learn about the Biblical scriptures that teach compassion and support for all people, you might consider reading through the numerous guides on Soulforce’s “Resources” webpage at www.soulforce.org. 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. Perhaps some of this information will help you to come to terms with this aspect of the coming out process with your great grandmother. Remember you can’t control her reaction, you just need to be prepared to accept whatever that reaction is, acknowledging that just like it is taking you some time to be comfortable with coming out it may also take those around you time to also understand this new information and incorporate it as part of their understanding of who you are.
Also there’s no rush in figuring all of this out. It might be helpful for you to read PFLAG’s (Parents, Families & Friends Of Lesbians & Gays) ‘Be Yourself: Questions for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth’ (http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Publications/Be_Yourself.pdf) as a resource in continuing your understanding of your sexual orientation/gender identity. Additionally, you might also take a look at www.bisexual.org you’ll find a lot of helpful information on bisexuality (click on resources, then bisexuality-general information, then “Bisexuality 101 from PFLAG”). Again there’s no time crunch to sort all of this out, be patient with yourself and this process.
You also shared a good deal about your Mom and Step Father. I’m sorry that this has become what you call a “wedge” between you and your Mom in spite of her early acceptance. A couple of the comments you made stuck out to me: one in mentioning that your step father is Muslim and the other related to how your Mom might react to sharing more information with her about your relationships and the implications for her marriage. First, religiosity can be a factor in terms of how people view LGBT people and react to folks who share their sexuality with them. Within Islam there are growing groups of folks who are helping to widen their community’s level of acceptance to LGBT people. 2 such groups are Muslims for Progressive Values and Al-Fatiha. But depending on your step father’s religious training and experience his understanding of these considerations might be limited and this is really outside of your control. How this impacts your ability to share with your mother and how that might potentially impact her relationship with her husband is also widely out of your control. Your awareness of this issue is good and you might consider how and when you share with your mother so as not to put any unintended stress on her or their relationship. For instance, perhaps instead of sharing the information about your girlfriend with your Mom in front of your step father, perhaps you could wait until you have some private time with your Mom. At the end of the day though you cannot control what others think or how they will react; however you do need to feel safe and comfortable in sharing this intimate part of who you are with them.
Finally, I would really encourage you to reach out to someone whom you trust (a close friend, parent, teacher or school counselor) and talk through these questions. Our family at the Trevor Project is also always here for you. TrevorSpace is a great place to go for other resources for support and help with questions – “TrevorSpace” at www.trevorspace.org . It’s the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24. It’s a great supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you’re having about your sexuality/gender identity.
The Trevor Community is here for you! You can always reach out to us on the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386).
WIth love and support,