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Who am I?

Question:

Hi.

I’ll dive right into it. I am bisexual. I’ve only recently come to terms with it because I thought of the feelings as just another phase. I started to get these attractions to men since I was 14. I started to read about it and found out that most people say it’s just puberty and that I would feel normal after a few months. But it never went away and this scared me because I have a very religious mother that lives by the Bible.

People have started to questioned my sexuality a bit later in high school. I started dating girls. I suppressed these attractions to men and tried to forget about it.

By the time I was 17 I could not accept the fact that maybe I was bisexual after all. One day when my mother and I were driving home from school, there was a discussion about gay people on the radio. My mother then asked me if I was gay, and I denied. She said that she could not live with the fact that she may have a gay son and that it’s a sin and everything. I almost burst into tears thinking that she might chase me away, since I was still questioning my sexuality.

I am almost 19 now and I can’t ignore these feelings anymore. I have an inner turmoil that prevents me from enjoying life too the fullest. I am currently in university and I get exposed to many different elements. I’ve watched my friends and those around me and saw the way they treat gay or bisexual people and realized that they aren’t actually fond of people who are different. Even my hostel is homophobic. I have this one friend who I sort of have a crush on. I wanted to tell him so many times about my sexuality but I’m afraid I’ll lose one of my best friends. I’m scared things won’t be the same after I come out to him and what his reaction might be. I just feel that I need to be honest about who I really am and not pretend to be someone I’m not. I need to tell someone about what’s brewing inside me because it feels like I’m about to explode. I’ve even started to drown my depression with alcohol but it doesn’t seem to be working.

I watch Glee and I completely adore Blaine and Kurt. I want to be out and proud like them and promote LBGT rights, but these closet doors are holding me back.

I just need some help or advice or guidance or a push in the right direction.

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Hi!  Thank you so much for writing to us!  You have taken a great step in being brave enough to reach out and share your feelings.  It is not at all uncommon for people to struggle with the decision to come out and, as you are already well aware, there are a lot of considerations to think about in making that decision. 

First, and most importantly, you need to be honest with yourself about your own feelings and acknowledge and love yourself for the person that you are.  It sounds like you are already pretty comfortable with your own sexuality and it is important for you to realize that there is nothing wrong with you!  Your feelings are completely natural and you cannot change who you are.  Unfortunately, it is a fact that some people are not accepting of gays and this can make sharing your true identity with the world a scary idea.  You are the only person who can decide when, where, and how you want to share your sexual orientation with others, but I can at least give you a few things you can consider in making that decision. 

It sounds like you are feeling lonely, frustrated, and depressed by keeping your feelings secret.  Coming out may help you feel relieved to be able to share an important aspect of who you are.  It is true, that some of your friends may not be supportive, but consider whether it is a true friendship if your friends do not even know the truth about a significant part of what makes you who you are.  Being honest about your sexuality may even help you meet new people and make new friends.   Some of the support groups and networking (which I will get to shortly) can help with this.

Your safety is top priority, so consider if sharing your sexuality with your friends and family would put you in any danger.  Some people choose not to come out until they are living away from home and are financially independent.  You mentioned that you are currently in university and that your hostel is homophobic.  Will your current living situation still be safe if you come out now?  Would you have be able to support yourself and continue your education if your mother stopped supporting you?  Before you come out, it might be a good idea to have a plan for your future security to ensure you can still be safe and comfortable if you think you may loose support from your family. 

It sounds like you have some serious concerns about your mother not being accepting of your sexual identity.  There are some resources available which might help your mother to be more understanding.  Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a great organization which works to help parents become more supportive and accepting of their children’s sexual orientation.   On their website at www.pflag.org click on “Get Support” then click on “For Family & Friends” where you’ll find the pamphlets “Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People” and “Frequently Asked Questions about GLBT People,” which, if you’re comfortable, you can share with your family members/friends to help them become more understanding and accepting of you. PFLAG also runs support groups where parents and others can discuss questions and concerns they have about a loved one’s sexual orientation and where LGBT people can discuss issues they’re having with people in their life. On their website, you can search for a chapter near you. If no chapter is near you or if your family members/friends won’t attend, you could still contact the nearest chapter and get support and learn ways to help them become more understanding of you.  You mention that your mother is very religious.  PFLAG also has a guide called “Faith in our Families: Parents, Families and Friends Talk About Religion and Homosexuality” at http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/FaithinourFamilies.pdf which might help give her some different perspectives regarding religion and sexuality.  There are also some books which might be helpful called “”Now That You Know – A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Their Gay and Lesbian Children” which addresses many issues and questions that arise for parents of gay and lesbian children and “Straight Parents, Gay Children: Keeping Families Together.” 

When you do decide it’s the right time for you to come out, there are also resources which can help you prepare for that conversation.  You might find it helpful to ease into the discussion by discussing a gay character from a TV show (maybe Blaine or Kurt, as you mentioned, from Glee!)  It might also help you to write down what you want to say and rehearse it in advance to make the discussion easier.  You might also consider checking out these resources:  the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at http://www.hrc.org/files/documents/ComingOut_ResourceGuide.pdf, or on http://amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/youthresource-comingout you’ll find an article called “Coming Out to Your Parents: Questions to Think About” which may be of help to you.

And the Trevor Project has other resources for you too!  You can visit TrevorSpace, our social networking site for LGBT youth where you can connect with peers who are facing some of the same issues and difficulties that you are.  If you feel you are in crisis, the Trevor Lifeline provides 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and TrevorChat is a free, confidential, secure instant messaging service that provides live help to LGBTQ young people if you need more support. 

At the TrevorProject, we are always here for you!

Trevor Staff